West Elm VS Pottery Barn: What Are The Differences Between The Two?

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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 home furnishings and kitchenware. West Elm’s brand focuses on selling high-quality, trendy furniture at reasonable prices.

In terms of style, West Elm is quite different from 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, 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 price points without being completely unaffordable. 

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!

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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.

In recent years, the team at Pottery Barn made a big decision: to create smaller furniture pieces for small spaces in order to target the stylish, younger demographic.

With rising real estate costs, many young people have had to move into tiny apartments, which wouldn’t be a match for Pottery Barn’s large furniture.

By reducing the size of its products, Pottery Barn is now more apartment-friendly. Also, a lot of younger people don’t have enough disposable income to spend on fancy furniture, so reducing the size also results in lower prices and neutral pieces. 

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 main 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 in the lower part of the high-end market.

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 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. 

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 point seems a little fairer and the mid-century modern style 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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