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Ethan Allen, Bassett or DreamSofa? Which Makes the Best Quality & Value Custom Sofas?

By Jeff Frank

Ethan Allen, Bassett, &  DreamSofa:

Which sofa brand offers the best quality & value?

This review compares very similar sofas made by Ethan Allen, Bassett, & DreamSofa.

Ethan Allen Spencer Track Arm Sofa 

92w x 40d x 35h (Seat depth 24″)

Bassett BenchMade Weldon Track Arm Sofa

92.5w x 38.5d x 34.5 (Seat depth 25″)

Note – Bassett makes two different sofa qualities.

Bassett’s lower-priced mass produced sofa line has similar looking seating with far less quality. The average lifespan for Bassett’s mass produced couches is 3 – 5 years.

The Bassett Weldon sofa is from the custom-built BenchMade line.

DreamSofa Dresden Track Arm Sofa 

93w x 39d x 30h (Seat depth 24″)

All three sofas being compared in this article are custom-built in the USA.

Bassett and Ethan Allen sofas are made in North Carolina. DreamSofa’s factory is located in Los Angeles, CA.

All three brands are available with a large selection of fabrics and multiple custom options.

When purchased with the highest quality cushions available, and a durable fabric, all three sofas should last 15+ years.

The Quality level for all 3 brands is very similar.

The Value ranking of the 3 brands is very different.

Pricing summary

The prices listed below are for the specific brands and models being compared as of October 19, 2023.

Pricing shown includes the highest quality (most durable) seat cushions combined with a base grade fabric:

Ethan Allen 92″ Spencer sofa:  $3,641$2,964 (Sale price) (with Spring Down cushion option) Estimated lifespan: 15+ years.

Bassett 92.5 inch Weldon sofa: $3,921$3,244 (Sale price)(with Premier cushion option) Estimated lifespan: 15+ years.

DreamSofa 93 inch Dresden sofa:  $1,977 (Everyday price) (with Plush cushion option) Estimated lifespan: 15+ years.

There is a substantial gap in pricing between Ethan Allen/Bassett and DreamSofa.

Ethan Allen and Bassett are both far larger (and older) furniture companies with well established brand names. Both have extensive manufacturing facilities in both the USA and internationally.  

Ethan Allen has about 170 U.S retail stores. Bassett has over 400.

DreamSofa has a single factory in Los Angeles, CA. where it builds its custom upholstered furniture.

DreamSofa is able to sell similar quality custom-built furniture at lower prices because of:

  • Reduced corporate overhead costs.
  • Minimal advertising & marketing expense.
  • Bypassing retail markups by selling Direct to Consumers.

Large furniture manufacturers have a big cost advantage over smaller competitors when mass producing massive quantities of identical products.

That cost advantage disappears when the product is custom-built furniture, hand crafted one piece at a time.

Ethan Allen Spencer Track Arm Sofa

92w x 40d x 35h (Seat depth 24″)

Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen Spencer Track Arm Sofa  Not available with 2 seats and backs 

Bassett BenchMade Weldon Track Arm Sofa

92.5w x 38.5d x 34.5 (Seat depth 25″)

Bassett sofa
Bassett Weldon Sofa  Not available with 3 seats and backs. 

DreamSofa Dresden Track Arm Sofa

93w x 39d x 30h (Seat depth 24″)

DreamSofa couch
DreamSofa 93″ Dresden-sofa (available with either 2 or 3 seats and backs)

Quality & Value: Ethan Allen vs. Bassett vs. DreamSofa

Comparisons will be made in these categories:

  • Pricing
  • Frames
  • Foundations
  • Cushions
  • Fabrics
  • Durability
  • Warranty and Return policy

Pricing

Base price includes the lowest cost cushions and fabric available as of Oct. 19, 2023.

Upgraded price includes the best (longest lasting) cushions available.

Ethan Allen Spencer Sofa

92w x 40d x 35h (Seat depth 24″)

Base price:  (lowest price fabric, 2.0 density foam cushions & 24″ seat depth) – $3,385 (Reg. price) $2,708 (Sale price)

Upgraded price (with best seat cushions)$3,641 (Reg. price) $2,964 (Sale price)

Seat depth upgrade options:

Upgrade from 24″ to 26″ seat depth: + $160

Cushion upgrade options:

Upgrade from 2.0 density foam cushions to Spring Blend Down cushions: +$256 (Estimated 15+ year lifespan)

Feather/Down (very soft) cushions are also available.

