Q&A: Austin furniture expert offers advice on choosing pieces for your home

With current high demand, consumers should plan ahead when purchasing furniture, according to local expert Brian Morgan. (Courtesy Kam Idris on Unsplash)
With current high demand, consumers should plan ahead when purchasing furniture, according to local expert Brian Morgan. (Courtesy Kam Idris on Unsplash)

With current high demand, consumers should plan ahead when purchasing furniture, according to local expert Brian Morgan. (Courtesy Kam Idris on Unsplash)

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Brian Morgan is co-owner of three Austin’s Couch Potatoes and The Furniture Mall of Texas. (Courtesy Austin Couch Potatoes)
Brian Morgan is co-owner of three Austin’s Couch Potatoes locations and The Furniture Mall of Texas. Morgan took time out to discuss with Community Impact Newspaper some keys to choosing furniture.

When buying furniture, how should someone determine their style?

Start with one piece and build out the room from there–sometimes we have a sentimental piece of furniture or a favorite chair, and that piece’s style can give you a springboard for the room. Another thought is to start with the largest piece—the sofa. Fall in love with the feel and look and then customize your size of the sofa or sectional.

Given the economy, how far in advance should someone plan their furniture purchase?

The whole world is moving to Austin, and that means demand is far outweighing supply. In addition, so many bottlenecks are affecting the manufacturing process of home furnishings—freight rates have tripled, foam shortages, soaring lumber prices, factories can’t get employees back to work and inflation rearing its ugly nose. At traditional furniture stores, plan to wait anywhere from two to eight months for your furniture to arrive. For faster lead times, buy from locally owned stores, and if possible, purchase furniture made in your own city—locally made furniture lead times are four to six weeks.

How much should someone invest in a furniture piece? What is the highest priority when determining price point?

A good rule of thumb is to match your current stage in life. For instance, if you are in college and in a temporary living situation, buy something that you can offload at the end of the semester. You don’t want to keep moving a sofa around and paying storage fees. Fifty-five percent of Austinites live in apartments; they change their furniture every time they move. That’s becoming the norm.

From $800-$1,200 is the average sofa spend on entry-level furniture in our stores. If you spend less than that, expect short-term comfort and minimum quality. [The] highest priority when choosing price point is asking yourself the question, 'How long will I be keeping this sofa?' If you just bought a home, get it right; don’t settle for quick and cheap. You more than likely will be in that home for years, so invest in something that will be timeless and cater to the needs of those living under the roof first—pets, kiddos, friends, fam[ily]. If you live under the roof you are decorating, don’t skimp on comfort and happiness.

What are some innovations in furniture fabrics? What is right for me?

My daughter is turning 5 this summer—we are getting a new puppy! So excited, but with that means new puppy messes. In addition to the kid messes and spills, sofas become art pieces, not to mention from my coffee spills.

We just ordered a sofa with a performance fabric. With this, we can unzip the cushions and throw them in the wash. We can spot clean with bleach even! This sofa is going to be a tank because we need to match the wear and tear it’s going to get with the strongest fabric on the market.
By Greg Perliski

Editor, Lake Travis/Westlake & Northwest Austin

Greg joined Community Impact as an editor in November 2020. In the communities he covers, Greg reports on local government, transportation, real estate development and business. He has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. Greg earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.


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