Timeless Furniture Styles and Designs in the Twenty-Twenties

There are currently so many furniture styles and design options available on the market. It can be overwhelming to understand and differentiate among them, especially when it comes to selecting furnishing styles for designing your own space. In this article we’ll define and discuss the differences when it comes to furniture styles and designs. We’ll have a look at furniture style trends of the past and the movement of furniture design into the twenty-first century. Gaining a better understanding of the different styles of furnishings and noticing the characteristics that differentiate them, is sure to help you decide how to fill your furniture store, decorate your home or office space as well as the best ways to combine or use different styles to compliment one another.

Furniture Styles Jepara Indonesia

Timeless Furniture Designs 

In this chapter we will distinguish between antique and vintage eras of furniture design, characterising among classic, French country/provincial, art deco, retro, mid-century modern, and shabby chic and art deco furniture styles. The origins of these styles are of course varied and some even with overlapping periods in time where they were most common. One commonality that all these styles share is that they are still admired, used as well as recreated in contemporary society today. 

Antique Furniture

Antique meaning old, refers to items (in this case furniture) that predates 100 years. Antique is not as much an exact style as it is the umbrella term for all furniture styles that were popular in the early 20th century and before. Any piece of furniture that was produced before the 1920’s is considered an antique piece, for example, classical, predating the 18th century and French country furniture styles produced in the 18th century are considered antique. What make’s antique furniture so attractive? “Antique furniture is valued for its historical or aesthetic significance.” Antique furniture pieces can easily be dated to the exact area and time they were created, based on the wooden carving designs. The  intricate engravings were inspired by different motifs, dependent on the time of production.

Antique Furniture StyleMany furniture items available on the market today, although not manufactured more than 100 years ago, are original reproductions of antique furniture pieces, to give your home or work space the perfect antique and modern fusion style. The best part is that recreations of antique furnishings appear very similar to the original pieces (the same wood designs, line work and carvings), the only difference being the price is that much more affordable. As antique furniture items are limited in supply, it’s no wonder they are very pricey to buy original pieces. 

Below we will describe and characterize three furniture styles that originated over 100 years ago (in the antique time period) and are still widely popular and used in households and businesses today. 

Classic Furniture (predating 18th century)

As the name suggests, one of the original furniture design styles is classical, characterised by curved lines and solid wooden formations. classicism can be defined as a style that draws on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome, especially fifth- and fourth-century b.c.e. Athens and late Republican Augustan Rome. The term can be confusing, because it has taken on many other meanings. It can refer to a general aesthetic characterized by clarity, elegance, and symmetry, or to a style that is generally thought of as exemplifying greatness or perfection.

Read here how the French Classic furniture style came about during the Renaissance, and was affected by its Kings

Classic furnishings are typically crafted from exquisite wood and refined textiles, inspired by symmetry and balance while still portraying inventive beauty. Typical to the classic style is its ability to enhance the aesthetics of a room, as a single piece, as well as blend nicely with other furniture styles. All furnishings manufactured in the classical style period give a feeling of simplicity and utility as well as a symbol of class and elegance (a representation of wealth and social standing of the home owners- particularly in the 17th century). A distinguishing characteristic of these timeless furniture pieces is the attention to detail of extremities, intricate detailed paneling on chair arms and table legs as well as delicate finishings and smooth rounded edging.

  • Elements incorporating symmetry, harmony and balance
  • Detailed line work, finishings and edges (refined columns)
  • Light and neutral color schemes
  • Marble used in designs enhancing natural lighting  

Classic Furniture Jepara Indonesia

French provincial/country furniture (18th century)

French provincial style or more commonly referred to as French country style is distinguishable in it’s design due to the earthy hues and continuous curving lines demonstrating functionality as well as sophistication and elegance. French country style originated in the 18th century around the time in France, where a middle wealth class was prevalent. French country furniture developed as furnishing corporations noticed the trend of middle class citizens aspiring towards the luxury furnishing of the parisian monarchy. In line with this trend they started producing more affordable recreations of elaborate furniture pieces. The name ‘French provincial/country’ was established as most of the upper middle class resided in provincial areas or in the French countryside. 



French country furniture although inspired by Parisian furnishings is less elaborate and more rustic in it’s design. Typically crafted from different shades of wood (specific to the region the craftsmen sourced their materials from). French Country furniture pieces are sturdy and strong, designed to withstand long term use. Inspired by the countryside, intricate flower and ornate motifs are often engraved on headboards, as well as the arm and leg pieces of furniture. Other aspects of nature, such as insects, vines and leaves are often seen in the upholstery of furnishings. Characterised by smooth flowing lines and elegant silhouettes, French country design creates a welcoming and sophisticated space.

Read here more about design elements to consider when decorating your work or living space in a French country style.

  • Earthy tones and rustic appeal creating an inviting environment 
  • Elaborate and intricate wooden detail (motifs inspired by the countryside)
  • Elegance meets functionality, designed to withstand wear
  • Natural woods and other materials (cotton and linen)



Art deco furniture (1920-1939)

The period of art deco style furniture began in the early 20th century, inspired by the art nouveau and a movement towards modern design. Furniture pieces crafted from dark and often exotic woods variations, while also incorporating ornate contrasting details (metal, aluminium, chrome, mirror, ivory and marble). The development of art deco styled furnishing was around the same as that of machinery, hence the desire for a ‘futuristic-machine’ aesthetic.  Even when these embellishments were not present, wood was polished to appear glossy and sleek, giving space a luxurious and sophisticated atmosphere. Materials used in sofas, cushions and chairs often carried the same smooth textures, for example silk, leather and velvet textiles. The development of art deco was distinguished by stylish and modern designs, focusing attention towards the simplistic, sleek and organic forms of furniture. Art deco is the perfect choice for someone wanting to incorporate both a vintage look and modern furnishings in their home. It does not come as a surprise that the Art Deco style is making its way back into the twenty-twenties, albeit with a more sustainable touch.

  • Focus on elegance and stylish modernised appeal
  • Elaborate shiny materials (saturated hues) and mirrored surfaces
  • Bold and eye catchy furnishings, solid structures
  • Sleek geometric and angle shapes featured 



Vintage Furniture 

The term vintage has come a long way from solely being used to date the year in which grapes were harvested for wine production (Old French: Vendage). It is now an umbrella term for describing objects, types of furniture, apparel, cars and is even used in the music industry to classify music. When most hear the term vintage, they know it’s referring to something originating in the past, but it’s often hard to know exactly what can be defined as a ‘vintage’ item and if the term is being misused. An item described as ‘vintage’ should speak of the era in which it was produced and should not be used in reference to objects less than 20 years old. 

Today, many sellers of ‘vintage’ products are sometimes unaware of the borders of the style era and what constitutes an authentic vintage item. What is vintage furniture? When identifying whether a piece of furniture is considered vintage or antique officially requires knowing the year the furniture was manufactured. Vintage furniture postdates that of antique style. The term ‘vintage’ (refers to a time period in which an item is produced). Furniture pieces produced in the vintage era are those produced 30 to 100 years ago. Of course this is a time span of 70 years, there are some similarities among styles from the 1920’s and the 1980’s, however, as with anything in consumerism, demands change and organizations adjust, expanding or altering options to meet the needs of society. 

Furniture and home decor corporations today offer a variety of unique vintage furniture recreations, that emphasize the special characteristics of different timeless styles of the past. Let’s have a look at some iconic furniture styles from the 20th century, in order to develop a better understanding of their design attributes.. These styles are still very prevalent in society today  Retro, mid-century modern and shabby chic are all classified as vintage furnishing styles and each have their own unique aspects of aesthetic appeal . 

