Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then, We’ll Begin…
by Lisa De Silva
While you may be aware of Fine Furnishings based in the village of Lindfield, you may not be aware of just how much this furniture and bed retailer differs from those found on the High Street.
Buying a new sofa or bed is a major purchase that we don’t tend to make very often, so when we do, it’s important to get it right. Yet, it can often become a disheartening process. Have you ever found yourself wandering around showrooms, wondering what the difference is between various pieces of furniture and why some are so much more expensive than others? Even if you manage to nd someone to help you, they often can’t answer your questions properly or supply you with exactly what you want.
Well, this scenario could not be further from the experience you’ll nd at Fine Furnishings. With over 25 years of experience and expertise, this local family business offers tailor- made advice, alongside tailor-made sofas, chairs and footstools to meet your individual needs.
They also offer a complete re- upholstery service.
“We offer something very different from what you nd on the High Street,” explains owner Andy Walters when I meet him at the company’s workshop and showroom in Lindfield. “Because we manufacture and sell our furniture direct to the public, the customer can ask us to change a sofa’s length or legs, adjust the seat height or depth, or anything in fact, to make the sofa exactly what they want.”
So, while the showroom has a large selection of sofas and chairs on display, these tend to act as templates for customers to create their own design, which is then handmade by a framemaker, the four upholsterers and the machinist in the workshop. If a sofa or chair is too big or too small, too low or too high, too narrow or too wide or has the wrong legs or arms, Fine Furnishings will make it to your exact requirements. As comfort is paramount when relaxing at home, they will also take the time to explain and demonstrate the difference between the six various cushion fillings available, so you get what’s right for you. “There’s no point having feather cushions,” Andy tells me, “unless you’re prepared to plump them up every day. If you want the look and feel of feathers, but not the work, you’ll be better off with a feather mix. Equally, someone who suffers with allergies will need to think about having a microfibre filling.”
Unlike the High Street, there is nothing mass-produced about this company and Fine Furnishings prides itself on taking a personal approach with each customer. If, for example, there is any concern that the furniture may not fit through your doors, they will come out and do a visual inspection. If it won’t fit, the sofa can be made in two halves, or with detachable arms and then assembled when it’s in place. Once you’ve ordered your sofa or chair, you then have around eight weeks to choose the fabric. With between 25–30,000 designs to choose from, this can take time. Customers are welcome to take home pattern books or call in and browse through the selection over a coffee. When they have an idea of what they might like, Andy orders a large sample of the fabric, delivered free of charge to their home, so that they can live with it for a few days and see whether or not it’s going to be right. “I’d never expect someone to choose a fabric from the swatches in pattern books.
It’s such an important decision and it needs to be right,” explains Andy. “It’s also really nice when customers call in, for them to see their actual furniture being made downstairs in the workshop. Some people like to bring in cameras, so they have a photographic record of the work in progress.” As well as manufacturing new furniture, Fine Furnishings also offer a re-upholstery service, which can give your existing pieces a new lease of life. Whether it’s repairing old furniture, replacing cushion llings or recovering an existing suite, Andy and the team can rise to any challenge.
“Lots of our customers wonder why we don’t have a shop,” Andy tells me, “but it’s how we keep our prices competitive with the High Street. By making and selling the furniture on the same site we have none of the overheads of big retailers and can keep our costs and prices down, without compromising on quality.”
The company also stocks the largest range of Somnus beds in Mid Sussex. Somnus have been making beds since 1840 using 100% natural llings. “I’ve sold beds for over 30 years and probably know more about them than their Head Of ce,” laughs Andy.
If you’ve ever felt confused or bewildered when trying to choose a new bed, you’re not alone, and Andy has perfected a three-minute bed lesson to help people understand why one bed might be better for them than another. Again, it’s a personal approach, helping the customer to understand the various bene ts of each type of bed and mattress in relation to their individual needs. As with the furniture, prices are keen. By carrying such a large range of beds, their purchasing power means that Fine Furnishings can offer customers the best prices on Somnus beds in Mid Sussex.
This family business has evolved and grown through talking to, and listening, to its customers and there is a genuine passion for customer satisfaction. “In fact, we treat people how we would want to be treated. There’s no pressure, nobody is on commission, we’re happy to leave people to browse, but equally we can help them understand all the benefits of our products, so they get what’s exactly right for them,” claims Andy.
It’s this huge wealth of knowledge and experience, together with a truly personal touch and the opportunity to buy exclusive handmade furniture at competitive prices, that customers appreciate. And it’s why shopping at Fine Furnishings will be the best furniture shopping experience you could ever wish for.