Restoration Hardware Leather Sofa Reviews: (Should I Buy?)

I've always considered Restoration Hardware at the upper echelon of pricing in terms of overall furniture retailers. When I was shopping for new furniture, the brand wasn't considered due to the price concerns.

However, I recently visited a Restoration Hardware furniture outlet store to get a better understanding of their leather furniture offerings. 

So, are Restoration Hardware's leather sofas any good?

Based on my research, I discovered that Restoration Hardware offers leather furniture with fantastic style, offering above-average quality at a premium price point. However, despite the attractive designs, there are some quality concerns, considering that most of their leather sofas are manufactured in China.

If you have purchased a Restoration leather sofa and would like to offer a review, please leave a comment at the end of this piece. 

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Summary:

Fantastic designs and beautiful leather pieces, with opulent design centers throughout the US that showcase the furniture. They have relationships with some good designers (aka 'Artisans'). However, the furniture is primarily made in China. Quality is very mixed, and the lack of a warranty is quite disappointing.

Key  Features:

  • Beautiful, unique leather furniture designs
  • High price point in comparison to other retailers, however outlets and membership can bring overall costs down
  • Design Galleries have created a unique experience for shoppers
  • No warranty on leather furniture
  • Mixed opinions on quality with majority of leather furniture made in China

overall 

3/5

Quality

Value

Warranty

Reviews

What's The Background Of Restoration Hardware?

Restoration Hardware is a luxury retail operator that sells furniture, lighting, textiles, and general household items. It has been in business since 1979. 

The company was founded by Stephen Gordon, who launched the company while he was restoring an old Victorian home. Gordon was frustrated with the quality of hardware and fixtures available, so he decided to set up a storefront outside his house.

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Restoration Hardware Design Gallery Chicago (Image courtesy Lou Stejskal)

Gordon started with just knobs, fixtures, and various pieces of high-quality hardware. After a few years, he soon morphed into selling home accessories and ultimately started introducing furniture. 

Today, Restoration Hardware operates a total of 66 RH Galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada. RH Galleries are grandiose showcases of Restoration Hardware's furniture offerings, which amount to beautifully designed locations with magnificent designs. For example, in Boston, the RH Gallery near me, in Boston, is a transformed showcase of the former Boston Historic Museum of Natural History.

Many RH Design Galleries also offer dining options and extensive interior design capabilities, all tailored to meet local demand.

The company also operates 38 outlet stores in the U.S. and Canada, which are lower frills versus the Design Galleries. 

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Restoration Hardware is also a publicly-traded company, trading under the ticker RH, so there is a way to participate as an investor for any fans of the furniture store.

Restoration Hardware has also relied heavily on driving demand via the use of 'source books', which are massive catalogs (often exceeding 900 pages) showcasing their furniture. Unfortunately, the catalogs have caused a lot of controversy, due to the environmental impact of all the paper used

Is Restoration Hardware Legit?

Restoration Hardware is a well-known online and brick & mortar furniture retailer that has been in business since 1979.  It is a publicly-traded company (Ticker: RH) and generates nearly $3 Billion in sales annually. RH operates several different websites, including the following brand extensions - RH Baby & Child, RH Teen, and Waterworks (high-end kitchen and bathroom hardware).

The company is listed on Consumer Affairs and has a score of 3.8 (out of 5 stars) on over 200 Reviews. The most common complaints are regarding furniture quality, such as this example of a disappointed consumer who purchased a $4K sofa from RH.

"I bought a sofa from RH 2 years ago. The cost was 4k. I tried this sofa in the showroom several times before I decided to buy it.....Right after the new sofa was delivered I sat on it and I realized that it felt different than on a sofa I tried in the showroom. Only 2 years have passed and now when I sit on it I am sinking into the seat cushion quite a bit AND this is not comfortable, and is giving me lower back pain." - Lana, Redwood City

They are listed on Better Business Bureau with some negative reviews and complaints, but not a ton of activity. This is probably a good thing, since consumers are more apt to post a bad review of a retailer as opposed to offering up a glowing endorsement.

