Room & Board Leather Sofa Review (Good Quality Or Not?)

room-board-review

I've had a lot of inquiries about Room & Board.  The company today is one of the largest private furniture companies in the US, with over 900 employees and over $200 Million in revenues. 

My conclusion on Room & Board? 

Room & Board offers high quality furniture at a mid-tier price point.  The company is transparent in the specific manufaturers used for each piece of furniture, a huge positive.  The company uses top of the line Full Grain italian leathers for its leather furniture. Reviews are very positive across the board, and they are known to have a very generous return policy. 

If you have any experience with Room & Board, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me personally at tom@bestleathercouches.com

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Summary:

Room & Board is one of the industry's longest running furniture companies. Started in 1980, it remains one of the largest private furniture businesses in the US. Known for high quality US based furniture products, Room & Board is a very good option for furniture shoppers with a slighly higher budget. 

Key  Features:

  • High quality, US based furniture
  • Leather sofas use Top Grain Italian leathers with a wide variety of colors
  • Very open and transparent about manufacturing partners
  • Fairly good reviews and a very generous return policy

overall 

4/5

Quality

Value

Warranty

Reviews

What's The Background Of Room & Board?

Room & Board is a modern furniture company offering stylish, high-quality home pieces. From its founding, Room & Board was intently focused on utilizing US based manufacturers. 

Today, American manufacturers make up more than 90% of Room & Board's furniture and decor.

Quite simply, American-made furniture makes good business sense. But it also allows us to support the livelihoods of people who share our passion for design and American craftsmanship.

Room & Board on its manufaturing process.

The company was founded in 1980 by John Gabbert, who was exposed to the furniture business from an early age. Gabbert's parents ran a furniture store (Gabbert's Furniture) in Minneapolis.

Gabbert decided that he wanted to develop a new furniture concept after being inspired by visits to IKEA stores. He branched off from the family business and launched his own concept - Room & Board - in 1980.

When he started, the focus was similar to IKEA: low-cost furniture with attractive designs. However, over time, Gabbert decided to improve the quality of the product while raising prices to keep up with costs.

Gabbert today is no longer leading the company but still has a big voice regarding significant decisions.

Is Room & Board Legit?

Room & Board has been operating for over 40 years, since its founding by John Gabbert in 1980

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company employs more than 900 employees and generates over $200 Million in revenues annually. 

Room & Board has 19 retail locations across the US, along with full e-commerce furniture operations.

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Even despite the size of Room and Board, I was surprised to find that there are minimal complaints about R&B on the BBB website, and there are only 8 reviews of Room & Board on Trust Pilot

While the lack of complaints is usually a good sign, I'll get into more details on customer reviews a bit later on. 

Does Room & Board Manufacture Its Own Furniture?

Room & Board does not have its own manufacturing operations, yet instead partners with more than 50 US based companies to create its furniture. 

The great thing about Room & Board is its transparency regarding the manufacturers that it works with. On their website, they provide a full map with a list of US based furniture manufacturers.

Room & Board claims that US based manufacturers make up more than 90% of the furniture and decor; a rare thing to find in today's furniture market. 

What's The Quality Of Room & Board Furniture?

As of last check Room & Board offers 15 different standard leather sofa styles, ranging in price from $3400 all the way up to $10,000.

Room & Board's price point is above the lower end, and in what I would consider the mid tier of pricing on leather sofas. 

And for good reason. As I mentioned above, Room & Board is leveraging US based partners to produce its furniture.

Room & Board's quality is a cut above some of the other online furniture retailers that are sourcing primarily from China, using lower cost leathers and inferior construction.

On every piece of furniture sold, Room & Board offers the manufacturer and the details of each piece. The majority are using solid hardwoords and high quality materials and construction. 

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Jasper Leather Sofa From Room & Board

The average price point at Room & Board on a standard size leather sofa is around $4000, above some of the more discount oriented online sofa manufacturers, like Article, Poly & Bark and Burrow.

On the above shown Jasper Leather sofa, the details from Room & Board show that a Full-Aniline, Full Top Grain Leather is used for the sofa. No fake plastic leathers used on sides anywhere, thus leather all over.


What Sort Of Leather Does Room & Board Use?

Room & Board uses only Top Grain or Full Top Grain leathers.  Their Italian leathers are treated using either a full aniline (minimal processing) or semi aniline (better stain protection) finish. 

Room and Board notes the following about their leather used on the Jasper sofa for one example:

"Full top-grain leather is made from the outermost layer of the hide, which is valued for its softness and strength"

"Think of full-aniline leather as fully natural. The hides are dyed all the way through but are minimally processed in order to preserve natural variations in color and texture"

Note that Room & Board uses different grades for their leather to help customers understand pricing.. For example, the Jasper uses a Grade 2 leather, below the more expensive leathers.