Retro Furniture (1950-1980)

Retro furniture is the term used to classify furniture produced from the 1950’s until the 1980’s. The style category of ‘Retro’ furniture is considered to be vintage in design. Retro, not exclusively in relation to furniture, refers to styles, designs and trends that were popular in the past and have since come back into fashion. Retro furniture is by some critics referred to as the ‘opposite of classic furniture styles’. What differentiates retro from classic and other furniture styles? 

Retro furniture initiated a movement towards appreciation of modern architecture and contemporary design. It is typically defined by more modern designs that imitate past fashion trends, that were deemed to be unfashionable after their time in the limelight. Structures became more simple in their design, more colors and variety of materials were used in production. Where previous furniture design styles were bordered in what was ‘allowed’, retro was more expressive and incorporated subjective forms of art. What can be considered retro furniture style is less restrictive than many of the predated styles.  What inspired the rise of retro styled furniture? In the 1970’s retro furniture was inspired by nature, natural resources and textured fibres were used to create home furnishings and décor. Color palettes typically included earthy and rustic hues as well as bright and eye catching tones in a variety of geometric and floral designs. Retro furnishings are also often seen as commentary on popular culture and follow stylish trends of the past.

  • Following popular culture and societal trends
  • Whimsical meets modernized design, sometimes ‘kitschy’ 
  • Pieces generally incorporate rich, bright and earthy hues
  • Incorporating floral and geometric patterns

Mid-century modern furniture (1930-1960)

As the name suggests, mid-century modern furniture design began in the 1930’s and continued until 1960’s. Since then it has continued to be a popular choice of design due to its stylish,  modern and simplistic design merged with effective functionality. Famous art historian, Cara Greenberg composed the name for the design movement ‘Mid-century modern’ in 1984 to collectively group the style of furniture production in this era. What distinguishes mid-century modern from other furniture styles? Furniture in the mid-century is characterised by medium wood tones, straight lines, geometric shapes and splayed sofa and table legs. The color combinations of furniture pieces were simplistic and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, often no more than two shades. Mid-century modern furniture is simple, chic and stylish, a collection of clean cut functionally designed pieces to create open contemporary space for living, entertaining and working.

What colors are used in mid-century modern furnishing style? It is a common trend to compliment the neutral coloring of mid-century modern furniture with bright color palettes, geometric shapes and patterns, for example wall paintings, sofa cushions, indoor plants or designer rugs. Mid century modern furnishings are a great way to balance decorating a small area. The simplistic design creates a classy environment while still maintaining enough open space to effectively use the room.

  • Simplistic linear and geometric design
  • Stylish and sleek wooden compositions drawing attention to wood connections
  • Focus on functionality (splayed furnishing legs) 
  • Wooden furnishing complimented by a rich variety of colored decor 

Living room setting with Trendy French Furniture

Read here about mid-century modern designers and key points to consider when creating stylish and versatile mid-century modern appeal.



Shabby-chic furniture (1990’s)

What exactly is shabby-chic? In the 1990’s there was a strong desire for furnishing your own home in a way to show luxury and elegance. The term ‘shabby’ refers to something rugged and impaired, an old item of use that’s needing replacement. A furniture style designed to give the viewer and user a feeling of worn-out and well-used furnishings, while still aesthetically attractive, stylish, clean and trendy (‘chic’). Shabby chic furniture is characterized by smooth, gentle and flowing lines, contrasted with sandpapered textures to give furniture the worn/used aesthetic. 

Why is it appealing to have used looking furniture? Well-used furniture creates a sense of comfort and familiarity, giving space natural and relaxed appeal, rather than stiff and rigid ‘modernized’ furniture. When compared to a modern interior or lifestyle theme that is bold and looks shiny,  Shabby Chic lovers can save a lot by recycling or reprocessing existing furniture. Despite reusing materials with a used-vintage appeal, the soft and light pastel tones associated with shabby chic, enhance the clean and comforting environment. Furniture, accessories and lighting decor, are often wood painted or repainted in white or cream and textured in a well-worn vintage style. Light shades are prioritized in shabby chic design, however pale colored patterns, curtains, rugs and cushions are often used to bring additional contrast and textured style into a room. Pretty paintings and floral or patterned wallpapers are typical to shabby chic style, perfect for decorating cosy living or entertainment areas. 

  • Elegant furnishings designed to embrace a rustic and well-used feel
  • Clean, smooth silhouettes and delicate materials (linen, cotton) 
  • Valuing the appeal of a comfortable and familiar environment
  • Soft pastel coloring and neutral (white) paint work creating vintage aesthetics
  • Pretty ashen floral decorated wallpapers or art pieces

Kids & Baby furniture shabby chic

Why is there still such desire for older antique, vintage and retro styles today? It’s no question that in the past, products and particularly furnishings were produced to withstand time and last longer than fast-paced consumerism today. As consumers we have the power to choose from styles and designs of the past and combine them with modern art and décor to achieve antique or vintage chic appeal in our homes and work space.

The Movement of Furniture Design in the Twenty-first Century

The future is somewhat unpredictable, however, based on the past centuries we can learn about how styles and periods of furniture design have changed and cycled with the times as well as consumer demands. This allows us to recognize current trends and anticipate the styles of furnishings we will see moving through the next decade and the twenty-first century.

With regard to furniture styles how will the 20’s compare to the 1920s? What kind of developments can we expect in the coming decade? In this section we will discuss how things are expected to play out in the furniture design world, with particular interest in future styles and how east meets west in furniture design. 

Ethnic Furniture Style 

A recent growing trend is that of ethnic style furniture designs, inspired by nature and unique tribal cultures in different parts of the world. Today’s Ethnic style is understood as integration of exotic country-typical characteristics, motifs, patterns and materials in one’s own interior. Ethnic style is characterised by incorporating and utilizing materials based on tribal patterns and floral motifs or materials sourced in different places. Ethnic style reminds of a particular country and the natural environment. When furnishing an area with ethic design one generally draws inspiration from one ethnic origin, for example, inspired furnishing from Africa would include natural materials from Africa as well as African tribal prints or wild animal printed patterns. Originally ethnic styles were those coming from southern and central parts of America as well as African countries. Today there is a much broader range of countries to draw ethnic inspiration from and a general movement towards combining ethnic design with modern furniture pieces, referred to by experts as ethno-chic style. For example there is an emerging trend for purchasing rattan infused furniture designed and sourced from Indonesia.

Indonesian Ethnic Furniture

What is Indonesian ethnic style? The Indonesian or Balinese ethic style is in high demand in western society. Natural materials sourced in Indonesia include teak wood, mahogany and a growing demand of the typical rattan wood. Along with its aesthetic appeal, rattan furniture design is flexible and sturdy in nature, making furniture constructed from rattan increasingly attractive due to the comfortability, functionality and durability of the products. 

Read this guide how to buy furniture from Indonesia

  • Ethnic motifs, tribal patterns and designs inspired from specific regions
  • Earthy, natural tones (black, white, dark reds, brown shades, green, cream)
  • Incorporating natural materials from around the world in furnishings
  • Textured upholstery imitated from different animal prints

Ethnic Ethno-Chic Furniture Design Style

Contemporary Style (East Meets West)

The idea of ‘east meets west’ furniture style is a combination of traditional tribal patterns merged with modern and contemporary furniture design. Travellers inspired by eastern cultures and philosophy influence design trends in the western world. Ethnic decoration has been integrated with other past styles to create innovative fusions. A wide category of style, it’s contemporary design, meaning it’s routed in current trends and styles around the world. In the twenty-first century there is an increasing desire to personalise one’s style by combining elements from the east fused with westernised modern furniture design. Using ethnic traditional materials as well as new resources (such as recycled plastic) to create multicultural designs that create an atmosphere of comfortability and style. What makes this style so fresh and exciting is the application of these traditional colors and motifs onto modern-day western objects and shapes. Many handy local artisans, particularly in Asia, are drawing designs from traditional styles of furniture and combining them with natural locally sourced materials, woven macrame detailings. Chinese eastern style design is long admired and used.

