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Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel - A Value Comparison

Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel – A Value Comparison

by Ethan Ross

Are you caught in the decision-making process between Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel for your furniture and home decor needs?

Both brands promise high-quality products, but how do they really stack up against each other?

We aim to resolve this dilemma by meticulously comparing the two companies in various aspects.

By the end of this article, you will gain a clearer understanding of how they differ, which could better serve your needs, and ultimately, how to make a more informed choice.

Quick Comparison

CriteriaRoom and BoardCrate and Barrel
Years in IndustryOver 35 yearsSince 1962
Philosophy/StyleModern, inspired by various design movementsContemporary and modern
SustainabilityStrong focus; 90% made in AmericaEco-friendly production; LEED Gold Certification
Social Media Presence357k on Instagram, 100k on Facebook, 235k on Pinterest2.4 million on Instagram
RecognitionFast Company, Forbes, etc.New York Magazine, etc.
Pricing (Sofas)$1100 – $5000$1099 – $5799
Delivery Costs$99 – $139Varies
Return PolicyUnspecified but free returns30-day with 25% restocking fee
CustomizationSize, fabric, color optionsCustom upholstery options
Design ConsultationFreeAvailable
In-Store AvailabilityPhysical storesOver 100 stores in 9 countries
Customer FeedbackPositive reviews on external sitesMixed reviews
Additional ServicesFinancing through AffirmWedding registry, price match guarantee

Background and History

Understanding the history of Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel can offer valuable insights into the brands’ core values and product offerings. This section delves into the origins and founding inspirations of both companies.

Origin of Room and Board

Room and Board was established in 1980, with its headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The brand emphasizes American craftsmanship, sourcing more than 90% of its products domestically.

Note: The brand’s name, “Room and Board,” is a nod to simple, uncluttered design, and their focus on functionality in living spaces.

Origin of Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel originated in 1962, founded by Gordon and Carole Segal. Based in Northbrook, Illinois, the brand made its name by offering European-style products to the American market. An interesting tidbit is that the Segals used actual crates and barrels as their first display fixtures in the original store.

Founding Inspirations for Both Companies

  • Room and Board: The company took inspiration from the Shaker, Asian, Mid-century Modern, and Arts and Crafts movements. Their goal was to offer high-quality, functional, and aesthetically pleasing furniture.
  • Crate and Barrel: Inspired by the desire to bring affordable yet stylish and functional home furnishings and accessories to the U.S., Crate and Barrel initially focused on importing glassware and other home goods from Europe.

Both Room and Board and Crate and Barrel were motivated by the same basic concept: to provide customers with high-quality, well-designed products. However, Room and Board places a stronger emphasis on American craftsmanship, while Crate and Barrel leans towards a more international approach, particularly in its early years.

Read Also: Polywood vs Highwood – Achieve Outdoor Elegance

Design Philosophy and Aesthetics

When it comes to design philosophy and aesthetics, Room and Board and Crate and Barrel take different yet equally compelling paths. This section reviews the design focus of each brand and contrasts their design inspirations.

Room and Board’s Focus on Various Design Movements

Room and Board finds its influence in multiple design movements, such as Shaker, Asian, and Mid-century Modern. By amalgamating various influences, the brand succeeds in creating versatile and functional furniture that appeals to a broad range of tastes.

Note: Room and Board’s design philosophy puts a strong emphasis on balancing form and function, ensuring that each piece not only looks good but also serves its purpose well.

Crate and Barrel’s Emphasis on Contemporary and Modern Furniture

Crate and Barrel, on the other hand, leans more towards a contemporary and modern design spectrum. The brand curates furniture pieces that resonate with current trends, thus appealing to a younger, more fashion-conscious audience.

Comparison of Design Inspirations

FeatureRoom and BoardCrate and Barrel
Primary Design MovementsShaker, Asian, Mid-century ModernContemporary, Modern
Target DemographicBroad RangeYounger, Trend-Conscious
Core PhilosophyForm and FunctionTrend and Style

As seen in the table above, Room and Board offers a blend of classical and modern elements, targeting a broad demographic. Crate and Barrel focuses on modern and contemporary designs, targeting a younger, trendier audience. Each brand has carved out a unique design niche, offering customers distinct choices based on their aesthetic preferences.

Sustainability Practices

The emphasis on sustainability sets modern furniture brands apart. Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel both contribute to this effort, albeit in different capacities. Here, we scrutinize their commitments and practices in sustainable operations.

Room and Board’s Commitment to Sustainability

Room and Board takes a responsible approach to furniture manufacturing. By sourcing natural materials such as hardwoods and leathers that are not only durable but also sustainable, the company underlines its commitment to eco-friendly practices.

Note: A significant percentage of Room and Board’s products are made from recycled or upcycled materials, elevating the brand’s sustainability credentials.

Crate and Barrel’s Sustainability Efforts and LEED Certification

Crate and Barrel, meanwhile, holds a LEED certification, a highly esteemed accolade in the realm of green building. The certification shows the brand’s pledge to reducing its carbon footprint, water usage, and overall environmental impact.