Be sure to see the Room & Board leather guide on their website, which does a good job outlining the different types of leathers they use.

Room & Board Sofa Reviews

Room & Board lists reviews of its products on their website, but if you've hung around here long enough, you might know that I don't think too favorably of reviews found on one's own website. And look hard enough at roomandboard.com and you'll find nary a bad review.

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The beautiful Mcalester chesterfield style leather sofa from Room & Board

Thus, i dug deep into the depths of the interwebs and well, spoke to a few folks that have had experience with Room & Board. Here are my findings.

First, let me start with this inquiry from one of our readers, which I find is a very common predicament among leather furniture shoppers today:

I'm in the market for a 80-90" leather sofa and came across your web site. I was wondering if you have ever done a write up on Room and Board. In looking at forum's online, it seems like they're better quality than West Elm, Pottery Barn and Article, but curious your thoughts. The top tier (e.g. Leathercraft, Stickley, Hancock) are way out of my price range since I'm looking for something in the $3,000-$4,000 range. I really like Room and Board's "Jasper" sofa and am leaning towards that. I like Pottery Barn's Turner sofa, but not reading great things about their quality. I like that R&B is made in America and that I can visit their store in NYC since I work there. I'ts hard for me to pull the trigger on an online retailer since I want to sit on it first before buying. Anyhow, was hoping you can shed some light on R&B and what you think of their leather sofas. 

The reason I bring up this inquiry is because it can often be hard to make a decision on a piece of furniture that's going to run you in the multiple thousands of dollars, sight unseen.

And the facts are, that a lot of the cheap online furniture retailers are all sourcing from many of the same China based manufacturers. Sure they might claim to have some sort of design influence, but the quality, the materials and the craftsmanship are MOSTLY the same. 

So, my short repsonse is YES, Room & Board is an excellent choice for all the reasons my reader acknowledged, US based manufacturing, plus the fact that you can actually try it out in the store (if you have one nearby). That's a huge bonus.

So, in terms of online reviews? 

People really seem to like their furniture.

I have a R&B sofa that I love but have only had it for a few months. In general, it feels very solidly built and is very well stuffed. We went with R&B over some of the other usual suspects (PB, Maidenhome etc) because we had a really good experience with our dining table from them which is now 5+ years old and in great shape.
Room and Board has amazing customer service. You can cancel orders up until delivery, and return orders after delivery. We ordered a coffee table from them and changed the order twice with no charge or hassle.
We have a chaise from R&B that we bought without having ever sat in it and it is still great after a decade. I recently bought a MG+BW couch, very expensive, and the quality is very, very poor.

The only major complaints seemed to pop up coming out of Covid, with some complaints about quality on several of the sofas. However, I suspect that maybe the factories were trying to meet demand and potentially pushing out some defective products. My assumpition is that since supply chains are mostly back to normal, this isn't a major concern.

There's a local Room & Board store near me in Boston. 

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I haven't been yet, but there are reviews of the store on YELP.  I tend to avoid the customer service complaints on YELP, but honestly there aren't many (aside from a few complaints about long delivery times). Here are a few snippets:

The staff is warm and welcoming...I have two Boconcept sofas, one in my bedroom and the three seater in the living-room. I also have several coffee and side tables. Though I am a huge fan of Bo I have never left feeling warm & fuzzy. That is the difference, O& the detail of R&B cannot be beat...they have taken care of every detail of every room.
Absolutely love their stuff. And customer service is excellent. You can get different variations of their furniture, it's customizable. Slightly steep in the price, but looks amazing!
What's not to love?  OK...it's expensive.  But very high quality stuff.  Usually something will catch my eye online, and then I'll visit the store to make sure the size and feel align with my expectations (or, yunno, pace around barefoot in every single show room to make sure I've selected the comfiest rug that cold toes could ever wish for).

Does Room & Board Offer Discounts?

Room & Board does offer a Clearance section on its website with regular markdowns.

Also, if you have a local store near you, Room & Board offers annual floor sample sales. I would recommend following their Facebook account to stay up to date on any potential sales. 

What Sort Of Warranty Does Room & Board Offer?

Room & Board is well known for having a very generous warranty policy. I've never been able to find a specific warranty policy on their website, but my experience with others that have had any issues is generally positive. This post here on Reddit also backs this up.

About the author Tom

When I started shopping for a leather couch two years ago, I was confused and overwhelmed by the information available to me. I decided to launch Best Leather Couches in order to create the best resource for shoppers looking for a new leather couch. I hope you enjoy the site. Feel free to drop me a line anytime at tom@best@leathercouches.com

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