We shopped at Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel to see which was a better furniture store — and the winner was clear

Crate & Barrel had a huge selection of furniture.

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Crate & Barrel had a huge selection of furniture.
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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

  • Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel are two of the top retailers in home furnishings.
  • Even though the stores also have to compete with online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair, both Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel saw revenue growth in 2017.
  • The stores have similar return policies and both offer free shipping for tons of products.
  • Even though the stores are incredibly similar, we found that one of them was slightly less expensive and had much more to offer.

Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn compete to be the top seller of home furnishings.

Even while facing competition from e-commerce giants like Amazon and Wayfair, Crate & Barrel saw an 8% sales growth in 2017, with 47% of its sales taking place online. CEO Neela Montgomery told the Wall Street Journal that 95% of Crate & Barrel’s products are unique to the store. In addition, the brand has recently partnered with Reese Witherspoon to sell an exclusive collection.

Williams-Sonoma, parent company of Pottery Barn, also saw an increase in sales in 2017, with about 53% of the company’s revenue coming from online sales. Like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn has focused on how it can set itself apart from online sellers like Amazon and Wayfair. One of these innovations is an augmented-reality app called 3D Room View, which allows customers to see how products will fit in their home.

The two stores are similar in many ways. They both have relatively strict return policies, with Crate & Barrel accepting non-furniture items within 90 days with proof of purchase, and furniture within 30 days. Pottery Barn accepts returns on eligible items within 30 days with a receipt. In addition, both stores also have a ton of products that qualify for free shipping on their websites.

Though the stores appear to be remarkably similar, we visited both and found one to be better than the other:


My first stop was Manhattan’s only Crate & Barrel store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Immediately in the entryway was a sign advertising 20% off outdoor dish sets.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The environment of the store was very inviting. The dim yellow lights and soft music created a very mellow atmosphere, making it feel homey. There was a ton of decor at the front of the store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Crate & Barrel sold an assortment of faux plants, lighting, throw pillows, vases, and other decor.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The kitchen products took up a huge portion of the first floor. There were tons of pots and pans to choose from, ranging in price from $70 to almost $400. It also sold place mats, cutlery, dishes, serving plates, and more.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The displays were kept simple, aiming to emulate what the dish set would look like in someone’s home.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Dishes were sold individually, ranging from $2-8 a piece.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was a wall of glasses in a similar price range to the dish sets.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Near the kitchen section was a display of outdoor furniture …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and an array of outdoor dish sets and decor.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Most of the furniture was housed upstairs.

Crate & Barrel had a huge selection of furniture.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Natural light flooded the floor, making it an inviting space that was nice to shop in.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was a big selection of bed frames and linens, and everything was very modern and bright.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Many shoppers were sitting on the couches and chairs as if they were in their own living room.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Furniture displays were thoughtfully arranged to show what a room might look like if you were to purchase the entire collection. Most of the displays were gorgeous.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Crate & Barrel also had a custom design center where shoppers can customize the color, size, and other features of the furniture they’re buying.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Next, I stopped by Pottery Barn in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The outdoor furnishings were front and center, and like at Crate & Barrel, they were on sale.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store had a warm and inviting environment. It was a smaller space than Crate & Barrel, so it was a little more cramped to shop in.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The displays were more extravagant than at Crate & Barrel, but there was a smaller variety of styles and colors.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The prices were similar at each store, though Pottery Barn was slightly more expensive. This set of dishes started at $8, for example.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Pottery Barn had a dedicated outdoor shop …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… a wall of faux plants and decor …

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and a good amount of lighting and furniture. However, Pottery Barn didn’t seem to have quite as many styles and furniture that Crate & Barrel did.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

It also was clearly catering to the New York City crowd with a whole department dedicated to apartment living, which Crate & Barrel didn’t appear to have in its store.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Pottery Barn had a similar design center to Crate & Barrel.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Downstairs was a bed and bath section.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Where Crate & Barrel had more furniture like dressers and night stands, Pottery Barn had more home products like linens and towels.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Pottery Barn also had a lot of random small products like bath bombs and lotions, which Crate & Barrel didn’t have.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Overall, Crate & Barrel had a much greater variety of products at a slightly lower price point. While Pottery Barn offered more in terms of linens, towels, and apartment living, Crate & Barrel had a much bigger selection overall, including more furniture and decor, and the store was more spacious and pleasant to shop in.

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler