Pulling together a custom look might take longer than in the past, but designer Erin Mixson says it's worth the wait. Photo by Melissa Oivanki.

Your new furniture might not arrive until next year. Here’s why.

They say patience is a virtue, but in the world of COVID-19-related supply chain issues and delays, it’s likely to be running thin. From toilet paper to clothing, you name it, it’s delayed. However, when it comes to furniture, you won’t just be waiting a few weeks. According to interior designer Erin Mixson of Erin Mixson Interiors, you could likely be waiting an entire calendar year for some custom pieces—and it’s not your designer’s fault.

Erin Mixson. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, most companies shut down for one to two months, and in that time, they furloughed employees,” Mixson explains. “When everything opened up, there were record-breaking orders but these companies were also short staffed. That started the domino effect of delays.”

With the quarantine-induced interest in interior refreshes, in combination with an early 2021 ice storm that damaged a factory that makes a chemical integral to cushion foam, plus shipping backups that continue to mount, furniture lead times have steadily increased from their normal 4 to 6 weeks to become 12 to 16 weeks and now a 46-week lead, unheard of in the past. “I could grow a baby before I can get a sofa,” says Mixson with a laugh. “It’s outrageous.”

But even with lengthy lead times, delivery dates are not always clear cut. Mixson says that it’s not uncommon nowadays for a company to keep extending an item’s anticipated arrival date without much explanation. “This is even happening with brands like Pottery Barn,” she explains. “But what clients need to know is that when you work with a designer, we’re your advocates in those situations. So much of my job has become sitting on the phone with these companies to get answers, and then finding replacements with shorter lead times. We can troubleshoot and work to get you that item you want in the best possible timeframe.”

What doesn’t suffer despite the delays, Mixson says, is the overall design. While adjustments have to be made and the vision might shift with availability, she says the job of the designer is to still bring that desired look to life, even if it has to happen in stages over several months.

“The end result is the same, and that’s what clients should keep in mind during the process,” Mixson explains. “We were used to doing these big, one-day installs, but that just isn’t the reality anymore. We are making do, and once everything finally does come in, it’s beautiful. It’s worth the wait.”

For more insight from Mixson, check out stories from the inRegister archives on how to choose wallpaper, designing with pink, and setting a budget.