Design & Decision-Making: How Architects & Interior Designers Ease The Custom Furniture Process

During the month of April, we at Marshall Furniture decided to hone our focus on all things architectural. Although we focus a lot on our products’ ability to accommodate a wide range of technology, we also strive to make sure each build is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece. Even our Quick Ship line, developed as a low-cost alternative to our custom builds, elicits a high-quality feel. During the last thirty plus years of business, our furniture has evolved partly in response to customer, consultant and architect/designer feedback. As a whole, architects and interior designers in particular play an important role in the aesthetics of the custom furniture process. They have experience with what design elements work and are constantly keeping up with the latest design trends. Their ability to translate customer ideas into an architectural illustration acts as a concise framework for a furniture vendor.

Trends change, as we all know, and it’s a designer’s job to keep up with these trends. From the latest sustainable resources to what traditional aspects retain the most value year after year, designers are tasked with consistently updating their knowledge. So, regardless of whether a project needs a modern redesign or a unique incorporation of existing room architecture into a furniture build, a lot of insight can be gained from architects and interior design companies.

In addition to specifying hardware to match your piece, locks to keep your items secure and inlays to accent the surrounding space, the material is another important aspect of an architect’s job.  Recently, many spaces are pressing for sustainable resources throughout their project builds. Ensuring that the wood materials are properly sourced has become just as important as picking between brass or chrome knobs. This focus on responsible forestry is grounded not only in moral concerns but also as an incentive for tax breaks on the customer’s behalf.

Architects will specify specific materials, suppliers or offer a range of suggestions to the furniture vendor to ensure the customer’s piece is utilizing environmentally friendly sources. When it comes to veneer specifically, designers may ask that it be FSC certified. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that promotes responsible forestry and offers transparency of the supply process through services like chain of custody. Companies, like Marshall Furniture, who hold certification with FSC would then bring in the properly-sourced material to complete the project. Adding this extra layer of insight to a design build propels a customer’s space into the highly popular realm of “green” living.

As a whole, investing in a professional design team provides a multitude of benefits for both clients and furniture vendors. An architect or interior designer can contribute supplementary design knowledge previously unconsidered by a user. This may move the design forward into a new realm or amplify the existing ideas on the table. For a vendor, this detailed information is a convenient starting point as it allows for a quicker design process and prevents misunderstandings between customer and vendor concerning design concept. Also, since architects and designers often work in-depth with the client to develop their vision, a part of their responsibility includes mediating and interpreting customer/vendor concerns. Their knowledgeable background in construction, materials and design allow them to easily translate the vendor’s questions or construction suggestions to the client.

Whether a project requires a small furniture build or a complete building re-configuration, an architectural firm or interior design company can offer clients valuable knowledge to complete their project successfully. Their presence provides custom furniture suppliers with a clear and concise communication of the customer’s vision, easing the design process on both ends.


Meet Our New Director of Business Development

An exciting change is coming to Marshall Furniture. We would like to announce that Tom Feldkamp, previously our Sales Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. As one of our longest-held employees, Tom has been an extremely important … Continue reading

Appearance Does Matter

Designing the look of your next furniture solution can sometimes be a daunting task. With most designs, tackling size, options and equipment are typically the foremost concerns. Equally as important, however, is deciding on finish and style. When it comes to color, veneer and aesthetic accents, your choice can set your unit apart, whether that be in a good way or a bad way. For instance, choose the wrong color and your furniture will stick out like a sore thumb. It may even look like an afterthought within the room. If you go with something that is plain (without accents or molding) in a highly ornate room, it may give off the wrong impression. Discussing the actual look of your next piece is an important step to consider and spend time on during the design process. Here are some ways that Marshall Furniture can help you with that:

Custom Color Matching

One way to ensure your furniture matches its accommodating space is to custom color match it to the rest of the room. We can do this via a control sample. Send us a drawer face, some base trim or even a chip of the material if you have it on hand and we’ll present you with a set of matched samples for review prior to build. If you are doing a new build or room overhaul, let us know the architect’s material and finish specification. If we need to match a laminate color on wood, we will. If we need to match another vendor’s finish, we can do that as well. Talk it through with one of our designers, and we’ll suggest the right plan of action to achieve a successful match.

Veneer Choice

Whether your furniture needs to be an exotic wood species, FSC certified, a certain type of cut or needs to be laid up to match existing wood work, we can discuss ways to achieve the right look. Since we are a custom shop, we can order many different types of veneer from our supplier, including those that are economically sourced (FSC). Although our standard veneers are plain (flat) cut, we can specify material in quarter sawn or rift cut if need be. Additionally, our experienced cabinet makers can lay up material in a specific pattern, such as a book match or slip match, to highlight grain characteristics.

Plastic Laminate

In addition to veneer, we also work with a wide array of plastic laminates. Whether they be commercially available or a proprietary brand, let us know which type you’d like to see on your furniture. As mentioned before, being a custom shop gives us (and the customer) the freedom to specify a large array of choices.


If you have a space that utilizes metal accents, a specific type of molding pattern or includes an intricate pattern of wainscoting that you’d like to see represented in your next furniture solution, let us know. Our designers can work off of a photo, architectural specification or rough sketch to incorporate your aesthetic details. We always provide detailed design drawings for review and will be sure to indicate dimensions, material choice and a brief description of how we plan to implement these details during the build.

Whether you need a simple lectern or a complex, custom conference table, remember to keep finish and style at the forefront of every design conversation. After all, no one wants to spend money on a piece of furniture that does not match the room or looks out of place. For your next furniture project, let us help you specify a solution that will not only accommodate equipment and application, but will be a beautifully constructed piece.

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