Smith Brothers Vs. Ethan Allen Furniture: In-depth Differences

When it comes to home furnishings, Smith Brothers and Ethan Allen are two iconic American brands that have been around for generations. Both companies offer a wide selection of living room, bedroom, dining room, and home office furniture in various styles from traditional to modern.

While they have some similarities, Smith Brothers and Ethan Allen also have notable differences when it comes to their products, prices, and brand reputations. This article will compare and contrast these two furniture giants to help you decide which may be a better fit for your home.

Key Differences At A Glance

Smith BrothersEthan Allen
Founded in 1925, based in WisconsinFounded in 1932, based in Connecticut
More budget-friendly pricesHigher-end prices
Casual, laidback stylesElegant, sophisticated styles
Strength in living room furnitureStrength in bedroom and dining room furniture
Less customization optionsMore customization available
Smaller store footprintLarger network of design centers
Less brand recognitionLongstanding luxury reputation

Now let’s dive into a more detailed comparison of these two classic American furniture brands.

Furniture Styles and Aesthetics Comparison

Smith Brothers 8000 series Sectional
Smith Brothers 8000 series Sectional

Smith Brothers – The Smith Brothers furniture aesthetic tends to be casual, approachable, and unpretentious.

You’ll see lots of plush, pillowy seating in fabrics like corduroy and microfiber.

Rustic wood finishes and sloped rolled arms give many pieces a farmhouse vibe.

Their designs cater to family-friendly living rooms and affordable bedrooms. The overall look is laidback, cozy, and inviting.

Ethan Allen – Sophisticated and elegant is the name of the game with Ethan Allen. The brand is known for ornate carved wooden pieces, luxe upholstered seating with nailhead trim, and glossy lacquered finishes.

Floral chintzes, velvets, and textured chenilles are used to upholster pieces in a refined way. Ethan Allen exudes an upscale, fashion-forward look perfect for formal living and dining rooms.

Smith Brothers goes for comfort and simplicity, while Ethan Allen oozes opulence. The styles don’t directly overlap, so your furniture preferences and room decor will determine which aesthetic suits your space.

Furniture Categories and Selection

Smith Brothers – This brand primarily focuses on a few key furniture categories – sofas, sectionals, chairs, tables, beds, and mattresses. They offer family friendly, budget-conscious furniture suited to high traffic spaces like living rooms and kids bedrooms.

Smith Brothers furniture selection covers all the basics but generally doesn’t have as many elaborate one-of-a-kind statement pieces.

Ethan Allen – With a much wider range, Ethan Allen excels in living room furniture, dining room furniture, bedrooms, and home office furniture. Their selection includes chairs, tables, beds, dressers, desks, sofas, china cabinets, armoires, and more.

Besides furniture, they are also known for decorative accessories like rugs, lighting, mirrors, art, and home accents. Ethan Allen shops allow you to outfit an entire home in their coordinated designs.

If you’re looking to furnish your full home solely with one brand, Ethan Allen is the better one-stop shop. Smith Brothers serves as an affordable option for key living room and bedroom items.

Quality And Durability Comparison

Ethan Allen's New Collection
Ethan Allen’s New Collection

Smith Brothers – Known for its quality craftsmanship, Smith Brothers uses hardwood frames and corners blocked with wood blocks to make furniture that can handle years of regular use.

While not heirloom quality, their sofas and beds are built to provide better longevity than cheap big box store versions. Stain resistant fabrics help their furniture hold up to family life.

Ethan Allen – As a luxury brand, only top quality materials and artisanal construction methods are used. Ethan Allen has its own workshops in the US where skilled craftsmen build furniture designed to become family heirlooms.

Wood surfaces have delicate hand-applied finishes. The finest fabrics and leathers upholster their pieces. Meticulous attention to detail ensures lasting quality and durability.

For maximum heirloom quality craftsmanship, Ethan Allen has the edge. But Smith Brothers still constructs better quality furnishings than budget-focused brands.

Customization and Personalization

Smith Brothers Collection 5000 Sofa
Smith Brothers Collection 5000 Sofa

Smith Brothers – The customization options are somewhat limited with Smith Brothers.

Their furniture is not made-to-order.

You can select different fabric and finish options for chairs, sofas, and sectionals from a preset selection.

But you can’t customize dimensions or details like nailhead trim. Smith Brothers aims for a more mass-produced approach to keep prices affordable.

Ethan Allen – One of Ethan Allen’s calling cards is the ability to customize furniture to suit your exact tastes and space. During complimentary design consultations, you can select dimensions, fabrics, finishes, and minor styling details to make pieces your own.

Ethan Allen also offers complimentary design services to help you put together a cohesive look. Their made-to-order furnishings and design expertise come at a higher cost.

For personalized furniture suited to your space, Ethan Allen has the flexibility advantage. Smith Brothers convenience and value relies on a more pre-fab approach.

Price and Affordability Comparison

Smith Brothers – Since they manufacturer many of their own pieces, Smith Brothers is able to offer affordable prices that often beat out other major furniture chains. Their products cater to budget-minded shoppers looking for good quality without high price tags.

You can easily furnish an entire room for under $3,000. Sales and clearance deals make their furniture even more wallet-friendly.

Ethan Allen – As a luxury brand, Ethan Allen commands higher prices that reflect the superior materials, construction, and design expertise involved. Expect to pay upwards of $3,000 for a sofa alone.

