Do not buy ashley furniture... It is basically high style crap. They offer a high style "look" to mass consumers at an affordable price; albeit the "look" does not fool me... It still looks cheap because it is cheap.
I grew up in a home filled with ethan allan furniture, purchased in the mid sixties. I believe my father spent around 25k to purchase an entire household of “traditional” furniture. Interestingly, after 40 plus years of service, almost every piece of that ethan allen furniture collection is accounted for and is still in use today. My parents divorced in 1990 and the collection got spread out to the family when my parents downsized their real estate and went their separate ways. I have at least 4 pieces of this furniture in my home today. I recovered two very comfortable "big" rockers in the mid to late 90's at a cost of $800 total and they are still in my living room today... Very comfortable too! Fyi... Ethan allen is not the only “quality” company out there, in fact I suspect that even ethan allan has lowered their quality to be competitive, like everyone else, these days. But if you do your research, you will find that there are “quality” furniture manufacturers out there.
I realize that not everyone can afford expensive high quality furniture and I also realize that we live in a "throw-away" society, but the fact remains that quality furniture that “lasts” will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. What you spent on entire suite of furniture is probably what it would cost to buy one "significant" piece of “quality” furniture, such as a sofa. Beyond that, most reputable stores will tell you that people actually replace their furniture, especially heavily used chairs and sofas / couches, every 7 to 10 years. Subsequently, there's a huge market to sell mediocre furniture at affordable prices. For these reasons, companies like ashley exist; people simply don't want to pay a lot and they don't plan on keeping it that long. Even manufacturer’s like thomasville, flexsteel, bassett, broyhill and lazy-boy (The one’s you see advertised all the time) are not that great, in terms of quality; while they are better than ashley, for sure, they will end up in a land-fill, much sooner than buying a “quality” piece of furniture. What’s most important is the fact while those manufacturers quality may be good, you’ll end up being dissatisfied with the look and performance of these pieces, much sooner than if you’d bought a “quality” piece of furniture.
Recently, i’ve been looking for some new furniture (A leather sectional) and I have been doing a lot of searching at stores and on-line. I actually stopped in at an ashley store in kenosha, wi, last weekend, just for the heck of it. Having never stepped foot in an ashley store, upfront, I believed that it would be crappy quality, but I figured I would check it out anyways…w're all trying to save a buck these days and I figured if I could buy something cheap it might be worth it. Well, I spent about 5 minutes in the store and walked out realizing that i'd be throwing my money away because i'd end up replacing it (Or wanting to replace it) within 5 years.
They say "quality is long remembered, long after the price is forgotten" and i've lived by that mantra in everything I buy... I've actually owned 2 cars in the last 20 years, but I bought the car I wanted and got every option I wanted, both times. So when it comes to my upcoming furniture purchase, i've decided to stick with what I know and buy the quality piece. I've looked at upholstered sectional couches from $1100 to leather sectionals upwards of $7000. I want leather and I want quality, so I am honing in on an internet retailer, club furniture (www.clubfurniture.com), which offers high quality at a reasonable price, albeit it's still going to cost me 3 to 4 thousand dollars. Of course, i'm going to try to beat them down on the price, especially in this market, but i've realized that this piece will probably be with me, for the rest of my life, even if it winds up in a basement rec-room. If I buy a cheap one, I know I will end up tossing it to the curb and buying something else, down the road, which, in the end, will end up costing me more money; that’s just the way I roll.
Sadly, there are not as many people willing to pay for quality these days; that's why the “mass marketers” have been advertising what we want to hear…”that we can have it all for cheap.” with that in mind, do your research, save for what you want, even if you have to “wait for it” and remember…”you get what you pay for.”