Assessing the Eco-Friendliness of Both Companies

CriteriaRoom and BoardCrate and Barrel
Use of Sustainable MaterialsHighModerate
FocusMaterials SourcingGreen Building

Both Room and Board or Crate and Barrel are committed to sustainable practices, but they focus on different aspects. Room and Board zeroes in on material sourcing and durability, whereas Crate and Barrel excels in green building practices backed by its LEED certification. Each offers a different lens through which to evaluate your own commitment to sustainability when making a purchase.

Quality and Durability of Products

Evaluating the longevity and sturdiness of furniture is critical for any investment. Both Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel prioritize these factors, but they have unique approaches to quality assurance.

Lifespan of Room and Board Furniture

Room and Board focuses on longevity, emphasizing the use of durable materials such as kiln-dried hardwoods and high-density foam. This focus on quality ensures a longer lifespan for their furniture, making it a good investment for those who value longevity.

Note: Room and Board offers extended warranties, providing further assurance of the durability of their products.

Crate and Barrel’s Quality Assurance Methods

Crate and Barrel employs a series of tests and checks to ensure the quality of their products. This includes extensive in-house testing to international standards for durability, stability, and safety. Their process aims to minimize the risk of defects, enhancing customer confidence.

How Each Brand Fares in Terms of Durability

BrandMaterials UsedQuality ControlExpected Lifespan
Room and BoardKiln-dried hardwoodsLimited testingLonger
Crate and BarrelVariedExtensive testingModerate

Both brands offer reliable products, but the emphasis differs. Room and Board places more focus on the intrinsic quality of the materials used, whereas Crate and Barrel places more emphasis on quality control processes. This provides customers with different yet meaningful options to consider when assessing the life expectancy of their potential furniture purchases.

Key Differences

Understanding the primary distinctions between Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel can assist in making a well-informed purchase. These differences span design philosophies, sustainability efforts, and value considerations.

Differentiators in Design Philosophy

Room and Board leans towards a more eclectic mix of designs, embracing various styles and periods. On the other hand, Crate and Barrel is largely fixated on contemporary and modern furniture, streamlining choices for those who have a preference for such aesthetics.

Note: If a broad range of styles is what you’re after, Room and Board offers greater diversity.

Sustainability Practices Contrast

Both brands are committed to sustainability, but their efforts manifest differently. Room and Board focuses on local sourcing and responsible material use, while Crate and Barrel has secured LEED certification for some of its stores, placing importance on energy-efficient operations.

Focus AreaRoom and BoardCrate and Barrel
Material SourcingLocalVaried
CertificationsNone SpecifiedLEED
Energy EfficiencyNot emphasizedYes

Price Points and Value for Money

When it comes to cost, Room and Board generally offers higher-end products, leading to a higher average price. Crate and Barrel has a broader range of price options, accommodating both budget-conscious and splurge-ready consumers.

  • Room and Board: Higher average price but perceived as more durable.
  • Crate and Barrel: More varied price range, offering options for different budgets.

Both companies offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages in terms of design, sustainability, and pricing, providing ample considerations for potential buyers.

Range of Offerings

The assortment of products available from Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel can be pivotal in determining which brand suits your needs better. Both companies provide a range of furnishings, yet they differ significantly in variety and focus.

Types of Furniture and Home Goods Offered by Room and Board

Room and Board offers a wide array of residential furniture, including bedroom sets, sofas, and dining tables. The brand also delves into office furniture, showcasing desks and ergonomic chairs. Interestingly, they also offer custom design services for those seeking specialized solutions.

Note: If you require office furniture or are interested in custom design solutions, Room and Board can meet those needs.

Types of Furniture and Home Goods Offered by Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel not only specializes in residential furniture like sofas, beds, and dining sets but also extends its product line to kitchenware and home decor. This makes the brand a one-stop-shop for consumers who want to furnish and decorate their home in one go.

CategoryRoom and BoardCrate and Barrel
Residential FurnitureYesYes
Office FurnitureYesNo
Home DecorLimitedExtensive

Variety Comparison for More Versatile Options

While Room and Board focuses more on furniture, Crate and Barrel offers a more extensive variety, from furniture to home decor and kitchenware. This difference in range provides buyers with varied preferences more flexibility when shopping with Crate and Barrel.

  • Room and Board: Strong in furniture, particularly with custom design options.
  • Crate and Barrel: More extensive in variety, covering both furnishings and home essentials.

Therefore, understanding what you require and what each brand offers is crucial for making an educated decision.

Customer Experience and Services

Evaluating customer service can be as important as assessing the quality of products. Room and Board and Crate and Barrel both take considerable steps to enhance customer satisfaction, although their approaches differ.

Room and Board’s Design Consultation and Delivery Services

Room and Board offers design consultation services that guide customers through the process of selecting suitable furniture for their spaces. Their delivery services are equally noteworthy, often completing installations with a personalized touch.

Note: If you’re someone who values expert guidance in furniture selection, Room and Board’s design consultation may be particularly appealing.

Crate and Barrel’s White-Glove Delivery and Design Consultations

Crate and Barrel’s white-glove delivery service ensures that your furniture arrives in impeccable condition and is assembled on-site. Moreover, they offer design consultation services that align with individual tastes and preferences.

