Hard To Find Casegoods – Secret Sources and A Warning!

Hi Everyone,

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago we explored 100 or so of my favorite home furnishings pieces. That included upholstery, side, coffee, console tables, dining room and bedroom furniture which is mostly beds and night tables/chests.

However, there are some areas that have not been represented. The most prominent are casegoods.


What are casegoods?


Well, broadly, if you don’t already know, casegoods are any piece of furniture that’s not upholstered or that one would sit on. So, some classify tables as casegoods. However, for our purposes, we will leave tables out.

Therefore, casegoods are all of the other hard-surface pieces we use for some kind of storage. That would be all types of free-standing cabinetry, armoires, hutches, breakfronts, china cabinets, sideboards, buffets, bookcases, etageres, chests, dressers, etc.


Laurel, maybe you can clear this casegoods question up for me. Over the years I have heard of the terms, buffet, sideboard, server, and credenza used for the same piece of furniture. But, are they the same and if not, what are the differences?


Gosh, that is such a good question, I pretend asked myself. ;]

A lot of people use these terms interchangeably. It’s a little like which fork do I use?

But, here’s my basic understanding.


  • Buffets and Servers are only used in dining rooms and tend to have long, thin legs. Servers are usually smaller than buffets.
  • Sideboards can also be used in a dining room or in a living room. However, it usually provides more storage and has shorter legs. I also usually think of a sideboard as more casual than a buffet or server.
  • A credenza always has short legs (or no legs) and it sometimes has sliding doors. And, usually, they are less deep than a sideboard. You can use a credenza anywhere, but oftentimes they can be found in a home office.


However, I wouldn’t get all hung up on the terminology. Just call these types of case goods whatever you’re used to calling them.


As for bookcases and etageres, most know that a bookcase is enclosed on three sides, but an etagere is open on at least two sides. Sometimes there is a decorative design on the opposing sides of the piece. Therefore, an etagere is better suited for heavier decorative items. However, books can be stored in an etagere, if you use bookends.




I feel a responsibility to share this information. Although, many of you already understand the dangers of case goods that may be top-heavy. And, it doesn’t take much to make a piece top-heavy to a toddler who’s decided to use the little chest in his bedroom as a jungle-jim.


 Little toddler boy opening a drawer. Casegoods can be dangerous! Domestic accident. Dangerous situation at home.
But, did you know that every year in the United States thousands of children are sent to the ER because a piece of heavy furniture fell on them? And, in the last two decades, dozens have lost their lives.


For years, there has been talk of legislation to help prevent such tragedies.


And, finally, it took yet another tragedy for a father to crusade to change the laws to help prevent another death to a young child. Thankfully, his efforts have not been in vain.

In fact, here in New York State, only two weeks ago on August 13, 2019 a new law (Harper’s Law) was signed by Governor Cuomo. This law requires furniture retailers to sell tip-restraint devices for certain furniture. You can read the bill here.


The law is named after three-year-old Harper Fried of Monroe, NY, who died in November 2016 when a dresser in her room tipped over. It was Harper’s father who made this happen.


In 2016 over 30,000 children visited the emergency room due to a furniture or television tip-over accident. About 33 of those accidents resulted in the death of a child.

via Harpersmiles.com


Now, this bill is certainly a step in the right direction. However, it only applies to casegoods used for storing clothing which are at least 27″ high.


Of course, the list goes on and on to the super-top-heavy case goods such as bookcases, armoires, china cabinets. And, did you know that free-standing ranges are a tipping hazard?

More information to help prevent these types of accidents can be found at anchorit.gov.

And yes, for all new furniture, bedroom pieces will be sold with anchoring devices. There is also, I believe, Federal legislation in the works. And, learn about the dangers of some IKEA furniture.


However, what if you’d like to anchor case goods you already own?


There are 100s of furniture anchoring devices available on Amazon. Of course, please read reviews to see how well they perform.


Now for the fun part.


Today, I created a new page under the favorite home furnishings tab in the main menu. And yes, it features many never before seen casegoods. The menu item and link to it is casegoods, bookcases, étagères and desks.

In addition, I added a whole bunch of things to the mostly casual and timeless dining room page.


A couple of the new casegoods on that page are more formal.


Burled Walnut Glass Door Breakfront Bookcase - Elegant reproduction furniture - English Classics - Shop - Etsy

Burled Walnut Glass Door Breakfront Bookcase


Two of them are beautiful hand-made pieces by one of my favorite sources in Laurel’s Rolodex.  That source is  English Classics. Fortunately, English Classics has an Etsy shop, so it is is easy to order online from this source.

