Furniture runs the spectrum from Craigslist-found used Ikea tables to high-end custom pieces. My husband and I are in the position now where our Ikea stuff is falling apart. It’s getting on time to replace it, and I’d really like to do it with sexy, sustainable furniture that will last us the rest of our lives… longer.

Someday, I will make my own something from reclaimed wood and magical green carpentry techniques, but for now that’s not going to happen. I lack the knowledge, the skill, the space; if we want new furniture, we have to buy it.

But we can only afford so much. Target/Ikea prices are doable, but their stuff is crap. Crate and Barrell prices are more of a stretch but still possible, and their furniture is higher quality. So that range of the spectrum will be my focus for this post.

Crate & Barrel ArmoireHandcrafted Armoire

The Armoire on the left is Cherry and Cherry veneer from Crate & Barrel for $2,499. On the right as a Cherry and Maple Armoire, custom made by Peter F. Lundebjerg for $2,950–a little more expensive, but he’ll make it to fit your needs exactly. And the detail is beautiful (click the picture for close-up images).

Crate & Barrel tells you ‘made in the USA,’ but PLJ Woodworking tells you:

I will endeavor to build you the exact piece of Hand Crafted Wooden heirloom quality one-of-a-kind Jewelry box, Ornamental Box or piece of Fine Furniture you’ve always wanted. I can work from drawings, pictures or your imagination. I will always give you the highest level quality for the type of project you and I are creating.

It just feels nice. And there artisans like him all over–worth looking one up before you buy from a big retailer. You may have more choice than you think.