Service AspectRoom and BoardCrate and Barrel
Design ConsultationAvailableAvailable
Delivery ServiceStandardWhite-Glove
On-Site AssemblyYesYes

Reviewing the Customer Services Provided

Room and Board excels in offering personalized design consultation, whereas Crate and Barrel sets itself apart with its white-glove delivery service, ensuring that products arrive and are installed in pristine condition.

  • Room and Board: Strong personalized service, particularly in design consultation.
  • Crate and Barrel: Focuses on meticulous delivery and setup, catering to those who value this attention to detail.

Both brands place high importance on customer service, albeit with different emphasis. The choice between the two would largely depend on what aspect of customer service you find most beneficial.

Pricing and Affordability

Financial considerations are often crucial when choosing between Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel. This section delves into the pricing strategies of each company and what they offer in terms of financing options.

Room and Board’s Price Range

Room and Board focuses on premium products, reflected in their pricing. Consumers can expect to pay a premium for the tailored services and high-quality materials used in their furniture. A sofa, for instance, could range from $1,200 to $4,000.

Note: Room and Board’s prices are consistent with their commitment to quality and personalized service.

Crate and Barrel’s Price Range

Crate and Barrel offers a wide array of options to fit various budgets. Prices for a similar sofa could range from $800 to $3,000, providing a somewhat more flexible approach to pricing compared to Room and Board.

Furniture TypeRoom and Board Price RangeCrate and Barrel Price Range
Sofa$1,200 – $4,000$800 – $3,000
Dining Table$900 – $3,500$600 – $2,500

A Look at Financing Options

Both Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel offer financing options, but the terms can differ. Room and Board typically provides shorter financing periods with zero interest, while Crate and Barrel has more extended payment plans, often up to 48 months.

  • Room and Board: Shorter financing periods, generally 12 to 18 months, zero interest.
  • Crate and Barrel: Extended payment plans, up to 48 months, varying interest rates.

Financial considerations can significantly influence your decision-making process. The choice between Room and Board and Crate and Barrel will ultimately hinge on your budget constraints and your value proposition for quality, service, and extended payment terms.

Pros and Cons

An objective assessment requires examining the strengths and weaknesses of both Room and Board and Crate and Barrel. This section aims to offer a balanced view to aid in making an informed decision.

Advantages of Shopping with Room and Board

Room and Board prides itself on premium quality and personalized service. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. High-Quality Materials: The company uses top-grade materials to ensure longevity.
  2. Design Consultation: Personalized services, including design consultation, are available.
  3. US-Made Products: A large portion of the inventory is made in the United States.

Note: The design consultation service is particularly noteworthy, offering tailored solutions to fit specific needs.

Disadvantages Associated with Room and Board

Despite its many strengths, Room and Board also has its downsides:

  • Higher Prices: The emphasis on quality and service comes at a higher cost.
  • Limited Financing: Financing options are relatively restricted, often limited to shorter periods.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel offers its own set of merits and demerits:

PricingMore budget-friendly optionsQuality may vary
Financing OptionsExtended payment plansInterest rates can be higher
Product RangeWide variety of productsLess focus on personalized service

Making the right choice between Room and Board and Crate and Barrel depends on what aspects are more important to you. Whether it’s quality, cost, or range of services, each company offers a different set of benefits and limitations.

Which is Better

The ultimate question remains: which brand offers the superior experience for your specific needs? We will address this by summarizing the merits and limitations of each brand, providing recommendations for varied customer requirements, and offering insights for different scenarios.

Summing Up the Strengths and Weaknesses of Each Brand

To encapsulate the unique attributes and shortcomings of Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel, consider the following:

  • Room and Board: Emphasizes premium quality and personalized service but at a higher cost.
  • Crate and Barrel: Provides a wider variety of options and more flexible pricing, albeit with less emphasis on personalized service.

Note: Your preferences for quality, cost, and service will heavily influence your ultimate choice between the two brands.

Recommendations Based on Different Customer Needs

  • Quality Seekers: Room and Board is your go-to option for top-grade materials and design.
  • Budget-Conscious: Crate and Barrel offers more financially accessible options.
  • Those Seeking Variety: Crate and Barrel provides a wider range of products.

Final Thoughts on the Best Choice for Various Scenarios

  1. Home Makeover: If you are looking to completely revamp your living space, Room and Board’s design consultation might be invaluable.
  2. Event Planning: For one-off events like parties or weddings, the diverse range at Crate and Barrel might be more suitable.
  3. Long-Term Investment: Room and Board’s focus on quality makes it a good fit for those looking to make long-lasting purchases.

So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both brands have distinct advantages that cater to different needs and scenarios. Your final decision will hinge on which attributes you value most.

Read Also: Polywood vs Breezesta – A Definitive Comparison


In drawing this analysis to a close, it is evident that both Room and Board vs Crate and Barrel have distinct offerings tailored for different needs.

While Room and Board excels in quality and personalized service, Crate and Barrel offers more variety and affordability. Depending on your priorities, either brand could serve you well.

For a more comprehensive understanding, we recommend academic journals focusing on consumer behavior and retail strategies.