  • Valuing traditional asian culture and philosophy
  • Innovative mix of westernised design and eastern motifs, florals and textures
  • Aesthetically appealing intricate floral carvings and tribal patterns in furniture design
  • A combination of ethnic traditional (shades of wood) and new materials (plastic)
  • Hand crafted sculptured wooden or porcelain objects inspired by timeless asian cultures.  

Other upcoming styles

Ethical and Sustainable

Moving through the twenty-first century we can expect to see an increase in demand for ethically sourced and sustainable products. Looking towards the future of furniture, more individuals are learning and becoming more concerned about the future of our environment and their role in preserving it. With technological advancements today it’s becoming more feasible for businesses to engage in sustainable production, for example, reducing general and toxic waste, reusing recycled materials- particularly those non-biodegradables like plastics and metal materials. Effectively using these materials in stylish recreations of furniture designs from past decades .

Earthy prints and textures 

In line with ethnic style furnishing there is an increasing prevalence of earthy coloured patterns and textures, inspired by nature and animal skin prints. Earth colored tones (black, brown) are great for working with when styling any space as they work well together with most other colors. Earth tones and ethnic inspired rugs are more attractive in living spaces and are even being used as wall hangings as decorative art. Tortoise shell printed patterns and metallic shiny materials are used in furniture details and decor pieces. Elements of nature are being incorporated into furniture and interior design, as they were in French country style in the 18th century, however, allowing for a modern and realistic take on nature (giant leaf printed fabrics). 

Contemporary Modern and Simplistic

Simpler is better! In the past many home and office designs seemed clustered and over crowded with too many pieces of furniture not being used efficiently. Along with the contemporary trend of furnishing in the next decade, simplicity is valued. Contemporary furniture and space design is characterised by geometric angles, open space and area for movement. The idea that piece of furniture should have functionality and be used accordingly, will be carried forward with furniture design in the twenty-first century. Along with that accessories and art decor also move towards a focus rather than too much detail, for example no longer walls will be cluttered with hanging paintings or pictures, a statement piece is more than enough to create the desired aesthetic appeal.

Read here about more glamorous furniture style trends of the past returning in the 20’s.





We hope that this article has expanded your knowledge and understanding of timeless furniture styles established in the antique and vintage era, that are still trendy in the twenty-first century. Design styles available in the furniture industry today are not limited to these, however, we found these to be some of the most widely used furniture styles still admired. These furnishing styles continue to inspire furniture design in the twenty-first century. 

We are a furniture manufacturer from Jepara, Indonesia, and we create quality handicraft furniture with affordable pricing. At Pijar Sukma, we have created a wide range of furniture collections that cover most of the furniture styles mentioned in this article. Classically schooled with the famous French designs, Pijar continues to emulate Classic designs while staying on top of emerging trends.

Our manufacturing includes production with sustainable materials, like recycled plastic. By maintaining certificates with audits we focus on having sustainable products that are also accepted world-wide.

We combine modern with traditional Indonesian and Balinese ethnic style identity in furniture design. There are so many unique and elegant ways to decorate your living, entertaining or working space, whether focusing on one particular style to incorporate or combining your favourite aspects of a few different furniture styles.

Contact us directly to access our furniture collections and receive a free quotation.

References

https://www.mymove.com/home-inspiration/decoration-design-ideas/french-country-design/
https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/age-defining-an-130615
http://hqdesigns.de/en/interior-guide/vintage-furniture-style/
https://chicantique.dk/eur_eng/about_chic/
https://www.elledecor.com/it/best-of/a29401643/ethnic-style-design-trend-2019/
http://hqdesigns.de/en/interior-guide/ethnic-furniture-style/
https://blog.realtyhive.com/20-trends-from-the-1920s-to-watch-in-2020/
https://www.homemakers.com/styles
https://medium.com/@bastores/furniture-styles-the-most-popular-types-5bde68cf10e2
https://blog.luxury-italianfurniture.com/difference-classic-traditional-style
https://blog.luxury-italianfurniture.com/5-reasons-to-love-a-classic-interior-design-style
https://www.britannica.com/art/Art-Deco
http://artdecostyle.ca/art-deco-style-blog/art-deco-furniture
https://www.decoist.com/shabby-chic-style/
https://www.sustainablejungle.com/sustainable-living/ethical-sustainable-furniture/
https://www.casaone.com/blog/guide-to-furniture-styles-of-the-century/

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Antique Furniture? 🕰️

Antique meaning old, refers to items (in this case furniture) that predates 100 years. Antique is not as much an exact style as it is the umbrella term for all furniture styles that were popular in the early 20th century and before. Any piece of furniture that was produced before the 1920’s is considered an antique piece, for example, classical, predating the 18th century and French country furniture styles produced in the 18th century are considered antique.

What is Classic Furniture? 🏛️

As the name suggests, one of the original furniture design styles is classical, characterised by curved lines and solid wooden formations. classicism can be defined as a style that draws on the styles of ancient Greece and Rome,

What is French Provincial Furniture? 🇫🇷

French provincial style or more commonly referred to as French country style is distinguishable in it’s design due to the earthy hues and continuous curving lines demonstrating functionality as well as sophistication and elegance. French country style originated in the 18th century around the time in France, where a middle wealth class was prevalent.

What is Art Deco Furniture? 🎨

The period of art deco style furniture began in the early 20th century, inspired by the art nouveau and a movement towards modern design. Furniture pieces crafted from dark and often exotic woods variations, while also incorporating ornate contrasting details (metal, aluminium, chrome, mirror, ivory and marble). The development of art deco styled furnishing was around the same as that of machinery, hence the desire for a ‘futuristic-machine’ aesthetic.

What is Vintage Furniture? 🍷

The term vintage has come a long way from solely being used to date the year in which grapes were harvested for wine production (Old French: Vendage). It is now an umbrella term for describing objects, types of furniture, apparel, cars and is even used in the music industry to classify music. When most hear the term vintage, they know it’s referring to something originating in the past, but it’s often hard to know exactly what can be defined as a ‘vintage’ item and if the term is being misused.

What is Retro Furniture? ⏰

Retro furniture is the term used to classify furniture produced from the 1950’s until the 1980’s. The style category of ‘Retro’ furniture is considered to be vintage in design. Retro, not exclusively in relation to furniture, refers to styles, designs and trends that were popular in the past and have since come back into fashion. Retro furniture is by some critics referred to as the ‘opposite of classic furniture styles’. What differentiates retro from classic and other furniture styles?

What is Mid-Century Modern Furniture? ☎️

As the name suggests, mid-century modern furniture design began in the 1930’s and continued until 1960’s. Since then it has continued to be a popular choice of design due to its stylish,  modern and simplistic design merged with effective functionality. Famous art historian, Cara Greenberg composed the name for the design movement ‘Mid-century modern’ in 1984 to collectively group the style of furniture production in this era. What distinguishes mid-century modern from other furniture styles?

What is Shabby-Chic Furniture ❔

In the 1990’s there was a strong desire for furnishing your own home in a way to show luxury and elegance. The term ‘shabby’ refers to something rugged and impaired, an old item of use that’s needing replacement. A furniture style designed to give the viewer and user a feeling of worn-out and well-used furnishings, while still aesthetically attractive, stylish, clean and trendy (‘chic’). Shabby chic furniture is characterized by smooth, gentle and flowing lines, contrasted with sandpapered textures to give furniture the worn/used aesthetic. 