You can also find Yelp Reviews for each of their gallery and outlet stores, although of course a lot of Yelp reviews are based on the customer service experience in a particular store. The majority of Yelp reviews for Restoration aren't all that great - hovering around that 2.5 Star mark.

I took a look at the Yelp Review for the RH Design Gallery, closest to me  - in Boston. The consensus appears to be a lot of complaints about the lack of attention from the employees here and the overall cost and lack of quality per that premium price.

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I also discovered this post in my research

The Shocking Truth About Restoration Hardware

It's a long post, but here's the gist of the author's argument: Restoration Hardware is selling cheap Chinese furniture and hardware for massive, massive markups over the costs of the actual product, mainly to help supplement the excessive costs, buildout, and maintenance of their opulent Design Galleries, and to well, supplement the significant expense (both monetary and environmental) of their source books. 

I think there is probably some truth and some over-exaggeration to this post. Yes, Restoration Hardware imports and manufactures furniture in China and other Southeast Asian countries.

And often, those suppliers will take the design and replicate the product with some minor changes and sell it at enough profit to make some money. Basically, it's a knock-off product, often with some shortcuts taken.

As an example, here's a photo of the Rain Chandelier from RH, which retails for a whopping $32,995.

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Rain Round Chandelier from Restoration Hardware

And then, here's a very, very close match from a supplier on Alibaba for a fraction of the RH retail price.

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A very similar version of the Rain Chandelier at a fraction of the price.

But who knows if you'd actually get the product shown in one of the pictures?

So in essence, when you are buying furniture at Restoration Hardware, there is most definitely a fairly sizeable markup, but a lot of this goes to pay design, import and overhead costs. 

It's the same for any other brick and mortar furniture retailer.

In fact, RH, works closely with many artisans which design and may help procure materials for production of its products.

Who Makes Furniture For Restoration Hardware?

I dug into the investor filings for Restoration Hardware and found that they have a fairly concentrated relationship with overseas suppliers. The majority (75%) of their products come from 30 different vendors, with 72% of products sourced from Asia, including 35% of their products sourced from China. 

This information is typically proprietary information, so it's unlikely we would be able to determine what supplier or factory is making RH's furniture. However, in the case of many of the leather sofas I've reviewed the products are from China.

Note that based on some of my research, I did find some old posts discussing that Casco Bay used to make some of Restoration Hardware's leather sofas, but that also Mitchell Gold Bob Williams did (or still does). Just can't quite confirm any of this.

When I examined several of Casco Bay's sofas, they do have rather modern designs, similar to that of Restoration Hardware. In fact, they even have a 'Cloud Leather Sofa' collection, which is of course, identical to Restoration Hardware's Cloud Sofa collection.

Casco Bay Cloud Leather sofa

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Restoration Hardware Cloud Leather Sofa

The Casco Bay Cloud Leather sofa isn't identical to RH's, but I can see some similarities in design. Here is Casco Bay even discussing their Cloud Leather sofa versus Restoration Hardware's. According to Casco Bay the major differences are that they make their sofa in the US (not China) and that they use higher quality eight way hand-tied springs versus a drop in pocketed coil system.

What's The Quality Of Restoration Hardware's Leather Furniture?

As I've noted above, RH advertises that a lot of its furniture is designed by so called 'artisans,' and this ultimately provides the buyer with a vision of some piece of furniture being hand crafted in some tiny little shop somewhere.

However, the artisan is just the one that has a name on a product and is responsible for the design. The end product, however, is likely made in China. And for most of the leather furniture pieces, this is most certainly the case. 

Take this Cloud Slope Arm Leather sofa as an example.

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Cloud Slope Leather Sofa from Restoration Hardware

It retails for $8795, or $6596 if you're a member. 

Quick Note, an RH Membership is $150 a year, and saves you 25% on regular priced items, or 20% on sale items. If you are buying a couch like this one, you would NEED to get the membership.

So, RH advertises this one as designed by Artisan Timothy Moulton from England.

You might hear the words -artisan, England, Timothy Moulton and think this is a US or Italian made piece. However this sofa is made in China, just like the majority of Restoration Hardware's leather sofas. 

Nothing wrong with a piece of furniture that is built in China, the question is, should we be paying a massive premium for this piece?