Bassett Weldon Sofa

92.5w x 38.5d x 34.5 (Seat depth 25″)

Base price:  (lowest price fabric, 2.3 density Support foam cushions & 25″ seat depth) – $3,909 (Reg. price) $2,969 (Sale price)

Upgraded price (with best seat cushions)$3,921 (Reg. price) $3,244 (Sale price)

Seat depth upgrade options:

None

Cushion upgrade options:

Upgrade to “Plush” Lounge cushion option with high resiliency foam: $170

Upgrade to Premier cushion option with 2 layers of Reaxion foam: $280 (Estimated 15+ year lifespan)

A detailed description of Bassett’s cushion options can be found on their website at the Comfort Guide.

DreamSofa Dresden Sofa

93w x 39d x 30h (Seat depth 24″)

Base price:  (lowest price fabric, 2.0 density Wave foam cushions & 23″ seat depth) – $1,777 (Everyday price)

Upgraded price (with best seat cushions)$1,977 (Everyday price)

Special Discount: There is an additional 3% Special Discount for my Insiders Guide readers.

Seat Depth upgrade options: 

Dresden’s Standard Overall Depth is 39″ with a 24″ Seat Depth

Classic: 36″ Overall Depth | Seat Depth: 21″ | +$299

Luxe: 38″ Overall Depth| Seat Depth: 23″ | + $199

  • Standard 39″ Overall Depth | Seat Depth 24″ | Standard for Dresden sofa +$0

Lounge: 40″ Overall Depth | Seat Depth: 25″ | + $199

Jumbo: 44″ Overall Depth | Seat Depth:  29″ | + $299

Dream: 48″ Overall Depth | Seat Depth:  33″ | + $399

Custom: Any in-between depths | Seat Depth: Any | + $499

Cushion upgrade options:

2.0 density (Standard) Wave cushions: +$0

2.2 density Performance cushions: + $100 

2.5 density Benchmade extra-firm cushions: +$200 (estimated lifespan 15+ years)

Plush cushions (coil spring core surrounded by 2.5 density Reaxion foam): +$200 (estimated lifespan 15+ years)

Feather/Down cushions are also available.

Frames:

Ethan Allen Spencer – Hardwood Plywood (7 ply) – Should last 15+ years.

Bassett  Weldon – Hardwood Plywood (7 ply) – Should last 15+ years.

DreamSofa Dresden – Solid Hardwood – Should last 20+ years.

Foundations:

Ethan Allen Spencer – Sinuous wire – Should last 15+ years.

Bassett  Weldon – Drop-in coil springs. Should last 15+ years. Adds additional comfort compared with sinuous wire, especially when used with foam cushions.

DreamSofa Dresden – Hand-tied Sinuous wire – Should last 15+ years.

Cushions:

Seat cushion lifespan depends on many different factors.

Foam density, cushion size & thickness, amount of use, and the size of the people sitting all affect how long your cushions will last.

For more information on this topic, see my article, What is the Difference Between Foam Density & Firmness? 

The cushion lifespan estimates given below are based primarily on the foam density or coil spring construction and 45 years experience in the furniture industry.

They will not be as accurate as estimates based on an analysis that considers all the factors listed above.

Ethan Allen Spencer  

Standard 2.0 density seat cushions – Est. lifespan: 4 – 6 years. 

Spring Down cushion upgrade – Est. lifespan: 15+ years.

A feather/down upgrade is also available.

Bassett  Weldon  

Standard 2.3 density Support cushions: Est. lifespan: 10+ years.

Softer 2.3 density Lounge cushions: Est. lifespan: 10+ years.

High resilience 2.3 density Premier cushions with Reaxion foam: Est. lifespan: 15+ years.

DreamSofa Dresden  

Standard 2.0 density Wave cushions: Est. lifespan: 4 – 6 years. 

2.2 density Performance cushions: Est. lifespan: 6 – 9 years.

2.5 density extra-firm Benchmade cushions: Est. lifespan: 15+ years.

Plush (coil spring core surrounded by 2.5 density Reflex foam) – Est. lifespan: 15+ years.

Feather/Down cushions are also available on request.

Fabrics:

All three brands have an extensive selection of fabrics.

Ethan Allen has the most extensive selection and the widest price variation. Some of EA’s higher priced fabrics can increase the sofa price by $1400.

Ethan Allen and DreamSofa accept C.O.M. (Customer’s Own Material) orders.

Important Note: Fabric durability has no relationship to price. Very expensive fabrics may be delicate, while low cost fabrics may be highly durable.

All three brands will be happy to recommend fabrics that meet your specific needs, including high durability, easy to clean, kid & pet-friendly, etc.

Durability:

It is strongly advised to get the best (most durable) cushions available when buying a sofa from any upholstery brand.