What is the Ethnic Furniture Style? 🗿

A recent growing trend is that of ethnic style furniture designs, inspired by nature and unique tribal cultures in different parts of the world. Today’s Ethnic style is understood as integration of exotic country-typical characteristics, motifs, patterns and materials in one’s own interior. Ethnic style is characterised by incorporating and utilizing materials based on tribal patterns and floral motifs or materials sourced in different places. Ethnic style reminds of a particular country and the natural environment.

4 Greatest Asian Exporting Countries for (Wooden) Furniture Manufacture

Asia, especially the eastern part, has grown to be a popular source for furniture export. There has been a drive eastwards to find relative low costs of capital-intensive furniture manufacture, especially in China. On the other hand, prices of handicraft are quite low in countries like Indonesia. Rising prices of handmade furniture products in the West due to higher labor costs have given wholesalers enough incentive to import this type of furniture from places offering high skilled labor for low labor costs. Today, many Asian countries possess a competitive advantage in terms of production costs, which transpires in increased export ratios. In 2018, half of the world’s furniture exports came from Asia. 

The figure below shows Asia in red with the biggest share in export. Not only China, but also Vietnamese, Indonesian and Malaysian furniture manufacturers play a big role.

{see an interactive image of the world’s furniture share here}

Choosing the right country to find or outsource furniture can be a tough process. This guide will cover some of the best Asian countries in terms of furniture manufacturing. There will be a general overview of each country, ranked by their total furniture export. In the guide we will cover the relevant comparative topics shown below.

Wooden Furniture Export Manufacture

Wooden Furniture manufacturer Vietnam Asia

Although only over 28% of export (oecd.world, 2018) of furniture related products consist of wooden furniture, we will mainly focus on this type of furniture. Markedly, the biggest furniture exporters in Asia appear to have a revealed comparative advantage when it comes to wooden furniture. Hence, furniture importers, that are choosing between Asian furniture export countries, are likely interested in wooden furniture. However, if the covered countries specialize in any other type of furniture, this will be mentioned in the guide as well. On a side note, country data mentioned in this guide generally comes from 2018 records, unless stated otherwise.

For the sake of clarity, the nomenclature of the harmonized system codes regarding furniture is stated below. For a more specific level click the links.

China Furniture Manufacture

In 2018, around 38% of the world furniture trade (HS94) was sourced from China. Barely importing furniture to meet its own furniture demand, China provides furniture to its own population of over 1.4 billion beside being the largest furniture exporter worldwide. 

For almost any product type, China dominates the market in terms of export. Notably, China makes up for over 40% of world’s metal furniture exports. By and large, this is facilitated by the immense number of capital-intensive furniture factories with standardized machinery in this country. More specifically, China accounts for over 60% of world export for seats with metal framing. Actually, China seems to be highly popular for seats in general, producing nearly half of upholstered wooden seats and more than 60% of upholstered metal seats. In general, virtually any type of furniture you’re looking for you can find in China. 

While China’s export numbers are impressive as totals and ranges, they do recently seem to stagnate and decline as a growth percentage regarding many importing countries. Recent tradewars might be one of the root causes of this matter, as the export percentage to the United States declines the most. Furthermore, companies inclined to diversify their import portfolios to more countries might be another factor.

Furniture Export Destinations of China as a Growth Rate Percentage, 2019
Furniture Export Destinations of China as a Growth Rate Percentage, 2019

Labour skills & capital intensity

It goes without saying that China, as a new world power, has grown an incredibly large and versatile labour force. Over the last decades China’s GDP has been rising rapidly and has already passed the USA, if GDP is adjusted on a purchasing power parity basis.

Estimated Share of Global GDP of USA China GBR and Russia based on PPP
Estimated Share of Global GDP based on PPP

Exactly the competitive advantages that China offered to US-based and other international companies as an outsource haven, have led to this immense growth. Now that China has become a world power, costs for the same labour skills output from a decade ago have risen accordingly. As a result, China had to invest in more capital-intensive industries to maintain a competitive advantage. 

As for furniture in general, China has a revealed comparative advantage of 2.79, as calculated from its trade flows. We can conclude from the last section, that this advantage is maintained by slowly moving away from manual skilled labour to more machine-made furniture. So if you’re looking for machine-made furniture with high quality standards, China is certainly the go-to country. 

Wood types and wood access

A negative side-effect of China’s rapid growth has been deforestation. Even though there are reforestation programs for several wood types, China currently imports around half of the world’s timber export. Since China seeks mostly raw logs in its relentless pursuit of timber, exporting countries do not necessarily reap the benefits. 

Business communication & Quality standards

If possible, try to get as close to the production source as possible. There might be reasons why this is not possible. For instance, there might be a communication issue and you might need a translator. Often, sourcing agents act as translators between suppliers and buyers. You might need them in order to communicate effectively.

Other times, suppliers hide the real supply chain of their sources and components, which means it is hard for you to control it. 

Many international buyers cannot fully grasp the size of China and its possibly complex supply chains. While any type of furniture can be found, there are many problems you can face in this country. The picture below displays how supplier problems in China often play out.

Frequent Problems with China Furniture Manufacturers

Certainly, quality standards in China can be top class, but you need to weed out the bad suppliers that cause headaches. One solution can be found in the ‘exhibition and key furniture locations’ section below.

Exhibitions & key furniture locations

China offers two major furniture exhibitions or furniture fairs. The China International Furniture Fair (CIFF) occurs twice a year in March, the Shanghai exhibition, and September in Canton (Guangzhou). The sheer size of this fair and its global interest do not only attract furniture makers from China, but also manufacturers from other countries seeking to expand their businesses. The fair can be seen as Asia’s furniture sourcing center.

The other major exhibition is the China Import and Export Fair. Held twice a year in Guangzhou, this fair is more popular amongst the bigger chain stores, with suppliers chasing cost leadership and economies of scale. In general, they offer a small range of mediocre products for minimal prices and high minimum order quantities.

Shunde, a district in Foshan city, is famous as the furniture wholesale city of China. Containing thousands of furniture manufacturers and furniture malls, this city can be visited all year round.

Currency

Vietnam Furniture Manufacture

Vietnam is Asia’s second biggest furniture exporter, providing the 6th biggest share of furniture export manufacture in the world. There are around 1500 export manufacturers in Vietnam, which traditionally focuses on outdoor furniture. However, this has changed in recent years for the new kid around the block. With a rapidly developing economy, Vietnamese furniture factories as well as the increasing number of FDI, have allocated significant resources to capital for heavy machinery. In 2018, Vietnam showed an incredible growth of 12% regarding HS94 furniture export, and as a result accounts for 3.72% of the world furniture trade.

Wood types and access

The recent growth of furniture production has caused a shortage of timber. Due to a domestic logging ban and neighbouring countries’ reluctance to export raw products, the country is pressured to import expensive timber from overseas. China on the other hand, provides Vietnam most of its processed timber, like veneer.

Where does Vietnam import Rough Wood from for furniture manufacturer Vietnam
Where does Vietnam import Rough Wood from? (2018)

As supply and demand gaps are often filled illegally, this wood access issue is not only challenging Vietnam’s competitiveness and productivity, but also its ability to source legal wood. 