Most of the English Classics pieces are antique or vintage. And, I think that the prices are very fair. They have a wide variety of casegoods, tables and chairs, as well.

Here’s how to mix dining room chairs like a pro!

However, if you need a custom piece, they’ll gladly build to your exact specifications, whatever you like. In fact, several years ago, they made this piece for a client of mine in Connecticut.


So, as you can see, they can also do a painted custom piece for you, as well.


All you will need to do is send them a sample of the color and type of finish you’d like. In addition, I believe they can use different types of wood and of course, do different stains.

For more great shops on Etsy, please check out 33 of my favorite Etsy shops


As an aside: I was just thinkng… I know that a lot of you read this blog on your mobile devices.


Unfortunately, we cannot have desktop versions of our websites any longer, on mobile. This is because of the draconian Mr. Google. God forbid we actually need to turn our tiny phone screen 90 degrees!

So, although not impossible, it is more difficult to navigate through the various pages on your cellphone. The menu is in the “burger” near the top of your screen. (not the one in the browser window that says “reader view.”)

However, you will have a much better experience, IMO on a desktop/laptop computer. Or, a tablet is okay too. It’s just smaller.

Well, just my two-cents regarding blog reading. Of course, if your mobile device is all you have, that’s fine too.

Please also check out the newly updated hot sales!




PS: Re: my mom. It is all incredibly surreal. I have been in touch with my sister and hospice nurse daily. Lee, my mom, is now in a coma, heavily medicated and at peace. We are expecting her to pass within the next day or two. Thank you all for your support and love at this difficult time.


59 Responses

  1. My sincerest sympathies & prayers go out to you & yours, Laurel. Your love for your mommy is a credit to you both.

    It’s interesting that you should do a post on casegoods right now, as my own memories of my parents are inextricably tied to furniture. It’s all I’ve had of them for my entire adult life, as they passed when I was in my mid-twenties. They collected antiques, and I particularly love my mother’s buffet- well, that’s what she called it, anyway.

    It’s a quartersawn oak Victorian behemoth that was so huge that when we we sold the house, & pulled it away from the wall, we found my dad had simply painted around it when they repainted the house interior! Hah.

    The original wall color was still there behind that thing.I just drove halfway across the country to rescue a bow-front china cabinet & secretary my sis didn’t want anymore. And I’m in the middle of restoring my dad’s roll-top desk, which I treasure partly because he wrote on the inside of the drawer. I realize now I’m just trying to re-create my childhood home, as they both passed when I was far too young to even really know them.

    God bless you & yours, Laurel. I know you, too, have the very best of memories to take forward. It’s a very sad time, but we are the lucky ones, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

    1. Hi Danielle,

      What beautiful memories you have and I love that you’re treasuring your parent’s furniture. I’m so sorry about their untimely deaths, however. As they say; “the good die young.” It seems that way, often.

  2. Hello Laurel, Safety as always is consideration number one. There are many ways to secure tall furniture, including simple L-brackets (of course, correctly fastened so that they stay in the wall under stress). In Taiwan there is an extra reason to do so–even medium-sized earthquakes can topple furniture or knock things off shelves.

    This all should be part of the general decor plan so that safety features don’t stick out or appear an afterthought.
    p.s. I feel sorry for the difficult period you are going through. Perhaps, though, it is Lee’s motherly influence that is translated in this post into concern for your readers’ safety.

  3. I feel I know you as a friend just by reading your wonderful blog. Now we have more in common our mothers. My mom is on the brink of losing her beautiful Essence and your mother, your mommy has passed over…away from this earth to the greatest mystery. I believe something better. My mommy hangs on to life and I feel the sadness of knowing it’s not really living but also know I can still see her and touch her. I am so sorry for your loss. We have only one mommy, one person who loves unconditionally who birthed us so no matter what it’s significant. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal. It helps ME not feel so alone. please know many of us readers grieve with you. God bless.

  4. I just saw that you mother is now at peace. I’m so sorry for what all of you have been/are going through, and I hope you can find peace, comfort, and healing. Many prayers for your family.

    You are such a gift to your readers, and I’m sure your mom was so very proud of you.

  5. I’m sorry to read about your Mom’s health, Laurel. I will offer my prayers for both of you and your family.

    I second the L-brackets, the museum gel and/or museum putty, anchors, and tethers. The museum putty really is handy. It’s how my house full of small children can have bedside lamps and a few pottery collections—anchor etagere to wall, putty pottery bowl to plate stand, putty plate stand to anchored etagere, squirt climbers with a spray bottle to discourage behavior. Just kidding on that last one haha. But the museum putty really is great.

