West Elm: Pottery Barn meets Modern Design
Apr 27, 2004 (Updated Nov 8, 2004)
West Elm is the funky, modern alternative to Pottery Barn. They offer stylish, modern furniture and accessories for reasonable prices. While most of the furniture isn't investment quality, it would be great for a first apartment, first home or other setting when you plan to invest in the real stuff later.
Merchandise includes furniture, window coverings, accessories including dishes, vases and throw pillows, some bedding and towels and various other items for the home. The colors and items generally are designed to coordinate with each other. West Elm has its own distinctive look and color combinations which change with the seasons. Previously, purple and citron were featured. Colors this season include aqua blue and camel.
THE WEB SITE
The web site can be very hard to navigate. It is very stylish and appealing to look at but it can be hard to locate items. I strongly recommend ordering a free catalog and using the catalog to shop.
STEALS AND DEALS
West Elm is still relatively new and I haven't found any great secrets to save money on the site. They have recently starting carrying more sale merchandise on the web site. You can sign up for occasional emails that let you know when sales occur. Recent markdowns have become more significant so if you like their stuff, it makes sense to sign up for email notifications.
CHECK-OUT AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
Check-out was relatively painless. I got an email when my order was received and another when my order shipped.
My items were very well packed. I ordered a wooden cabinet that was shipped in the manufacturer's carton. Other items were packed well inside a cardboard box that could be reused if you had to make a return.
The other thing I really liked about West Elm is that I got my items fast - only 4 days after placing my order.
My only gripe on shipping is the relatively high shipping costs. The shipping costs from the web site are:
merchandise total delivery charge
up to $15 $4.95
$15.01 to $25 $6
$25.01 to $45 $8
$45.01 to $65 $11
$65.01 to $90 $14
$90.01 to $125 $17
$125.01 to $200 $21
$200.01 & over add 10% of total
* for orders to Alaska, Hawaii and US territories add $5
For more money, you can also have your items express shipped.
I ordered a wooden cabinet for the bathroom and it was relatively painless to assemble. I also ordered a shower curtain and bath mat. All of the items were of decent quality and I thought West Elm did a good job of representing what I would get.
I had a very pleasant experience with West Elm. The items I purchased were significantly marked down and I though I got good value for my money. The items were also exactly as West Elm represented them to be. Shipping was fast and the items were well-packed. I can definitely recommend West Elm.
DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP ON THE INTERNET? HERE ARE SOME MORE REVIEWS OF WEB STORES:
Clothing and Accessories: Talbots; The Gap; CWD Kids; Hanna Andersson; J. Jill; Tote Le Monde ; Blu Pyxie ; Miniboden; One Hanes Place; Nordstrom; Gymboree; Simple Shoes; Sierra Blue; Ebags.
Clothing and Home Goods: Lands End; Bluefly; Soft Surroundings; Garnet Hill; Sundance; L.L. Bean.
Home and Garden: Smith & Noble; Restoration Hardware; Gardeners Supply Company; Unicahome; Homeclick; FaucetDirect; Gardens Alive; Crate & Barrel; MyKnobs; CB2.
Books and Magazines: Amazon.com; ValueMags; Magazine Values; Dover Publications.
Office Supplies, Furniture and Services: Staples; Officemax; Topdeq; Efax.
Electronics: HP Shopping; Buy.com.
Travel: Amtrak; Hotwire; Orbitz; Hotels.com.
Discount: Overstock.com; Target.
Photo Developing: Shutterfly; Snapfish.
Baby Stuff: Babystyle; Babys Here Birth Announcements; Baby Universe; SoZo.
Miscellaneous: 1-800 contacts; Movie Tickets.com; Drugstore.com.
Rebate Sites: Upromise; Ebates.