The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

The best furniture stores in the U.S.

The Herman Miller flagship store in New York City.

From midcentury stunners to vintage gems, here’s where to shop now

There are so many furniture and decor options in U.S. cities, it can be hard to know where to begin. Sure, chain retailers like West Elm—and, of course, Ikea—offer great value and online ordering, but where should you head when you want to see a gorgeous showroom or try a special piece in person?

Luckily, Curbed city editors have you covered. From antique stores in Detroit to a steel and wood furniture manufacturer in Philadelphia, we’ve rounded up 13 standout furniture and decor stores across the U.S.

And because narrowing a list to a mere baker’s dozen is nearly impossible, we’ve also provided links to maps of dozens of other top-notch stores in each city. Now get shopping!

The Herman Miller flagship in New York City

 Max Touhey
The Herman Miller flagship in New York City.

From Curbed New York: Herman Miller opened its first North American retail hub in a historic Park Avenue building in 2016, and the bilevel space is bright, open, and inviting, with different spaces dedicated to the different functions of everyday life—sleeping, dining, working, and so on.

The store itself is like catnip for fans of...


The Herman Miller flagship store in New York City.

From midcentury stunners to vintage gems, here’s where to shop now

There are so many furniture and decor options in U.S. cities, it can be hard to know where to begin. Sure, chain retailers like West Elm—and, of course, Ikea—offer great value and online ordering, but where should you head when you want to see a gorgeous showroom or try a special piece in person?

Luckily, Curbed city editors have you covered. From antique stores in Detroit to a steel and wood furniture manufacturer in Philadelphia, we’ve rounded up 13 standout furniture and decor stores across the U.S.

And because narrowing a list to a mere baker’s dozen is nearly impossible, we’ve also provided links to maps of dozens of other top-notch stores in each city. Now get shopping!

The Herman Miller flagship in New York City

 Max Touhey
The Herman Miller flagship in New York City.

From Curbed New York: Herman Miller opened its first North American retail hub in a historic Park Avenue building in 2016, and the bilevel space is bright, open, and inviting, with different spaces dedicated to the different functions of everyday life—sleeping, dining, working, and so on.

The store itself is like catnip for fans of midcentury modern furniture, with all of the classics well represented (Eames recliners, Nelson marshmallow sofas, and the like), along with cool decor pieces.

Need more New York City recommendations? We’ve got 24 other furniture stores, over here.

Consort in Los Angeles

 Chris Patey
Consort

From Curbed LA: Founded by interior designers Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone, this boutique is little bit Italian modern and a little bit Miami Vice, but with a globally-inspired bent.

Here, find printed pillows by Shilo Engelbrecht and sleek bedsheets by Parachute alongside brass bar carts, furniture by celebrity interior designer Estee Stanley, and playful handmade ceramics by Lux/Eros, to name just a few.

Check out 26 other furniture stores in Los Angeles, this way.

The Merchandise Mart in Chicago

 Shutterstock

From Curbed Chicago: When it comes to Chicago interior design and home furnishings, the Mart is nothing short of Mecca. The 4 million square foot Art Deco building is home to literally hundreds of showrooms featuring product lines available exclusively to design professionals. The Mart’s Luxe Home and Design Center bill themselves as “the world’s largest" resource for custom home furnishings.

For 33 other furniture stores in Chicago, head over here.

James in Austin

 Via Curbed Austin
The interior of James in Austin.

From Curbed Austin: When Austin designer extraordinaire Meredith Ellis moved back home to Texas after stints in New York and Los Angeles a few years ago, she raised the bar considerably for local design. Then she did it again, when she opened James in a 1930s bungalow on West Sixth (yes, the Design District).

The showroom is set up beautifully, with separate rooms offering exquisite examples of her design and materials, while samples are allowed generous space in other areas rather than cluttering up the tableaux.

James also brings in a world of design formerly unavailable in Austin and offers lovely, often stunning fabrics and wallpaper from Kathryn M. Ireland and Pintura Studio, Bunny Williams Home furniture, Elson & Company rugs, custom-made pieces, and pillows upholstered in vintage textiles—and that's just the start.

Head over here for 11 other top-notch furniture and design stores in Austin.

Stuff in San Francisco

 Brock Keeling

From Curbed SF: This two-level warehouse of furniture, art, and accessories could be considered the mother of all vintage stores. Spending a couple of hours browsing here is like shopping an entire antique district.

Each visit will reveal new things. From the roaring '20s to midcentury, this gallery isn't stuck in a particular decade. The curation here is second to none. (Don't miss the "Star Wars"/disco bathroom upstairs.)

For 34 other must-visit design stores in San Francisco, head this way.

Luminaire Lab in Miami

 via Luminaire Lab
Inside Luminaire Lab in Miami's Design District.

From Curbed Miami: Showcasing innovative modern and contemporary design, the expansive space in the Design District is museumesque. Instead of serving as a mere furniture showroom, Luminaire is an “interactive design research center” that hosts exhibitions and even lectures.

We’ve mapped 15 other fantastic furniture stores in Miami, over here.