I have confirmed that the majority of leathers used on RH's leather sofas is a top-grain, aniline dyed leather , so it's at least a positive that they are using a top grain leather. And this isn't a surprise, as pretty much any online leather sofa retailer is.

Based on my research, Restoration Hardware has several different 'collections' of leather sofas, which all come in various designs.

These include: Maxwell, Cloud, Maddox, Lugano, Costera, Como, Italia, Oak Brule, Kensington, Cambridge, Savoy, Sorensen, Lancaster, Rourke, Berne, Belgian, English Roll Arm, Barclay and Modena.

To be honest, I think Restoration Hardware leather sofas have the best design out of any of the major retailers. And they are also the most expensive, so you are 100% paying up for the design.

My Visit To A Restoration Hardware Outlet Store

I visited a local Restoration Hardware Outlet store in Wrentham, MA, but unfortunately, the inventory for leather furniture during my visit was somewhat limited. I plan to visit the Design Gallery in Boston to get a closer look at their full priced leather furniture in person. Stay tuned, and revisit soon to this post, and I'll post more info. 

So let's take a look at what the customers say.

What Do Customers Say About Restoration Hardware?

So, I already mentioned early on some of the problems in many of the Design Galleries relates to customer service issues, and well, some complaints about overall quality.

However, based on the consumer reviews I've identified, many are very happy with their purchases at Restoration Hardware. Here's one YouTube user talking about his Cloud leather sofa, noting his perception of high quality materials.

And then I went over to my other favorite source for true, unbiased reviews--Reddit.

I did find one commenter who claims they used to work at RH. Of course, we already know that RH doesn't manufacture anything, but if they are indeed selling couches and advertising frames as solid wood that are made out of MDF - which is "Medium Density Fiberboard" or an engineered wood, that would be a major concern.

RH doesn’t make anything. They don’t manufacture the way Mitchell Gold Bob Williams does. ( MGBW is excellent quantity btw) RH considers itself the curator of taste. They are resellers of product and their buyers are very good, but some items were POS. They would say things were solid wood but they were MDF. Technically, MDF is wood (pulp) but I think that’s not what most people consider wood.

Nearly all of their leather sofa frames are created with what they described as  with "kiln dried hardwood", so it most certainly would be some sort of misrepresentation if it weren't true. 

Another thought I had after examining some customer reviews of RH is that a lot of the used Restoration Hardware leather sofas I've seen look extremely saggy and old! 

Perfect example is this one here which I found on Craigslist. It's a used Restoration Hardware Maxwell Leather sofa. The sofa is only six years old. Six! (note they still want $1600 for this eyesore).

The frame looks like it is sagging and the leather is so loose, telling me that it is likely an inferior hide and probably crafter rather shoddily. This might be the best indication that the quality of RH is inferior to what many of us might think.

A used Restoration Hardware Maxwell leather sofa, which looks like it might have been inserted in a washer and dryer at some point.

What's The Warranty On Restoration Hardware's Leather Furniture?

RH gives you 30 days to return your product but after that, it's up to you to work with Restoration Hardware to make a complaint if something is wrong. 

Restoration Hardware DOES NOT offer any sort of warranty on any of their products, leather furniture included.

This was not a positive in regards to my overall opinion on the company. This was even relayed to me during conversations with customer service reps:

We do not offer returns or refunds for any issues that are damages inflicted on the item, we would recommend furniture repair services or advise on how to resolve the issue.

Ok, so if something goes wrong all bets are off basically. Got it. 

Will Restoration Hardware Ship Internationally?

RH will ship only to the U.S., Canada and APO, FPO and DPO addresses.

Note that RH will not ship many of the leather sofas to Canada.

They do not ship to U.S. Territories, including Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, international clients can have orders delivered to a freight forwarder of their choice located within the U.S. or Canada.

You can see more information on shipping policies here: https://rh.com/customer-service/shipping-and-delivery-info.jsp

Does Restoration Hardware Offer Discounts?

RH Offers a sale section on their website, of which RH Members also receive an additional 20% off.

I'd highly suggest visiting one of the RH Outlet stores to see what their leather inventory looks like and it would most likely be the most affordable way to purchase a sofa from Restoration Hardware.


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