A full dining set or bedroom will run well over $5,000. The investment purchases are designed to become family heirlooms, however the costs are prohibitive for many buyers. Their financing plans can help offset bigger purchases over time.

If keeping costs low is your main objective, Smith Brothers is the clear value choice. For access to heirloom craftsmanship, Ethan Allen offers lifetime quality for luxury prices.

In-Store and Online Experience

Smith Brothers – Smith Brothers operates 20 showroom locations, primarily in Wisconsin and Illinois. Stores showcase vignettes of their furniture collections in cozy, welcoming environments.

You can test out their sofas and beds in-store before ordering online or in-store. Their website allows you to browse models and fabrics as another shopping option.

Vintage Ethan Allen Classic Furniture
Vintage Ethan Allen Classic Furniture

Ethan Allen – With nearly 300 North American Design Centers plus global locations, Ethan Allen provides a much more expansive store network.

Each center brings their collections to life in elaborately decorated interiors with complimentary design service.

You can also shop online or from product catalogs.

Ethan Allen’s bigger retail presence gives more opportunity to experience the brand in person.

For a more intimate shopping experience, Smith Brothers smaller footprint allows specialized service. Ethan Allen’s wider reach gives more opportunity to find a local Design Center.

Sourcing And Manufacturing Comparison

Smith Brothers – This brand manufactures about 70% of their furniture in their own American workshops. They also outsource some production to other factories around the world.

By controlling some domestic manufacturing, they can offer better quality for lower costs. Their facilities are centered near their headquarters in Wisconsin.

Ethan Allen – Although some pieces are outsourced from global suppliers, Ethan Allen prides themselves on keeping manufacturing in America whenever possible.

They have major workshop facilities in Vermont, North Carolina, and California where skilled craftsmen produce their premium quality furniture. Keeping production domestic allows for quality control and customization.

Both brands maintain a commitment to US manufacturing and production. Ethan Allen has a slightly bigger domestic footprint while Smith Brothers outsources more to cut costs.

Pros and Cons of Smith Brothers And Ethan Allen Furniture

To recap the key differences, here’s an overview of the main pros and cons of Smith Brothers and Ethan Allen furniture:

Smith Brothers Pros

  • Affordable prices and regular sales
  • Strength in comfortable living room furniture and beds
  • Casual, laidback style suitable for family friendly spaces
  • Made in America manufacturing for some items
  • Smaller footprint with intimate shopping experience

Smith Brothers Cons

  • Less selection beyond bedrooms and living rooms
  • Limited customization and personalization
  • Not as heirloom quality for expensive investment pieces
  • Lesser known brand reputation

Ethan Allen Pros

  • High-end luxury quality and craftsmanship
  • Extensive selection of furniture and home decor
  • Classic sophisticated styles and customization options
  • Larger network of design centers for convenient shopping
  • Longstanding reputation as a premium brand

Ethan Allen Cons

  • Very expensive, especially for whole home furnishing
  • Formal styles not suited to every home aesthetic
  • Custom ordering can mean longer production time
  • Not as budget-friendly for casual spaces

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Smith Brothers furniture a good brand?

Yes, Smith Brothers is considered a good quality furniture brand in the mid-range price points. They use hardwood frames and decent fabrics to make classic casual living room seating and bedroom sets built to last through daily use. While not heirloom quality, their construction is more durable than budget furniture stores. The brand offers good value for money.

What is comparable to Ethan Allen?

Some brands with a similar elevated luxury style and quality to Ethan Allen include Baker, Restoration Hardware, Bassett Furniture, and Hooker Furniture. These brands all focus on upscale designs and attentive craftsmanship but usually cost less than Ethan Allen when furnishing an entire home.

Is Ethan Allen high end furniture?

Yes, Ethan Allen is classified as a high end, luxury furniture brand. Their products are made from fine materials, built using artisanal construction techniques, and offered at premium prices. Ethan Allen stands out as high end because of their focus on customized designs. The ability to get bespoke furniture makes Ethan Allen a true luxury brand.

What happened to the Smith Brothers furniture?

Smith Brothers Furniture is still an operating midwestern furniture company with about 20 retail locations, the majority in Wisconsin and Illinois. The brand is still family owned by the Smiths nearly a century after its founding. While Smith Brothers is a smaller regional brand, they continue to offer their signature comfortable living room seating and bedroom furniture at affordable prices for Midwest customers today.

Wrapping Up

At the end of the day, choosing between Smith Brothers and Ethan Allen comes down to your budget, style preferences, and needs. Here are some final tips for deciding which brand to consider:

  • For affordable living room seating and bedroom sets under $3,000, Smith Brothers is likely the better match. Their comfort-focused casual style and smaller footprint also keeps costs reasonable.
  • If you want heirloom quality furniture made in America with luxe customization, Ethan Allen justifies the splurge. Their expansive selection and sophisticated aesthetic appeal to upscale tastes.
  • For families with kids or pets seeking durable, fuss-free furniture, Smith Brothers laidback practicality fits the bill.
  • Homeowners who want to fully outfit their entire home in a cohesive design should look to Ethan Allen’s one-stop shop. Their expertise in aesthetically unified decor is unmatched.
  • Renters and those on tighter budgets get more value from Smith Brothers. Ethan Allen makes more sense for homeowners planning to stay long-term.

Take stock of your budget, timeline, taste, and needs before deciding. And always try before you buy – test out sofas and beds in person whenever possible to ensure comfort and quality firsthand.

Hopefully, this comparison helps provide some guidance as you embark on finding the ideal furniture to create a home you love.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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