Malachite Home in New Orleans

 Courtesy of Malachite Home

From Curbed Nola: Melissa Miles Rufty and Adrienne Casbarian opened Malachite in 2012 as a home for the high-end vintage, antique, and modern furnishings and decor they had collected over the years for design projects.

Melissa and Adrienne (who also owns Lum, a vintage lighting shop) source items from all over the world, and in this boutique you’ll find a blend of tastes and time periods to suit a motley of interiors. Recent finds include an 18th-century French walnut commode, a glass top Karl Springer table from the 1970s, and a large glittering chunk of druzy crystal.

Head over here for 12 other design and furniture stores in New Orleans.

American Street in Philadelphia

 Courtesy of American Street Showroom

From Curbed Philly: The American Street Showroom is home to Amuneal, a local manufacturing company that's know for its own custom steel and wood products, and for bringing some of the world's best-known designers' visions to life. It also showcases work by Groundwork Home, and Robert True Ogden, and occasionally highlights other local artists' and companies' work.

We’ve mapped 19 other must-visit furniture stores in Philly, right this way.

Hudson in Boston

 Via Curbed Boston

From Curbed Boston: Hudson is the brainchild of founder Jill Goldberg, who sought to meld "the traditional style of her upbringing in New England with the California cool she had come to love while living in Los Angeles." There is a lot of variety here, from vintage pieces to more contemporary furniture.

Head over here for 19 other furniture shops in Boston.

The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques in Washington D.C.

A post shared by Ty A Humpert (@tyahumpert) on

From Curbed Washington DC: When it comes to architectural artifacts and vintage furniture, don't forget about Washington, D.C.'s 1981-established The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques. Here, customers will find a variety of doorknobs, ironwork items, lighting, and decorative glass pieces.

Curbed Washington D.C. has 19 other decor stores, right this way.

Kudzu Antiques + Modern in Atlanta

 Kudzu Antiques

From Curbed Atlanta: It's easy to get lost—in the most joyous way—in this sprawling compound of kitsch in a tucked-away section of Decatur near Your DeKalb Farmer's Market.

Open for 35 years now, the 25,000-square-foot Kudzu (and its sister location in Sandy Springs) is more than antiques these days, with an emphasis on contemporary furniture that usually has rustic DNA.

Check out 13 other top furniture stores in Atlanta, over here.

Detroit Artifactry in Detroit

 Michelle & Chris Gerard

From Curbed Detroit: Located near Mercury Bar in Corktown, Detroit Artifactry has so many Detroit collectibles -- signs, tiles, wall hangings -- mixed in with goods like jewelry and candles from local artisans. The converted garage houses a little bit of everything, including some larger items like tables, chairs, and shelving units.

Don’t miss 11 other awesome furniture stores in Detroit, over here.

Retrofit in Seattle

 Via Curbed Seattle
Retrofit in Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

From Curbed Seattle: Instantly recognizable to Capitol Hill locals thanks to an ornate, colorful plastic chair out front, Retrofit sells vintage-inspired furniture in addition to small gift items: Succulents, cards, vases, and terrariums. They also offer private consultations and custom goods for exactly the right look.

We’ve got 22 other furniture stores in Seattle, right this way.

The Herman Miller flagship store in New York City.

From midcentury stunners to vintage gems, here’s where to shop now

There are so many furniture and decor options in U.S. cities, it can be hard to know where to begin. Sure, chain retailers like West Elm—and, of course, Ikea—offer great value and online ordering, but where should you head when you want to see a gorgeous showroom or try a special piece in person?

Luckily, Curbed city editors have you covered. From antique stores in Detroit to a steel and wood furniture manufacturer in Philadelphia, we’ve rounded up 13 standout furniture and decor stores across the U.S.

And because narrowing a list to a mere baker’s dozen is nearly impossible, we’ve also provided links to maps of dozens of other top-notch stores in each city. Now get shopping!

The Herman Miller flagship in New York City

 Max Touhey
The Herman Miller flagship in New York City.

From Curbed New York: Herman Miller opened its first North American retail hub in a historic Park Avenue building in 2016, and the bilevel space is bright, open, and inviting, with different spaces dedicated to the different functions of everyday life—sleeping, dining, working, and so on.

The store itself is like catnip for fans of midcentury modern furniture, with all of the classics well represented (Eames recliners, Nelson marshmallow sofas, and the like), along with cool decor pieces.

Need more New York City recommendations? We’ve got 24 other furniture stores, over here.

Consort in Los Angeles

 Chris Patey
Consort

From Curbed LA: Founded by interior designers Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone, this boutique is little bit Italian modern and a little bit Miami Vice, but with a globally-inspired bent.

Here, find printed pillows by Shilo Engelbrecht and sleek bedsheets by Parachute alongside brass bar carts, furniture by celebrity interior designer Estee Stanley, and playful handmade ceramics by Lux/Eros, to name just a few.

Check out 26 other furniture stores in Los Angeles, this way.

The Merchandise Mart in Chicago

 Shutterstock

From Curbed Chicago: When it comes to Chicago interior design and home furnishings, the Mart is nothing short of Mecca. The 4 million square foot Art Deco building is home to literally hundreds of showrooms featuring product lines available exclusively to design professionals. The Mart’s Luxe Home and Design Center bill themselves as “the world’s largest" resource for custom home furnishings.