2.3 density foam cushions can double the lifespan of your sofa as compared with standard 1.8 or 2.0 density cushions.

2.5 density foam and Coil spring cushions can more than triple your sofa’s lifespan.

For average size people, with average use, 2.5 density cushions should last for 15+ years.

Spring down and other high-quality coil spring core cushions are even more durable. They may provide comfortable seating for 20 years or more.

Warranty and Return Policy:

Warning! Furniture warranties are written by attorneys hired by the furniture manufacturers & retailers for their protection – not yours!

Warranties and Return Policies are among the most common sources of consumer complaints about furniture.

Extended warranties are one of the most profitable items sold by stores and one of the biggest sources of customer complaints. Salespeople get large bonuses for selling extended warranties.

Extended warranties bring in income for the retailer, while simultaneously transferring the responsibility (and cost) of fixing your problems to a 3rd party repair company.

Warranties are also marketing materials.

Guarantees printed in big bold print at the top of the warranty give the impression that the company stands behind its products.

Very few customers bother to read much beyond the bold print. They miss the numerous exclusionary clauses (in much smaller print) that can disqualify or void most of what seemed to be guaranteed.

Listing all the exclusionary clauses in Ethan Allen and Bassett’s warranties would be a long (and tedious) task.

These exclusions may be scattered among multiple documents or website pages. Some may not be readily available online.

Ethan Allen’s warranty includes a section titled “Exclusions”:

EXCLUSIONS: Our products are not warrantied against normal wear and tear; commercial use; accidents, abuse, or neglect;
or from damage resulting from improper use, care, or storage. Our warranty does not cover products used in commercial,
nonresidential settings. Because many of our products are handcrafted and made with natural materials, variations in size,
shape, and color can be expected. For complete information regarding use and care, please refer to the Ethan Allen Use & Care
brochure available at your local Design Center and at ethanallen.com.

This single clause eliminates warranty protection for the most common problems you are likely to experience. The warranty contains many additional clauses restricting or eliminating warranty coverage.

Exclusionary clauses can get much more specific about what can be considered “normal wear,” accidents, abuse, neglect, and improper use. For example:

  • Compression of foam or other filling materials is “normal wear.”
  • Wrinkling, fading, pilling, stains, dye transfer from other fabrics or objects, or damage caused by pets are excluded from coverage.
  • Adding Scotchguard or other protectants to your furniture voids the warranty.
  • Using common household cleaning products, voids the warranty.

After the first year, warranties become even more restrictive.

Both Ethan Allen and Bassett warranties require the consumer to pay for all shipping and labor costs for repairs or replacement parts after the first year. This can get very expensive. Shipping costs for repairs or replacement parts can amount to hundreds of dollars.

Both Ethan Allen and Bassett have very strict policies about cancellation or returns of “custom orders.” Virtually everything made by Ethan Allen and Bassett BenchMade is a custom order.

Ethan Allen’s Return and Cancellation Policy states: We cannot accept order cancellations on any custom-made or custom-cut items (collectively, “Custom”) past 72 hours after order placement. Custom orders cannot be returned!

Bassett’s Return and Cancellation Policy states: Bassett does not accept cancellations or changes on any custom-ordered product after 24 hours of the order being placed. Bassett does not accept returns on any custom-ordered/ “Made to Order” product.  

DreamSofa is a Direct to Consumer manufacturer.

DTC manufacturers realize that many of their customers are extremely nervous about buying furniture they can’t see or try out first.

Because of this, warranties and return policies have to be far more generous and consumer-friendly.

This statement applies to Direct to Consumer manufacturers, not to Direct to Consumer retailers.

DTC Manufacturers, especially custom manufacturers, have far more flexibility in how they can solve problems for their customers.

Like other furniture companies, DreamSofa’s warranty and return policies are not all listed in one place or easy to find on the website.

I contacted the factory to get some clarification.

DreamSofa’s Sales Manager, Ryan Giordano, responded with a complete statement of the company’s Warranty, Return Policy, and their DESIGNxCHANGE Program.

His statement is included below. It has been reformatted, but not edited for content.

It includes all the restrictions and exclusions that are normally hidden in places nobody ever reads. There are a lot fewer of them than most other furniture companies.

DreamSofa’s DESIGNxCHANGE program is unique in the furniture industry and includes customer benefits I’ve never seen or heard of previously.

Warranty

I think one of the defining aspects of DreamSofa’s approach, which genuinely distinguishes us, is our comprehensive warranty that encompasses all our pieces.

The reality is that even with the most finely built pieces of furniture, there will always be wear and tear over time. Life happens with its myriad of unforeseen issues.

