Cool Store Alert: West Elm

Every spring I try to turn my small patio into a relaxing, beach setting. I use colors and lots of candles and lights to make it happen... sort of. It never quite works out the way I want it to. Which is why the recent West Elm catalog caught my eye.

The Brooklyn-based furniture company, launched by Williams-Sonoma in 2002, features sleek modern wood pieces with neutral colors. Much of it is loungy, with cushy sofas and inviting outdoor reclining chairs. The pieces are created to appeal to people living in apartments or lofts, says a company spokeswoman. But the furniture has also been a draw to designers across the board.

But what really attracted my eye were the prices. The catalog is having a 10 percent off sale on its outdoor pieces. So you can get a two-person lounger made of nyatoh wood in a white or chocolate weather-treated stain, along with poly canvas, poly foam cushions for $680. The sale also includes outdoor pillows for $7, a wood-slat outdoor dining table with four chairs for $809, a beanbag coffee table for $161 and a teak lounger for $404.

Some of its other furniture, including sofas, desks, beds and dining sets, are reasonably priced as well. You can find desks for $400, a 5-piece sectional sofa for $2,600, room divider bookcases for $600 and 9 x 12-foot jute rugs for $300.

The company has its own in-house designers, many of whom are artists and design professors in their free time, who create a majority of the products. The company is working on a "green" collection, which includes certified organic cotton bedding and bath sets, recycled glass tumblers and carafes and a tree stump side table made from reclaimed acacia tress. The collection also includes Fair Trade Khadi textiles, supported by Aid to Artisans + Craftmark, and hand-loomed by members of a rural women's yarn cooperative in India.

The catalog has several stores throughout the country, including Tysons Corner and Northwest Washington. The Washington store, which is housed in the former Woodies department store on G Street, is the company's largest store and opened in 2007. The company has sales throughout the year. In addition to its 10 percent outdoor furniture sale, the West Elm credit card is offering no interest and no payments for a year if you spend at least $1,000.

Have you shopped West Elm? Do you find the prices reasonable? Does the furniture hold up well? Where else have you found good deals on furniture these days?

By Tania Anderson |  April 2, 2009; 12:00 AM ET Cool Store Alerts , General Interest , Sales
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West Elm is NOT reasonable in terms of price and value. It's a trendy store that is overpriced, much like Crate and Barrel. $680 for a 2-seat lounger?? Come on, you can get a similar "Smith and Hawken" product at Target for less than $300. Ikea also has innexpensive outdoor furniture. West Elm is a yuppie store that caters to those who value style over value. Certainly NOT a store that should be catalogued on this blog.

Posted by: Russtinator | April 7, 2009 4:14 PM

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