West Elm Vs Pottery Barn: Which Furniture Brands Is Better?

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Looking to add new furniture or the latest decor to your home? Look no further. Check out the difference between West Elm Vs Pottery Barn before choosing which one to opt for!

If you’ve got a knack for interior design and creating a comfortable living space, you’re likely well-acquainted with both of these brands.

Both Pottery Barn and West Elm are owned by Williams-Sonoma Inc., which means shoppers can be confident that they are getting the latest and greatest trends when it comes to home decor and furniture.

While both of these brands appear very similar from the outside looking in, there are certainly some differences between the two. Before splurging on bedroom furniture, lighting, or a new coffee table at either store, be sure to read up on both brands and what sets them apart!

An overview of West Elm 

West Elm was born in 2002 by the parent-company Williams Sonoma, an American retailer that specializes in kitchenware and home furnishings. West Elm’s brand focuses on selling high-quality modern furniture at reasonable prices.

In terms of style, West Elm is quite different from its parent brand Williams-Sonoma, as it’s less traditional and edgier with a wide range of styles. The modern design of the furniture and decor sold at West Elm is incredibly popular with a younger demographic of working professionals.

When shopping at a West Elm store, expect to see clean lines, solid neutral colors, and high-quality fabrics that will stand the test of time. 

What sets West Elm apart from many other furniture retailers is its commitment to sustainability. On its online store, the brand states that 60 percent of its sales support at least one of its environmentally friendly initiatives.

West Elm tries to source materials and decor from local makers whenever possible, reducing the company’s carbon emissions as they don’t need to import items from International countries.

West Elm also features tons of handcrafted home decor styles and furniture, collaborating with artisans around the world and paying them fairly. 

The retailer is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, and is certainly one of the most popular home furniture stores in the United States and Canada. 

An overview of Pottery Barn 

Like West Elm, Pottery Barn is also part of Williams-Sonoma brands, making them sister brands. However, it was founded much earlier than West Elm. Pottery Barn first opened its doors in 1948 in California, selling high-quality indoor and outdoor furniture, kitchenware, and home decor.

This household name is best known for its wide range of high-quality furniture products that sell at relatively higher prices without being completely unaffordable. 

In addition to their main line, there are also a few more Pottery Barn brands under the name: Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen, i.e., Pottery Barn Teen, each targeting families with children of different ages, including college-aged kids.

Most of the items and fabrics sold at Pottery Barn are made at its factory in North Carolina, making it an American company through and through! At the factory, hundreds of artisans and builders hand-make the products that will eventually be sold online and at the storefront locations, making it an established retailer for home décor.

Pottery Barn furniture is considered high-end but the items are built for everyday use, making it a great option for young professionals or families. Pottery Barn’s style is slightly more rustic than that of West Elm, which can help give your home a very cozy feel.

The differences between West Elm Vs Pottery Barn

While we love both brands, we believe that one of the retailers ranks higher than the other.

1. Aesthetic

The greatest difference between West Elm and Pottery Barn is their styles and prices. Even though many people would consider West Elm to be fairly expensive, it prices its items at the bottom tier of the high-end market, much, much lower than the likes of Restoration Hardware.

The furniture styles carried at West Elm are also considered to be trendier and more modern with good quality. Because of this, the younger demographic tends to gravitate to West Elm first.

West Elm’s unique designs tend to err on the side of mid-century modern with different colors, a style that’s very popular with young families and professionals right now.

Pottery Barn has a wider range of styles featured on its website and at every location so if mid-century modern isn’t your vibe, you might have more luck at Pottery Barn. 

Compared to West Elm Pottery Barn carries more cozy and rustic pieces that can also be described as traditional, taking inspiration from French and English countrysides and the farmhouse aesthetic.

2. Prices

To demonstrate the pricing difference between the two brands, we looked up the prices of a basic, white statement chair for the living room area.