Business communication & Quality standards

Just as for any country, it is difficult to make valid statements that persist in every furniture company in Vietnam concerning business communication. Possible communication failures do make some people apprehensive about approaching Vietnamese furniture manufacturers. If this is the case for you, doing business with an FDI company usually makes the job a lot easier. Polished experience and internationally infused competence ensure products that adhere to high quality standards. Nonetheless, in any case, make sure to ask for the company’s certificates, to find out whether their furniture complies with safety standards etc. Here is a list of renowned furniture manufacturers and factories in Vietnam.

In general, the Vietnamese do not like flattering, but prefer genuine and straightforward approaches. This applies as well for business communication. Here is more information about how to conduct business in Vietnam successfully. 

Exhibitions & key furniture locations

There are several furniture trade shows in Vietnam. The yearly Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Expo (VIFA Exp) and Vietnam Wood are the most prominent. If you’re interested you can find more information about Vietnamese trade shows here.

Currency

Indonesia Furniture Manufacture 

Indonesia has been present on the top of the international furniture stage for over 20 years. The range of its product types varies widely. However, the vast majority of products are made from wood, although Indonesia produces relatively less wooden kitchen furniture and wooden office furniture. The intensity and way of manufacturing differs per island and region.

Labour skills & capital intensity

For instance in Jakarta, where minimum wages are higher than in other parts of Indonesia, you can find more machine-intensive furniture manufacturers. You can find the most competitive pricing in areas where the furniture industry is the major industry. Firstly, because these furniture centers conglomerate high-skilled labourers. Secondly, the Indonesian government assists local dominant industries with favorable tax and income climates. 

Indonesia is the go-to-place for unique furniture. Although most manufacturers do follow the trends set in the yearly Milan furniture fair, oftentimes furniture from Indonesia differentiates itself. Especially hand-made furniture manufacturers tend to assimilate new and old designs into unique furniture, shaped by local materials and craftsmanship. 

Wood types and access

It does not come as a surprise that Indonesia is the biggest exporter of seats of materials like cane, osier and bamboo. Interwoven into cultural traditions and religious practices, Indonesians know how to utilize these types of materials. 

Wood is easy to find as Indonesia is home to an incredible amount of forests. However, illegal deforestation is a large issue. For this reason, as furniture importer from Indonesia, it is both ethically and regulatorily right to research the sourced wood. Several certificates like SVLK  help unravel the wooden supply chains. So make sure to check the certificates required by your import country with your supplier. 

In spite of its enormous domestic supply, Indonesia is not completely self-sufficient in terms of timber. The rough wood it does import, comes for 85% from Malaysia, which has significant room for timber plantations due to past deforestation.

Business communication & Quality standards

English proficiency is slightly lower in Indonesia than in China and Vietnam. This is partly due to the fact that Bahasa Indonesia is most Indonesian’s second language. With some exceptions in the Jakarta region, the peoples of Indonesia speak first and foremost their island language. So usually, English ends up to be their third language to learn.

If you choose to start working with a non-english speaking supplier, it is recommendable to use a local furniture agent that specializes in helping you communicate and control the quality of your order.

Furniture manufacturer Malaysia

The low number of English speakers also has an upside. When contacting a manufacturer, oftentimes you speak to higher educated people that are well positioned in a managing role or directly in contact with the management.

As for quality, there can be different standards for the domestic and Asian market. So make sure to find an international supplier that is transparent, communicates easily and is used to your standards.

Read here why and how to change a furniture supplier. It might provide you with the right tools before approaching a new furniture supplier. And here’s an Indonesia-specific guide on how to buy furniture. There you can find more information on quality standards and where to find furniture.

Exhibitions & Key Furniture Locations

The yearly held IFEX is the flagship event for Indonesia’s furniture industry. This exhibition in Jakarta is filled with suppliers from around Indonesia. In 2019, a total of 500 exhibitors displayed their furniture collections to more than 120,000 visitors

If you cannot make it to this event, it is recommendable to visit Jepara, the furniture city of Indonesia. While there are more places with furniture factories in Indonesia, the number of furniture suppliers in Jepara is incomparable to other places. The variety of offered furniture is also incredible. You can find both outdoor and indoor furniture in Jepara, from classic to post-modern, from low-end to high-end. There are several hotels and homestays to choose during your stay. La famille residence is one of the most popular places for international businessmen and both short-term and long-term visitors.

Pijar Sukma has been one of the biggest furniture exporters around for 20 years. This furniture manufacturer in Jepara, Indonesia traditionally offers French classic furniture. However, besides shabby chic, vintage and French country style, this furniture manufacturer also creates modern adaptations of the French style.

Currency

Malaysia Furniture Manufacturer 

Malaysia is the smaller country of this list with a population of around 32 million. However, in terms of GDP per capita it ranks the highest on the list with $29,000. The economic development has left Malaysia with a lower competitive advantage in terms of low-cost manufacturing. Many Malaysian manufacturers have changed their course to add value to furniture through design and branding. Now, many furniture brands from Malaysia exist. By the same token, they have changed their manufacturing style from labor-intensive to capital-intensive in order to compete. This has shown to be a right decision of Malaysian furniture factories. As of now, Malaysia produces a large share of the pie with wooden office, kitchen and bedroom furniture. It’s also relatively competitive with upholstery seats.

Wood types and access

As a net positive exporter of rough wood, Malaysia exports its lion’s share to India. Demanded timber not native to Malaysia is mainly imported from Australia, Belgium and Suriname. Naturally, due to its high availability of timber, wooden furniture is the more popular type to produce. You can find many solid wood furniture manufacturers in Malaysia.

Furniture Manufacturer Malaysia

Business communication & Quality standards

Malaysia also has the highest rank in english proficiency. Historically connected to Singapore, it had the opportunity to watch its sister country develop and learned many lessons. With Singapore’s population density and real estate prices soaring, the big sister tiger has been investing in Malaysia’s neighbouring land. Just as Singapore’s first language is English, the melting pot of people in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur also primarily speak English. While its bahasa Melayu is also heavily influenced by its former colonizer Britain. Consequently, as an importer of furniture and a master of the English language, you should have no problems with business communication in Malaysia.

Malaysia ranks as the highest power distance countries in the world. This means that power is distributed incredibly unequally. On the one hand, the institutions endorse this. On the other hand, the subjects expect and accept it. 

Power Distance of Countries affect the business structure of furniture manufacturers in Malaysia

Malaysian businesses are structured accordingly, which means that routine decisions might be made by the higher level management. So if you want to efficiently speak with a Malaysian furniture factory, make sure you’re talking with the right person. You can also expect that the top-level management is occupied with the fulfillment of quality standards. 

Exhibitions & Key Furniture Locations

Malaysia hosts its furniture fair annually. The Malaysian International Furniture Fair is held in Kuala Lumpur in its largest trade and exhibition center. Furniture manufacturers and factories are present from all over Malaysia. Furthermore, as Malaysians like their malls, there are many malls to shop around and explore furniture.

Currency

Recommendations

This guide is meant to give you a general overview of the top Asian furniture countries, so you can abstractly compare them. 

Import tariffs

A last comparison includes tariffs. As taxes and tariffs are subject to change, they are not thoroughly covered in this guide. However, they might be an important factor when choosing a country to import furniture from. 

Here you can find the import tariffs of Wooden bedroom furniture from Indonesia for specific countries. You can also view the tariffs for other types of furniture by choosing their HS codes. 

Tariffs often affect traditionally favoured export countries. They can vary from one country to another, and it might change often. Also consider the growth and general outlook of the country you might import from to determine the right one. If you need highly detailed information on specific countries and product categories you can find them here.

Choosing between suppliers within a country

No matter which country you pick, there are good suppliers and disappointing ones to choose from. Whether you choose a furniture manufacturer from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia or another country, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

As a final part of this guide we give you the tools to dissect them. 

