When Customers Share Our Values

Recently we have noticed a trend at the Oak Brook store. Customers are returning their fabric samples when they have completed their selections. This is a great example of our customers sharing and supporting Room & Board’s long-held belief in sustainability.

It may not seem like a major event, but each customer who is returning their samples is contributing to a collective effort, which can have a large impact. Room & Board has always believed that small actions can lead to big changes. It is exciting and energizing to see our customers share our belief in sustainability and, even more importantly, to act upon it!



A Testament to Our Product

Last night, I sat (in my Free Brady t-shirt) on my York 87” sofa watching the Patriots put on a clinic with a victory over the Pittsburg Steelers for a wonderful 3 hours and 44 minutes. My body and more specifically, my back, never felt better. This sofa has withstood six seasons of Game of Thrones (and counting! Yaas. Winter is coming), every Monday night Bachelor viewing party along with all the franchise spinoffs, Kardashian Sundays, and now ANOTHER New England AFC championship. #wheresroger We’re on to Houston. #SBLI

We pride ourselves in creating life long customers by producing timeless, American-made, environmentally sustainable furniture. I am approaching my third year with Room & Board and my York sofa, and I can confidently confirm the quality of our product due to personal experience. Fortunately, our stocked options are available in 7-10 days, just in time to watch our Tom Terrific take on Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. You too can jump on the band wagon and enjoy the Brady revenge tour from the comfort of Room & Board’s offerings. I know I will be! #driveforfive

Blending in at Room & Board

One of the important skills of being a Design Associate is enjoying the interplay of color and pattern, and finding ways to make those elements work together. As a team, we’re in tune to those elements in all of our surroundings. Photos frequently get taken and shared when two of us are dressed similarly or when we’re dressed like the product! Enjoy some photos I’ve taken over the last year of staff members matching product in the showroom.

This is Jason and Jeff blending in with our “Beach House” color story in the Complete Your Home shop. The Beach House has disappeared in 2017, at least for the winter, but this is a nice reminder of sunnier times:


Here, Janice is getting Zen on the Hess sofa in Kellen fabric. Kellen was a new addition for us mid-year in 2016, and has carried over on Hess into 2017. Last autumn, the Hess was accessorized with a bright orange pillow and a mini-pumpkin plant that reminded me of tomatillos. Janice’s bright sweater was yet another pop of color in the room.


That sweater had even more in common with the Murphy sofa in Tatum Poppy!


Kelly also had an almost exact match with the Hess accessories when she wore a scarf that looked like it was cut from an Illusion pillow:


Sonoma is known as “Sparkles” in the showroom for her love of glittery clothing, so Christmas decorations gave her a chance to blend in:


Of course there are always people who don’t like having their photo taken, but Heather agreed to pose with the pillows she matched on the Grove bed, as long as it was a blurry action shot, so she couldn’t be recognized!


And on that fun note, I’m off to explore more of the new offering for 2017. Maybe I’ll find my own perfect match!



Design and Real Estate Markets

We sell furniture, so of course, it’s natural for customers to come into our showroom and ask for design help in selecting the right pieces for their homes. With time and experience, however, Design Associates dip their toes into so much more than furnishing interiors.

Room & Board Design Associates have diverse work histories. Many come from retail, the furniture industry or even straight from college. Some were artists or teachers in their former lives. A passion for beautiful spaces and an innate sense of design is what brings us here. Over time, we start to engage in reading customers’ floor plans and space planning.

In urban areas such as Boston, high-rise luxury buildings are being constructed faster than ever, changing the skyline like never before. As units are sold, many buyers come to Room & Board to furnish them. Working with customers from these new developments allows us to become  familiar with the building, the layouts and the areas of town, but also with their occupants. We get to know the new landscape, the revitalized neighborhoods and how they affect the culture of our city. This, in effect, gives us first-hand knowledge of what is happening in the real estate market.

Many of our customers learn of Room & Board from word of mouth from happy customers. We get to know our customers and their neighbors and we ultimately begin to understand real estate trends in ways we never imagined. When customers are new in town and come to us to furnish their homes, we’re very proud to share our passion for design as well as our knowledge of our communities.

Just another wonderful aspect of working for Room & Board.

19 years and counting . . .

