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If you've tried buying furniture in the past 12 months, then you've likely heard the three most dreaded words that plague today's retailers: "supply chain issues." In fact, what began as an exciting (and overdue) dining room redecoration for my parents became a months-long morass of unanswered emails, delayed shipments, and changes in season with no new table in sight.
I'm not kidding. We ate Christmas dinner in the kitchen.
Lucky for TQE devotees, the world of DTC furniture has much more streamlined models than nationwide chains – and our current fave, Castlery, is a hassle-free dream. With quick shipping, 14-day returns, and a peerless eye for design, the brand is unique in its aim to deliver luxury furniture at mid-market prices. Itching for a home makeover before that late-summer barbecue you're throwing? Castlery is our pick for all your decor needs, indoor or out.
Disrupting The Market
Though by today's standards, the idea of buying furniture online isn't exactly revolutionary, Castlery has been ahead of the curve since its founders set up shop (so to speak) in 2013. Founded by Declan Ee, Fred Ji and Zhou Zhiwei, Castlery’s inspiration was none other than Ee's personal home furnishings. By buying interesting, unique pieces – the kind with character, with details rarely found on the mass market –while traveling, he'd been able to build a collection at a fraction of the price listed at local stores, shipping costs included.
This got the three founders thinking about the benefits of partnering directly with factories, and how to cut down on overhead costs by selling directly to consumers. It's this model that's allowed Castlery to remain so affordable, and to quickly expand beyond its home base in Singapore into countries all over the world – including, most recently, the U.S. of A.
(Just Some of) The Greatest Hits
Scrolling through the Castlery site, it's immediately clear that there's an embarrassment of riches. But with summer entertaining in mind, we thought we'd give a helpful little primer on the best pieces to help you and your guests unwind.
In three key categories – sofas, armchairs, and dining tables – we're singling out our favorite indoor and outdoor options. If you've got yard space, you can live it up and nab both! But no matter the layout you're working with, take our word for it: Castlery has just the flair you're looking for.
For the chic-est of couch potatoes
Named after the jewel of Italy's Amalfi coast, this plush yet geometric outdoor sofa ($1,869) has that same mix of refinement and laidback ease. Though the oat-colored cushions are positively pillow-like, Castlery rates them at a medium firmness, giving you the structure you need to sit with your wine glass intact. The traditional sectional shape pops with modern proportions and details, like the light wood accents on the armrests, and can be expanded by adding the Sorrento chair from the same collection. Either way, it's the sofa your guests will beeline for as soon as those patio doors swing open.
Keep that same breezy feeling flowing inside with this warm, textural cane sofa ($1,699) that feels straight out of the tropics without skewing kitschy. The fabric's opal beige poly-linen blend has a textural feel that makes for dreamy sitting, and that cane frame manages to be a total showstopper while still perfectly complementing the cushions. It's as owner-friendly as it is guest-friendly, with an open base that allows for easy cleaning access and removable fabric covers that can go right in the wash. Take it from the five-star reviews: this one's a crowd-pleaser.
For breaking bread
A meal shared outside with friends as twilight turns to dusk: as far as I'm concerned, that's a double shot of serotonin straight to the heart. But chic outdoor dining furniture is wildly hard to come by, since durability and style rarely go hand in hand – which is what makes Castlery's Rio Teak Dining Table ($2,399 with bench and 4 chairs included!) such a gem. While the table is available by itself, and with several other seating configurations, we're spotlighting this chair/bench hybrid as the best of all worlds. With teak wood that will hold up to the elements (and look fantastic in the process) and an umbrella hole that makes al fresco lunch as easy as dinner, this entire set was designed with convenience in mind.
Dining tables present the classic Goldilocks conundrum: how do you choose one that's not too big, not too small, but that fits your room (and your dinner parties) just right? Leave those worries behind with the Seb ($799), whose butterfly leaf mechanism allows you to extend its length from a 4- to a 6-seater. That flexibility means this table is as perfect for your everyday meals as it is the big throwdown celebrations – and switching between the two modes is a breeze. Made of solid acacia wood, the surface texture is gorgeously organic, with unique pieces of wood that still have their knots, nicks and color variances intact. This table looks well-worn and lived-in from Day 1, and will only be more so as you gather around it for years to come.
For lounging noon 'til night
You don't have to have a pool to deserve a great lounge chair – and the Riley ($639 for set of two) has a silhouette that looks at home in any yard. The curved rounded design feels like a hug in the best way, with a roped backrest and aluminum frame that are as sturdy as they come. The water-resistant upholstery is essential here, whether you're freshly toweled off or not, and provides a stylishly monochromatic palette that pops against any type of landscaping. The days of the plastic recliner are over: this more upright shape allows for way more versatile use, and lends itself perfectly to pre-dinner entertaining.
Last but certainly not least is a slice of Art Deco heaven: the Cammy Armchair ($599), gorgeous in all colorways but especially in the Dusty Rose that couldn't be more summer. The grapefruit-colored velvet feels like an instant trip to Miami, and the angled legs provide vacation-level comfort too. Reviews rave about the comfort it provides for all body shapes, with the included lower back cushion providing extra lumbar support and velvet upholstery for that irresistible hand-feel. This is a chair that makes a statement, with a pop of color that'll brighten up any room (or any party, for that matter.)
5 More Reasons to Love Castlery:
1. Sick of scrolling? Take a spin around Castlery's Virtual Studio instead, with its showroom floor showcasing all of the brand’s products and easy Shop Now buttons for anything that catches your eye.
2. Share the love with Castlery’s referral program, where you can give your friends $50 off and get $50 off yourself after their first purchase of $500 or more.
3. No "what I ordered vs. what I got" memes here: Castlery offers free swatches so you can be 100% sure you love each color and texture before you place your order.
3. Make every room harmonious with chic, cohesive furniture sets, with complementary pieces for the living room, dining room, bedroom and outdoor.
5. Even if you're all set on furniture, Castlery's got you covered with accessories like bedding, mirrors, and some of the best-priced area rugs around.