For 33 other furniture stores in Chicago, head over here.

James in Austin

 Via Curbed Austin
The interior of James in Austin.

From Curbed Austin: When Austin designer extraordinaire Meredith Ellis moved back home to Texas after stints in New York and Los Angeles a few years ago, she raised the bar considerably for local design. Then she did it again, when she opened James in a 1930s bungalow on West Sixth (yes, the Design District).

The showroom is set up beautifully, with separate rooms offering exquisite examples of her design and materials, while samples are allowed generous space in other areas rather than cluttering up the tableaux.

James also brings in a world of design formerly unavailable in Austin and offers lovely, often stunning fabrics and wallpaper from Kathryn M. Ireland and Pintura Studio, Bunny Williams Home furniture, Elson & Company rugs, custom-made pieces, and pillows upholstered in vintage textiles—and that's just the start.

Head over here for 11 other top-notch furniture and design stores in Austin.

Stuff in San Francisco

 Brock Keeling

From Curbed SF: This two-level warehouse of furniture, art, and accessories could be considered the mother of all vintage stores. Spending a couple of hours browsing here is like shopping an entire antique district.

Each visit will reveal new things. From the roaring '20s to midcentury, this gallery isn't stuck in a particular decade. The curation here is second to none. (Don't miss the "Star Wars"/disco bathroom upstairs.)

For 34 other must-visit design stores in San Francisco, head this way.

Luminaire Lab in Miami

 via Luminaire Lab
Inside Luminaire Lab in Miami's Design District.

From Curbed Miami: Showcasing innovative modern and contemporary design, the expansive space in the Design District is museumesque. Instead of serving as a mere furniture showroom, Luminaire is an “interactive design research center” that hosts exhibitions and even lectures.

We’ve mapped 15 other fantastic furniture stores in Miami, over here.

Malachite Home in New Orleans

 Courtesy of Malachite Home

From Curbed Nola: Melissa Miles Rufty and Adrienne Casbarian opened Malachite in 2012 as a home for the high-end vintage, antique, and modern furnishings and decor they had collected over the years for design projects.

Melissa and Adrienne (who also owns Lum, a vintage lighting shop) source items from all over the world, and in this boutique you’ll find a blend of tastes and time periods to suit a motley of interiors. Recent finds include an 18th-century French walnut commode, a glass top Karl Springer table from the 1970s, and a large glittering chunk of druzy crystal.

Head over here for 12 other design and furniture stores in New Orleans.

American Street in Philadelphia

 Courtesy of American Street Showroom

From Curbed Philly: The American Street Showroom is home to Amuneal, a local manufacturing company that's know for its own custom steel and wood products, and for bringing some of the world's best-known designers' visions to life. It also showcases work by Groundwork Home, and Robert True Ogden, and occasionally highlights other local artists' and companies' work.

We’ve mapped 19 other must-visit furniture stores in Philly, right this way.

Hudson in Boston

 Via Curbed Boston

From Curbed Boston: Hudson is the brainchild of founder Jill Goldberg, who sought to meld "the traditional style of her upbringing in New England with the California cool she had come to love while living in Los Angeles." There is a lot of variety here, from vintage pieces to more contemporary furniture.

Head over here for 19 other furniture shops in Boston.

The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques in Washington D.C.

A post shared by Ty A Humpert (@tyahumpert) on

From Curbed Washington DC: When it comes to architectural artifacts and vintage furniture, don't forget about Washington, D.C.'s 1981-established The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques. Here, customers will find a variety of doorknobs, ironwork items, lighting, and decorative glass pieces.

Curbed Washington D.C. has 19 other decor stores, right this way.

Kudzu Antiques + Modern in Atlanta

 Kudzu Antiques

From Curbed Atlanta: It's easy to get lost—in the most joyous way—in this sprawling compound of kitsch in a tucked-away section of Decatur near Your DeKalb Farmer's Market.

Open for 35 years now, the 25,000-square-foot Kudzu (and its sister location in Sandy Springs) is more than antiques these days, with an emphasis on contemporary furniture that usually has rustic DNA.

Check out 13 other top furniture stores in Atlanta, over here.

Detroit Artifactry in Detroit

 Michelle & Chris Gerard

From Curbed Detroit: Located near Mercury Bar in Corktown, Detroit Artifactry has so many Detroit collectibles -- signs, tiles, wall hangings -- mixed in with goods like jewelry and candles from local artisans. The converted garage houses a little bit of everything, including some larger items like tables, chairs, and shelving units.

Don’t miss 11 other awesome furniture stores in Detroit, over here.

Retrofit in Seattle

 Via Curbed Seattle
Retrofit in Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

From Curbed Seattle: Instantly recognizable to Capitol Hill locals thanks to an ornate, colorful plastic chair out front, Retrofit sells vintage-inspired furniture in addition to small gift items: Succulents, cards, vases, and terrariums. They also offer private consultations and custom goods for exactly the right look.

We’ve got 22 other furniture stores in Seattle, right this way.


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Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.