Our goal has always been that when a client purchases a piece from us, it signifies a relationship with the company that should something arise in the future, we have an established system in place to address their concerns with a solution to address the issue at hand.

Delving into specifics, each piece is backed by a lifetime warranty, encompassing every aspect from framing and craftsmanship to spring systems.

Moreover, our foams have a dedicated 3-year warranty. After this period, pieces are integrated into our DesignXChange program.

DESIGNxCHANGE Program

Through our DESIGNxCHANGE program, we provide free exchanges during the warranty phase for any cushion deemed to be sagging or sinking due to manufacturing defects.

Past the initial three-year warranty period, foam replacements are typically priced at $49, and cover replacements at $99, although prices may fluctuate depending on the style.

Each client’s dedicated CARE agent will collaborate with them to identify the optimal cushion replacements tailored to their needs.

*Goes without saying our warranties are barring any product abuse, or misuse which will be determined during inspection.

Return Policy

Absolutely, any standard piece can be returned within a 100-day window and will be refunded, minus the shipping fees. The client simply needs to notify us within 100 days of receiving the product, and they can proceed with the return process.

As you’re aware, because of the multitude of custom options we have available, some of our pieces are extensively customized, from custom dimensions, sleepers, added buttons, nailheads, and more. In these instances, clients can still return these customized pieces, subject to a 25% restocking and shipping fees.

Due to the high level of customization, we offer, some pieces are tailored in such a way that they are designed inch by inch to a client’s specific requirements and home.

While mass-produced items might be returned easily, when a piece is tailored to such specific criteria, this means our return options are slightly more limited.

Nevertheless, even in these situations, the return option is in place to assist. In the event of an issue, our team is always immediately available to find a solution and resolve any concerns.

To provide some context, in the majority of cases, returns arise due to accessibility issues or an error in selecting the orientation of a sectional. As you know, such issues are challenging to rectify without rebuilding the piece entirely.

In these instances, our team is always prepared to address the concerns and collaborate with the client to find a satisfactory solution, whether that involves adjusting the existing piece or creating a new one tailored to the customer’s requirements.

Ethan Allen vs. Bassett vs. Dream Sofa

Quality & Value Summary

The overall quality of all three sofas is very close.

All are hand-crafted and custom-built to last 15+ years if purchased with the top grade optional cushions.

All three brands provide free professional designer assistance.

Ethan Allen advantages:

  • Widest selection of fabrics.
  • Priced $280 below Bassett (at Sale prices.)
  • Available in 4 sizes.
  • 1 deeper seat depth and 2 cushion upgrade options are available.
  • Best-known brand name with a long-term reputation for quality.
  • The sofa can be seen and tried out in Ethan Allen retail stores.

Bassett advantages:

  • Coil spring foundation is slightly more comfortable than sinuous wire used by Ethan Allen & DreamSofa.
  • Available in 2 sizes.
  • Soft foam cushion options are available.
  • Bassett is a well-known brand. But it also makes lower quality furniture.
  • The sofa can be seen and tried out in Bassett retail stores.

DreamSofa advantages:

  • The price (with Plush 15+ year cushions and Base grade fabric) is $1267 less than Bassett
  • The price (with Plush 15+ year cushions and Base grade fabric) is $987 less than Ethan Allen
  • Available in 4 standard sizes + additional custom sizes.
  • More custom options are available, including 5 seat cushion options and 7 seat depth options.
  • Solid hardwood frame.
  • Best warranty and customer return policy
  • DESIGNxCHANGE program for inexpensively replacing cushion cores and covers if needed.

4 thoughts on “Ethan Allen, Bassett or DreamSofa? Which Makes the Best Quality & Value Custom Sofas?”

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  2. This is a comically relevant post for me, thank you! I love the Spencer but struggled with their fabric choices and pricing. It appears that the Dresden says 29″ seat depth on their page so I had initially discounted it as an alternative and was instead looking at the Cannes.

    I’ve ordered swatches and sent Ryan a message, but one thing that’s really frustrating me about Dreamsofa is their digital swatches looking nothing like the ‘applied’ fabric on their models. Sometimes they’re completely different, and I don’t get it.

    Reply
    • Dreamsofa is an amazing company, but they have so many different styles, sizes, and custom options, it’s impossible to navigate through the website without assistance.

      They have dozens of items and options that aren’t even shown on the website (including optional seat depths up to 48″ for every style.)

      Ryan will be happy to speak with you and answer all your questions.

      Nobody should ever buy seating without first seeing actual fabric swatches. Colors on computers are completely unreliable. Ryan will send you swatches.

      Reply

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