Design ownership

Firstly, be careful with the ownership of the design with the supplier you work with. Oftentimes, this happens in China, but it can be anywhere. Communicate well while providing designs and sign a non-disclosure agreement. Look out for bad reviews of the company you  plan to work with.

Management capabilities

Then small suppliers, even if great artisans, often make production mistakes due to miscommunication. Also, it is not unlikely that they misallocate deposits in order to fulfill orders from other clients. Like this, they not only put themselves at risk, but also cause delay, or worse, failure to finalise the order. Make sure to communicate well with a small supplier and if possible have your people at the site to control your order.

Furniture samples

Also, when choosing a furniture manufacturer to create new designs, take sampling cost and capability into account. Even though there is nothing wrong with your initial design, a more specific technical drawing from your supplier can instigate quality flaws. In order to avoid this, either include technical information with your sample or make sure the manufacturer has the design capability. Regularly, proper furniture manufacturers give modificational feedback for your original designs in order to guarantee quality and use of certain materials.

Material and Product

Of course, the use of materials also affects your decision-making. You can distinguish between suppliers by the innumerous types of materials they use. Especially in Canton, China, furniture manufacturers tend to only specialize in a few products. Your requirements greatly affect the scope of your options. Is it metal furniture you’re after? Is wooden furniture, like teak, mahogany and suar, more your thing? Or are you looking for plastic furniture?

Wooden Bedroom Furniture Manufacturer Asia Vietnam Malaysia China

Moreover, furniture manufacturers often specialize in either indoor or outdoor furniture. They produce their furniture by hand, or use heavy machinery to maximize their output and minimize cost of workers. Again, know what you, and the customers you represent, want.

Minimum order quantity

Lastly, the minimum order quantity might be a decisive factor when choosing a suitable furniture manufacturer. If you know your market well, you might be confident importing certain furniture in big quantities. However, if you are experimenting on new designs, a low order quantity is a safe bet. Under those circumstances choose a manufacturer where you can pick many different designs to fill your container, or choose a place with a cluster of furniture suppliers. 

Furniture Sample Modern French Indonesian Design Supplier

Tips When Changing Your Furniture Supplier

The furniture industry characterizes itself by its longstanding partner relations. Not seldom, partners cooperate for decades to each other’s benefit. However, there are a number of reasons to look for a new furniture supplier. Whether you want to change your supplier, add a supplier or outsource your previously manufactured products, this guide will help you reaching your decision. Your case fits in one of these categories; Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) or Original Design Manufacturing (ODM). Below, we will firstly elaborate on the difference between these two types. Then, we will discuss the reasons to make a change in your supplier portfolio, followed by a recommendation list of things to provide to your new supplier.

OEM or ODM furniture service supplier

Mainly automotive and electronics industries use OEM manufacturers to outsource to. With OEM service you use a company to help you produce your product’s design. Usually, these are unbranded components of your final product. In the furniture industry, OEM manufacturers help you to complete your collections and designs, completely or partially. Usually, OEM partnerships breathe loyalty and cooperation. Especially creating new successful items together, requires both capable manufacturing as well as marketing skills.  On the other hand, when you work with ODM manufacturers, you also give them responsibility on the design phase. You can either completely rely on the design expertise of the furniture supplier, or reach design consensus together. More than often, furniture suppliers have the capability to be on top of the trends and continuously create new popular designs for you. 

Why would you change your furniture supplier?

If you’re reading this, perhaps you are happy with your current supplier(s), but you just want to manage the risk of your supplier portfolio or release capability pressure on a certain furniture supplier. It can be a good idea to move certain products to another supplier or country, so you are rarely affected by one supplier’s headwind. Maybe your supply chain’s risk is already exposed by a supplier. Alternatively, it could be possible that one of your products show immense popularity, and your supplier is failing to deliver your growing demand. Another good reason to look for a third hand. Finally, a regular reason is that you do continue to make use of a supplier with a small MOQ or small capacity. However, due to popularity or inventory control, you’re looking for a neighbouring supplier to fill more frequent container deliveries. 

Conversely, you can have a more than legit reason to be unsatisfied with your current furniture supplier, providing OEM or ODM service. Due to a number of reasons, you could be pressured by a price increase. You may have stumbled upon quality problems and customer complaints. It might be possible that your supplier has deprioritized you over a bigger or local buyer and you experience increased lead time. On the other hand, it is possible that you’ve grown out of your supplier’s capacity or willingness to innovate. In that case, for the sake of your growth potential, it might be a bold move, but a necessary transition.

How to find the right furniture supplier

Depending on your requirements, you can choose a furniture supplier from a certain country. We will cover comparative country analysis in the furniture industry in a future article. When choosing specific suppliers, focus on their MOQ, their design departments and their manufacturing abilities. If you are looking for highly standardized and and huge quantity products, it might be best to cooperate with a machine-intensive factory. In contrast, if uniqueness from a human touch is what you’re looking for, search for countries and companies with skilled labour expertise and preferably low labour costs. The personality expressed in the furniture and the flexibility that comes with it might be the right choice for you. 

Once you’ve found a potential supplier, ask for the company profile. A profile can give you many insights about your partner in the making. Perhaps your supplier already delivers to your country. This significantly simplifies importing furniture to your country, especially with respect to legal requirements. For instance, if your company is based in the USA, you can make sure that the furniture supplier satisfies all required certificates and standards, by getting information about established partners in the United States. Furthermore, an international and stable footprint gives you initial trust about the specific furniture manufacturer. Most certainly, they know how furniture ‘behaves’ in each country, from both a consumer perspective and quality perspective. 

Last but not least, check if the capacity and growth potential aligns with your own. In order to avoid future capacity restrictions it is better to find a furniture supplier that can not only give you the quality but also the quantity you might need in the future. Surely it is better to prevent than fix a situation where you are missing out on sales while finding a new manufacturer.

What to give your new furniture supplier?

In order to make things easy, be honest and straightforward with your intentions. Are you just looking for temporary OEM service due to capacity constraints? Or are you appealing for a long-term ODM or OEM service relationship? If you exactly know what you need, give them the technical drawings, including thickness, components and materials, and possibly provide a Bill of Materials. If you require a product, which is merely designed or you can only show from a picture, many suppliers have the in-house capability to change that picture into a technical drawing and accordingly into a sample.

Furniture samples

Make sure you have had a reliable price discussion before ordering a sample. After all, some suppliers can give you price expectations far from final reality. We can imagine you don’t want to waste your time. Some suppliers, like us, are capable of making accurate price estimations regarding the amount of wood needed, materials and accessories, as well as packaging. No matter the estimation accuracy, expect minor differences between conceptual pricing and final prices of ordered furniture.

Furniture Sample Modern French Indonesian Design Supplier

A furniture manufacturer in Indonesia

If you choose to work with a furniture manufacturer in Indonesia, here’s a guide to buying furniture for import. Generally speaking, companies usually choose to import furniture from Indonesia for its abundance of teak, mahogany and suar wood expertise. 

Pijar Sukma

Pijar Sukma is one of the biggest indoor furniture suppliers of handmade products in Indonesia. We are schooled in the French Classic style, but offer a wide range of indoor products, both modern and classic, emulating the widely adored French style. We enjoy a huge capacity in terms of throughput and design and provide both OEM and ODM service to furniture buyers around the world. 

Every year, we create around 400 new items by designers and the Research and Development department. Around half of the development consist of fulfilling specific partner requests. We transform their design ideas or more abstract requirements into reality. The latter of the new items enrich the catalogue that Pijar offers to its partners worldwide. Feel free to have a further look on the website and contact us if you’re interested in working with us.