West Elm vs Pottery Barn white chairs
Get this chair on West Elm
West Elm vs Pottery Barn white farmhouse chairs
Get this chair on Pottery Barn

At West Elm, these types of chairs retail for around $799 to $950, whereas at Pottery Barn, they range in price from $1,900 to $3,300. 

3. Heritage

Another difference between the two brands is that West Elm is much younger and less established than Pottery Barn. Almost everyone on this planet has heard of Pottery Barn and the same can’t be said for West Elm.

However, it’s done an impressive job of becoming a hit with the younger demographic in the United States and Canada.

While Pottery Barn attempted to shift its demographic to younger folks by reducing the size and prices of its furniture, West Elm is still the winner in this department. 

Our Favorite Finds From West Elm Vs Pottery Barn

1. Swivel Chairs
White boucle swivel chair
Get this at Pottery Barn
Royal blue swivel chair
Get this at West Elm

We love the white Eveline Upholstered Swivel Armchair that looks as soft as a cloud! This contemporary design is super trendy, but what we love the most about it is that it’s a swivel chair that turns a full 360 degrees – so convenient.

If you’re looking for more color options or fabric finishes, West Elm has you covered. This stylish swivel chair can be made in almost 50 different colors and finishes, including boucle, velvet, tweed, linen and more. Plus, again, it turns a full 360 degrees.

2. Rugs
Get this at Pottery Barn
Black and white Carrerra Shag Rug
Get this at West Elm

The Chunky Wool/Jute Rug from Pottery Barn is an affordable option if you’re looking to add a bohemian feel to your home. Made entirely from natural materials, this cozy rug can be used by itself to add rustic charm to any room in your home, or used as a layering piece like in the image above.

If you’re looking to add a chic, elegant touch to your living room or bedroom, the best-selling Carrerra Shag Rug from West Elm is a fantastic option. The beautiful rug is handcrafted and made from 70% wool and 30% cotton.

3. Home Decor
Terracotta vases
Get these at Pottery Barn
Two-Tone Woven Seagrass Baskets
Get these at West Elm

Pottery Barn is a wonderful place to discover rustic vases, just like these Weathered Handcrafted Terracotta Vases. They would look beautiful on any display shelf or coffee table.

West Elm is a haven for many incredible modern home decor pieces, but one practical item that has caught our eye is the Two-Tone Woven Seagrass Basket, available in multiple different sizes. Made with handwoven seagrass, this chic design is sure to add rustic charm to your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What style is Pottery Barn?

Pottery Barn’s aesthetic can be described as traditional and old-school, taking inspiration from countryside aesthetics, including farmhouse, barnyard, and English and French countrysides.

The furniture and home decor have a cozy, soft aura to them, and while the brand is vintage-inspired, it also feels fresh and fits nicely into most contemporary homes.

What style is West Elm?

West Elm is known for its midcentury modern aesthetic that’s elevated and welcoming at the same time.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the quality of items from both of these furniture retailers, you don’t have to worry. Everything sold at Pottery Barn and West Elm is better quality than the items you’d pick up at Home Goods or Ikea.

Don’t get us wrong, we love a cheap deal but we think splurging on furniture pays off in the long run. There are few things worse than lounging on a stiff couch or working from home on a desk that makes noise every time you move. 

Overall, we prefer West Elm over Pottery Barn for a few reasons. The price range seems a little fairer, and the mid-century modern style that the brand is famous for is really in right now. This is not to say that trends should dictate how you decorate your home, but in general, we prefer a more modern aesthetic over others.

However, if you live in a massive house and don’t mind splurging on large furniture pieces like a dining room table, then Pottery Barn might be better suited for you. All in all, it depends on your home decor style preferences and budget. 

We promise that whatever you purchase from either retailer will get you lots of compliments when you host dinner parties or game night at your place, so overall, you can’t go wrong with either!

We hope that you enjoyed our analysis of West Elm vs Pottery Barn! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

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