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Comparing Ethan Allen Sofas to Pottery Barn Sofas

Leah James

Well-known furniture manufacturers Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn sell exclusively through their respective showrooms and websites. Though founded in 1949, Pottery Barn gained steam in the 1990s as a go-to source for trendy pieces for young professionals and families. Ethan Allen launched its first furniture collection in the 1930s. Once known primarily for Early American and Georgian reproductions, Ethan Allen started marketing to younger customers in the early 1990s. All information is current as of 2013.

Ethan Allen Paloma Three-Cushion Sofa

Pottery Barn became a trendy store in the 1990s.

Kiln-dried, seven-ply, engineered wood frame with reinforced mortise-and-tenon joints Heavy-gauge, tempered, drop-in coil-spring units in seat decks Sinuous springs in seat backs High-resiliency foam-core cushions topped with soft foam with polyester fiber wrap Three loose seat cushions and tight back 88 inches wide, 37 inches high and 38 inches deep Available in leather or fabric

Pottery Barn Manhattan Leather Sofa

Engineered wood frame with mortise-and-tenon joints Steel sinuous springs, reinforced in seating deck with heavy-gauge tie wire High-density foam-core cushions with polyester wrap Optional upgrades to spring-core, down or combination cushions Three loose seat cushions and tight back 86 inches wide, 34 inches high and 40 inches deep Available in leather

What the Sofas Do

Ethan Allen’s Paloma and Pottery Barn’s Manhattan sofas both feature sophisticated 1930s-inspired styling that works for a variety of decorating styles. The lines are sleek enough to complement contemporary interiors, yet curvy enough for traditional and transitional settings.

Though both sofas have engineered wood frames, Ethan Allen kiln dries its frames and reinforces the joints for a sturdier, stronger sofa that should last longer than its Pottery Barn equivalent. Ethan Allen’s drop-in spring units, which consist of individual helical coils arranged in grids, create a more comfortable seat than Pottery Barn’s sinuous springs. Sinuous coils, which are long S-shaped coils arranged in front-to-back strips across the seating deck, only move up and down. Helical coils also move from side to side and from front to back to cushion and support you as you sit.

How Do the Products Differ?

Though similar in design, Ethan Allen’s Paloma and Pottery Barn’s Manhattan have slight stylistic differences. The Paloma has outward-flaring front feet and a serpentine back that’s taller in the center. The Manhattan features tapered square feet and a gently curved back that’s nearly straight across the top.

Ethan Allen allows for more customization. The Paloma comes in a choice of 57 leathers or 1,207 fabrics. Pottery Barn’s Manhattan has just four leather cover options. Ethan Allen also lets you choose between 17 wood finishes for the Paloma’s exposed feet. Pottery Barn only sells the Manhattan with a dark brown foot. Ethan Allen also lets you add contrasting welt and nail-head trim.


Ethan Allen’s extensive fabric and leather collections are graded with letters. A-grade fabrics cost the least, and the price goes up incrementally as you progress through the alphabet. Custom options and cushion upgrades also increase the price. Unless you choose from the lowest-grade fabrics or leathers, expect to pay more for the Ethan Allen Paloma, which starts at $2,699. Expect to pay double or triple that starting price if you choose pricey covers and upgrades The list price for Pottery Barn’s Manhattan is $2,999, no matter which cover you choose.

Delivery Times

Ethan Allen estimates delivery on a custom-order Paloma sofa at nine weeks, but a 12-week wait isn't unusual. Pottery Barn typically delivers the Manhattan sofa in six to eight weeks, but a delay could extend the time to 10 weeks.

Who Is It Best For?

Pottery Barn's Manhattan sofa is a good choice for a shopper who wants a stylish look at a moderate price. Ethan Allen's Paloma is better suited for someone who wants a customized look and feel -- as well as an investment-quality sofa worth reupholstering when the original cover becomes worn.