Pijar Sukma, Furniture Supplier, living room setting

Authoritative Guide How To Buy Furniture from Indonesia 2020

Indonesia is famous for being one of the major furniture manufacturers, with nearly $2 billion USD worth of furniture being exported every year. The supply of furniture, called ‘mebel’ in Indonesian, is as high as it is versatile. As a potential furniture buyer in Indonesia, you need to know the essentials in order to make successful purchases. Especially as a novice, it is easy to lose track of the essentials. This guide will help you avoid nasty surprises when buying Indonesian furniture, especially for import and export.

Where to buy furniture in Indonesia?

The most prominent city to buy furniture is Jepara, the “city of wood”. There is no place like this city located in Central Java, where the city breathes wood and furniture. Complex craftsmanship skills have deep roots in the local culture. Ibu Kartini is the patron of the city. She was the first Indonesian woman to attend university. As a noble, she was able to break from traditional female-unfriendly practices and through her works she became an example to many. Moreover, it is known that she acted as catalyst, when she developed the market for the local craftsmen in Jepara. As of today, Jepara has a huge furniture industry. There are hundreds of small suppliers. In the last 20 years, Jepara has attracted foreign management, which resulted in a surge to the international market. There are all sorts of furniture manufacturers in Jepara, Indonesia, with most of them producing wooden furniture.

White painted French style nightstand is Indonesian furniture used for import and export
French classic style nightstand

Then there other major cities on island of Java, the most populated island, where you can find furniture export manufacturers. For instance, in Jakarta, there are huge fully-automated factories that produce furniture for companies like Walmart and Ikea. Also, in Semarang and Surabaya you can find automated manufacturers where you can buy furniture with huge minimum order quantities. There is Solo where some furniture suppliers are positioned. Notably, this is the place where Indonesian President Jokowi himself boosted his career as a furniture factory owner.

What furniture should you buy in Indonesia?

There are many options when searching for furniture in Indonesia. As mentioned before, you can find both machine-made furniture and handmade furniture. In general, you will face high minimum order quantities if you order machine made furniture. Then, you can mainly choose between metal and wooden furniture. As for wood, species like teak, mahogany, mango, rosewood, suar, acacia, rattan and bamboo are among the popular choices.

Furthermore, furniture manufacturers offer lots of upholstered furniture. The upholstery itself can be local batik, woven cloth and mostly cotton, or more expensive imported fabric. The main advantages of local handmade upholstery are flexibility, fast lead time and low minimum order quantities. Furthermore, the handmade characteristics give a unique quality to it. On the downside, you need to allow some tolerance in color differences between batches, especially for the brighter colors. Also the materials used are quite little. On the other hand, imported upholstery is usually consistent and machine made. There is a high variety of materials to choose from at a good price. Lastly, you have the choice between natural finishes and painted finishes. Let’s have a look at some of the products Indonesia has to offer.

You can find anything from big dining tables, to beds, drawers, armoires to outdoor furniture.

Obviously, most offered furniture is meant for adults. However, many manufacturers are willing to make furniture for kids or babies upon request. Some even specialize in this side branch.

Don’t know which type of furniture to buy? Read this guide about furniture styles.

Fumigated wood

Depending on the wood species, you’ll need to make sure to avoid the presence of fungi, and termites and other insects in the wood. So ask your supplier if they fumigate the products. Usually fumigation is done just before products are transported. However, some countries like Australia, with the tighter import rules, require more thorough fumigation before the finishing process.

Furniture with a low moisture content

Especially because of its tropical climate, you need to pay attention to the moisture content (MC) of the wooden furniture you import from Indonesia. If not, your furniture could easily crack once it reaches its final owner.

The moisture content is calculated as the weight of the water relative to the weight of the wood. Wood has the quality to absorb water in its cells that run along the length of the tree. First the wood stores the water in its cell walls, shown in the figure below. Once these cell walls are saturated, the water fills the cell cavities, called free water. On average, wood with an MC of 28% only has water left in its cell walls. Around this percentage these walls are full and the wood is fiber saturated.

It is important to realize that the wood only shrinks and swells below this point of saturation. Below 25% shrinkage becomes visible. For more information on shrinkage by wood species and the different directions of shrinkage, click here. Because of these differences in shrinkage, you need to dry teak  until 10% MC, where for mahogany 14-15% is already acceptable.

Wooden furniture moisture content

In general, you can consider wood dry between 12-15% MC. When you buy your furniture in Indonesia for export, you need to make sure the wood is properly kiln dried in a controlled environment. As soon as the wood moisture level falls below 19%, it has already shrunk for the biggest part and will show its drying defects, if any.

Effect of surroundings on furniture

Most notably, take your end-customer into account when you examine the MC grade. What kind of climate is the wooden furniture meant for. Is it for indoor or outdoor purposes? As wood is hygroscopic, it acclimatizes slowly to its permanent surroundings. If the surroundings are more moist, the wood will absorb the moisture until it reaches a equilibrium moisture content (EMC) with its surroundings. On the other hand, if the area is dryer the wood will release some of its moisture to reach EMC. The latter can cause sudden cracks or bends in your furniture.

Mixed materials

Another option some factories in Indonesia choose is to use mixed material and use particle boards like MDF to make the side panels or tops. This option is very safe for export because this material is impossible to crack. Because of the mix of materials, the parts constrain each other’s movements. Accordingly, it’s very safe to ship to any country.

Responsible production

When choosing a furniture supplier in Indonesia, you have to assess whether they are up for the job. Especially many smaller suppliers often fail to meet expectations due to poor planning. They tend to misattribute drawbacks and avoid responsibility. Picking the right supplier can be tricky as most will say to be competent for the job.

Quality vs Price: What should you pay for furniture in Indonesia?

The Indonesian furniture industry is highly versatile in terms of quality, product mix and customer service. Especially moisture content of wooden furniture often lacks control. Even if you properly kiln dry the wood, problems might occur later in the process during storage or transportation. Yes, they seem unnecessary. Though, as most locals never see the end result of bad MC management in the less moist countries overseas, they sometimes lack awareness. Then, consistency of products is another challenge buyers face. Suppliers can be rather cunning in hiding poor quality and inconsistencies. Therefore, proper quality control and trust are of utmost importance.

On another note, do not forget that most production is handmade by local artisan suppliers. Even the bigger finishing factories make use of them, except when factories produce 100% machinemade furniture. These handmade products give more charm and uniqueness, but expect the tolerance in differences between products to be higher.

Then, once you receive your products, you might find some deviations in quality. This is why you need to know your supplier’s customer service before sending a deposit. Manufacturers that know they deliver quality will give you the quality assurance.

Depending on the material and the design effort, prices differ significantly. If you’re looking for custom ivory stairs, you can expect to pay the price. There are many different wood types and there is furniture available at every budget. In the end it’s all about value for money. So do not hesitate to ascertain the costs of material. Or else your supplier could be either deceiving you in terms of price or be managing his business inefficiently.

On the other hand, you don’t want your supplier to cheat with materials either. For this reason you should make sure all the necessary certificates are audited.

How can you import furniture from Indonesia?

If you want to import furniture from Indonesia, there are several things you need to know. Firstly, if it’s wooden furniture you’re importing, make sure the wood is SVLK certified. This means the wood being used is certified as legal by the Indonesian government. Click here if you want to know more about other certificates you need to import furniture from Indonesia.