I have been a Room & Board staff member for 19 years and there are many good reasons why that is true. The number one thing that keeps me coming back is the mutual respect we share in the store and amongst all staff members. This gets extended to customers, our vendors and all people we come in contact with in our everyday lives.

There is never any finger pointing when a mistake has been made. We are all personally accountable and make sure we don’t repeat the same problems. We are entrusted to do business in our own unique way, working with customers based on who we are instead of a vision created for us. We are all unique individuals, we enjoy each others differences and respect our diversity. It is a totally enjoyable environment where there are many laughs and good conversation. This extends to our customers whom we enjoy, get to know and help deeply.

We are asked for our perspectives on many levels when it comes to our interactions with customers. We have a book where we record customer requests and they are looked at and taken in to consideration and those suggestions often become part of our collection.

We drive our own careers with Priorities & Measures, a yearly exercise where we identify ways we wish to grow in our jobs. Within the store, we each take on other responsibilities that contribute to the overall function of the store. I personally am involved in training new staff members, ordering and organizing our fabric and leather swatch books and helping with the Design Center.

When I asked newer staff members what stands out to them, the answer I get is how surprised they are to actually get an hour lunch break. In so many jobs, it would be non-existent or they would have to punch out for their half an hour. Furthermore, we have that hour to ourselves and if something comes up, it is taken care of by our peers.

With the advent of profit sharing I believe we will take even more ownership in our job. It has been an amazing experience working for Room & Board. Each day is a pleasure. Thank you!

Clearing the air

If you’re a fan of Mad Men, it’s hard to imagine a midcentury interior without the cloud of cigarette smoke swirling above the heads of those seated on the very stylish furniture. In the 1950’s and 60’s cigarette smoking was considered glamorous and cool. Anybody who was anybody was a smoker. James Dean and Audrey Hepburn, to name just a few. Most everyone was smoking or aspiring to smoke – how many old movies have we seen where kids can’t wait to try smoking, just like their parents?

My parents were young smokers, but quit cold-turkey when my older brother was born and his little lungs had very little tolerance for cigarette smoke. As a child of the 60’s I don’t remember my parents ever smoking. I do, however, remember lots of family gatherings surrounded by a foggy haze of smoke from relatives.

Little by little, it has become clear that smoking is harmful to the body – both for the person smoking and the people around them. Contemporary research and information shows us how damaging and life-shortening cigarette smoking can be.

It’s for that reason that as of January 1, 2018, all Room & Board facilities will be tobacco-free. This will include cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. The buildings have been smoke-free environments for years, but this policy will include outside areas, parking lots, alleys, etc.

Yes, it starts in 2018. As I write this it will be pretty much over a year from now that this policy activates. The understanding is that it can take a while to kick a habit that many have had for years, often working through several failed attempts before finding a treatment that sticks. Smoking can be a tenacious monkey on your back.

We also understand that being smoke free benefits not just the staff member but those that love and care about the staff member, at work and at home. It’s important to your quality of life. For this reason Room & Board is offering lots of support like telephonic tobacco cessation counseling, access to state-sponsored programs, doctor prescribed Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products at no cost through our company insurance, and even support for alternative treatments such as hypnosis or acupuncture if traditional treatments aren’t successful.

The good things in life endure – like classic, contemporary midcentury inspired furniture . . . ahem. And those things that we once thought were good and sexy and cool, but now know are harmful, well, those things have had their time. It’s time for a journey forward to a happier, healthier tomorrow.


Chicago Tribune Features Blog


For the first time ever, Room & Board has a Staff Member Store showcasing a plethora of branded merchandise. In other words, swag. Now, we can rep Room & Board all day erry day. Look fly in your R & B fleece. Half zip or full? Why not both?! Keep the brewskis on point in a fashion-forward R & B cooler! Yaas. Want to look boss at the gym? We can get swoll with a stylin Room & Board duffle. Live in a rainy climate? There’s even an umbrella. What about color coordination…? Per usual, the offering specializes in grey neutrals. Duh. But, most importantly, who is the hunk modeling the men’s line? We would like a clothing how-to-wear demo stat. Worried about sizing, especially when taking Thanksgiving into account, or just want to check quality and feel? A sample pack of apparel will arrive at each store location soon. We can only hope Room & Board matching PJ sets are in the works along with corresponding Snuggies as we approach this holiday season. #swaggeronahundredthousandtrillion