Best store for new furniture
You've seen the ads on TV -- two guys who manage to walk the fine line between sly and smarmy -- and you probably know that the stores are famous for their charity work and their employee-friendly policies. But if you live in Boston proper, you might have dismissed Jordan's Furniture as too suburban. Well, plenty of Phoenix readers disagree, and they've put the Waltham-based chain on top for the second consecutive year. For good reason: once you make peace with the singing Elvis doll in the Natick store, you'll find room after room of home furnishings that really do reflect all tastes. There are deep leather chairs with overtones of Wall Street, chaises longues suitable for an opium den, and all-American fare like big floral curtains and matching his-and-hers La-Z-Boy sets. What really makes Jordan's worth the drive, however, is the absence of sticker shock. Serious, well-made furniture is simply cheaper here than at most places. For the price of one trendy item you saw in Wallpaper magazine, you could come here and furnish an entire room.
Once again, Crate & Barrel takes the runner-up spot, thanks to its simple and elegant line of apartment-ready furniture. This year, the chain undoubtedly got a boost from its new three-level superstore in the Back Bay. You may not satisfy your hunger for kitsch here, but if you're the type who moves frequently, rest assured that nothing beats C&B tables and couches for fitting in anywhere.
Jordan's Furniture, 289 Moody Street, Waltham, (781) 894-6100; Route 9, Natick, (508) 424-0088; and other locations. Crate & Barrel, 777 Boylston Street, Boston, (617) 262-8700; 1045 Mass Ave, Cambridge, (617) 547-3994; The Mall at Chestnut Hill, Newton, (617) 964-1800; and other locations.