When making a deal with your furniture supplier, most of the time you are either agreeing on a FOB price or an ex factory price. The term Free On Board was coined back in the days after many goods fell between shore and ship. It was not clear who was responsible for the damages. Thus the trade deal came to be; Free on Board. So when FOB, your manufacturer will take care of all the Indonesian paperwork and pay the transport until shipment. Sometimes the deal includes ex factory, which means you need to take care of all the transport, when importing furniture from Indonesia

Most manufacturers offer 20HC or 40HC containers to fill your products in. Consolidation of containers is becoming more popular as appropriate planning technologies emerge. There are also many acquisitions happening by big players in the shipping industry. However, most companies find these methods unreliable, as they are still in their infancy.

In the island of Java, where you can find most furniture manufactures, there are 3 main ports to ship from. There is Tanjung Prio in Jakarta, Tanjung Emas in Semarang and Tanjung Perak in Surabaya. These ports are unsurprisingly all in the North-Java sea, as the south-coast  is deemed too risky for ports to thrive. The picture below includes all other major ports in Indonesia.

Transportation Ports in Indonesia that are popular for export and import of furniture

Is it still safe to buy furniture from Indonesia, since IFEX is cancelled?

The 2020 Jakarta International Furniture Expo (IFEX), usually filled with Indonesian suppliers’ collections, is postponed due to worries about the corona virus. Provisional cancellation is problematic for both furniture manufacturers as buyers interested in Indonesian furniture. 

Firstly, suppliers have invested time and money to showcase their latest developments. The current plan to postpone the event until the end of September (Check here for any updates), diminishes the ease and benefits of a yearly expo. On the other hand, international furniture buyers face trouble to add the latest Indonesian collections to their supply. 

Fact is, that furniture buyers are trying to circumvent 2020’s limitations. The question arises whether it is still safe to buy furniture from Indonesia, and if so, how to safely conduct business and set buyers down the supply chain at rest.

Order and buy furniture from Asia in 2020

Lately, the number of furniture buyers visiting Indonesia has been declining, just as the number of business visits worldwide. Above all, we understand the necessity of online customer intimacy as a substitute. For this reason, we have allocated resources by 50% to exceed our usual non-face-to-face marketing contact. Our marketing team effortlessly adapts to the specific needs of potential partners. Whether they are looking for our long-standing classic furniture collections, trendy French furniture or custom designs, we swiftly provide from Indonesia.

As for safely buying furniture, just as any other year, you need to make sure that the wood used is properly certified and fumigated and that the furniture manufacturer is audited according to international safety standards. Fumigation destroys bacteria, insects and fungi, but also comforts furniture buyers feeling worrisome because of the spreading coronavirus. Furthermore, corona viruses can usually survive on surfaces for days, but experts say the COVID-19 seems to have a shorter than usual survival span on surfaces. Depending on environmental conditions, this corona virus can last from several hours to days.

Furniture business amid Corona virus

Since the COVID-19 shares 90% of its DNA with the infamous SARS from 2002, experts are willing to make preliminary statements about weather conditional factors. High temperatures and especially high humidity are likely to reduce the current corona spread. One of the main reasons is that droplets in coughs and sneezes become heavier and slow down as they mix with the moisture. Furthermore, UV light might effectively break down the virus on surfaces. Although these studies are premature, the suggestions indicate that avoiding body-to-body contact, while visiting humid countries like Indonesia, might significantly reduce infection chances.

At Pijar Sukma, we understand the worries that such a virus causes on business conduct. We take as many appropriate measures as possible, while continuing to satisfy demand. Logically, our employees are put on high alert and sterilize their hands frequently and are instructed to stay hydrated. In order to further avoid transmission of viruses we spray additional disinfectants on our finished products. Also, especially due to the postponement of the IFEX, we focus completely on giving furniture buyers the best online customer service they deserve in order to choose the right furniture for their customers. 

In preparation for the postponed IFEX, Pijar Sukma has carefully created 200 designs and 8 new collections. Clients visiting our factory are able to view these collections in our permanent internal showroom. For furniture buyers unwilling or unable to visit Indonesia, we share the latest catalog online.

Contact Us

Pijar Sukma is your reliable Furniture manufacturer from Jepara, which is inspiring the French style. Succeeding the traditional French furniture periods, we continue to design French furniture following the latest trends. Partners from all over the world import our furniture collections from Asia. Contact us today to get more information and free quotations on your preferredl furniture style.

French Classic Furniture Periods

What is the French Classic furniture style?

The French classic style slowly came about during the Renaissance. The revival of ancient philosophy, literature and art was introduced to the French when France invaded Italy under the reign of Louis XII. The Renaissance gave a stimulus to ‘translatio’, ‘imitatio’ and ‘aemulatio’, meaning to translate, imitate and transcend the Ancient culture. Especially in France, the urge to transcend the Classics was heavily present among intellectuals. French artisans, being  introduced to the present classic style furniture in Italy, started the style shift as imitation. However, soon they began to show this same urge over the course of periods to come. Most periods showed strong governance over craftsmen, mainly through guilds. Marked by the reigns of Kings and their specific desires, we can distinguish between the periods presented below.

Timeline of the French furniture periods

Renaissance period

During the Renaissance, French artisans started imitating the Ancient classics, with deeply carved furniture and ornate designs. Most furniture resembled miniatures of the classic buildings with Ionic and Corinthian columns and their iconic balustrades.

 

Louis XIII period

As the French middle class became wealthier, demand for furniture surged also. This period can be marked as the period where upholstery became widely present in furniture and the bourgeoisie expected furniture to be both aesthetic and comfortable.

 

Louis XIV period

Because Louis XIV rose to the throne when he was just 4 years old, he was able to set a record of 72 years of reign. His reign marked the end of the Renaissance and the begin of the palatial Baroque era. During this long period the beauty of furniture was more important than its comfort. Intricate marquettery and extensive carving in rather straight lines are deep-seated in this period. Not meant for the common man, distinct furniture pieces of this period are the fauteuil with upholstered armrests, the writing desks and the commodes with fine details.

 

Regence period

When the Sun King, Louis XIV passed away, his 5 year old son was deemed too young to rule and his uncle, the duke of Orleans was installed at Regent for the time being. The duke was not as extravagant as his predecessor. This period in between kings is also regarded as a gradual transitional period from the Baroque era to the informal Rococo.  Free of the Sun King’s control, craftsmen started looking beyond for inspiration, mostly found in Mythology and the orient. The biggest characteristic of this period might be the S-curved leg found in chairs, armoires, consoles and sofas. French furniture became widely appreciated in Europe. Even today, furniture from this period is still one of the most popular styles, with its romantic and beautiful look.

 

Louis XV period

This period showed peace and prosperity and French furniture making was at the peak of influence. Louis XV supported the Enlightenment that started. Accordingly, women attained more power in the court. Their influence was also seen in the furniture full of elegance, comfort and refinement. Furniture was adaptable to the needs of all classes. Especially, the comfortable Chaise longue and the Bergere became widely popular. Also, flamboyant veneer and marquetry was used to make furniture from the asymmetrical Regence period even more extravagant. From here and on, painted wood grew in popularity.

 

Louis XVI period

Furniture created during this period transmitted a more rustic feeling than previously. Neoclassicism came about and straight lines, right angles and Classical motifs returned. Straight fluted legs replaced the s-curve legs of more architectural pieces. Also, for the first time chairs were purely made as decorative pieces rather than for sake of comfort.

Read more about furniture styles in this guide

 

 

 

references:

French Accents Antiques: Pocket CEU: Understanding Louis XIII, XIV, XV, and XVI Furniture

French Empire Furniture: Style & Characteristics. Retrieved from https://study.com/academy/lesson/french-empire-furniture-style-characteristics.html

Timeline of French Furniture Periods. Retrieved from https://www.lolofrenchantiques.com/french-furniture-periods.html

 

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