  6. When I worked in commercial design in Atlanta, we did a couple hospitality projects and used English Classics for some pieces. 23 y.o. me loved their showroom at the Mart, and they were great to work with. Thank you for the reminder and the link to their Etsy site.

    Sending prayers to you and your family. Take good care of yourself.

    1. Hi Joni,

      Her passing is imminent, I was told by the nurse, about 12 hours ago. And, I had a report from a close friend who didn’t recognize her. But, she’s still hanging on.

  7. Hi Laurel,
    I just wanted to add that refrigerators can tip as well. It happened to my daughter when she was opening the door of a large sub zero. It had never been properly anchored to the wall. Fortunately, she had people at her home that came to her rescue.
    Laurel, I hope you have a place of peace and comfort you can go to even if it’s only to look at the sky.
    Love to you,

  8. When we were young children, my brother and sister decided to sit in the bottom drawer of a dresser that had a fishbowl on top. The whole thing fell onto them and I screamed for our mother.

    Mom opened the door to see my brother and sister with a dresser leaning on their little backs, and the goldfish flapping on the floor among the shattered glass of the fishbowl.

    It was the first time I’d ever seen my mom look like a deer in the headlights. Thank goodness she pulled herself together and pushed the dresser upright and rescued the goldfish.

    1. Hi Lorri,

      Oh, gosh! She saved the fish too! That made me chuckle a little. I had a couple of goldfish on different occasions. Average life expectancy was about 48 hours. lol

  9. Ooooo. I saw lots to love on that casegoods page. Especially like the 2-drawer dresser in gray wash; a pair would be fantastic as night stands. And I too am sending up positives for you and your family, Laurel.

  10. Laurel, my thoughts are with you and your sister in these days, and those to come.

    At 6, while playing with my 4 year old brother, I survived a tallish (4.5-5 ft)dresser falling on my lower jaw, knocking out my two permanent lower front teeth. Amazingly they were transplanted and I still have them 50+ years later! I live in earthquake country, and my constant thought as I look at design is ‘well someone is going to be crushed by that stunning large piece in the middle of the room unable to be anchored’ or ‘that beautiful lithograph leaning on the ledge above the bed is going to end up on someone’s head or worse’. Even outside of major earthquake zones it’s wise to anchor.
    You and Margaret are both right about the details on how to anchor.
    Beyond furniture – objects and pictures need attention. Museum gel is excellent, and those picture hooks with clips built in are a pain, but work. I’m not sure what to do about leaning pictures/art – so would love suggestions on that if others have them.

  11. Surreal is an excellent way to describe where you are with your mom at this time. I’m so sorry. Please be very gentle with yourself. No matter how old our parents are, no matter how ready we think we are, it’s such a blow.

  12. Thank you for this informative article!
    I am thinking of you and sending prayers …I know what this waiting feels like . God Bless you all.

  13. Thank you for this post and all the posts you’ve continued to provide even while you are struggling through such an emotionally distressing time. I’m so very sorry about your mother. You and your sister continue to be in my thoughts during this extremely difficult time.

    1. Hi Patricia,

      I know some might find it strange, but by not sticking to the program, as designed, it would make everything far worse. But, I so appreciate your kind thoughts.

  14. Sending prayers your way dear Laurel. Having just lost my stepmother I’m a little ‘tender’ on this subject.

  15. Hi Laurel,

    Glad your mom is at peace. I lost my mother a couple years ago. I still miss her.

    I just want to add a quick note to how to anchor your tall furniture pieces safely to a wall. Many items can be anchored just using a simple L bracket of the appropriate size- one side is anchored to the wall and the other to the top of the furniture. Unless its a valuable piece, no one is going to see the hole you drill in the top. Another item you can use is a door hinge – this offers a little more flexibility. But the most important thing is to ANCHOR your screws into the wall. I see so many heavy items hung on walls with screws that have not been anchored. An unanchored screw will not hold up your bookcase or tall storage unit loaded down with heavy items. Take the time to drill a 1/4” hole, put in a1/4” anchor and #8 screws at least 1 1/2” long. If your wall is concrete or lathe and plaster, you may need to use a concrete drill bit.

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Thank you for the info, however, if those companies wish not to get sued, I imagine that they put in all sorts of information and instructions in their packaging.

      However, despite that, I would recommend, unless one is super-duper-proficient to have the anchors/brackets professionally installed and attached to their piece of furniture. After having attended 100s of window treatment installations, I’ve come to realize that the majority of homes are made out of cardboard. Or, so it would appear. Butterfly anchors R Us!

  16. Laurel, thank you for emphasizing furniture safety. I was a paramedic in the suburbs of New York for (too) many years, and witnessed terrible injuries and even a death when children climbed on furniture that tipped.

    I had a new range delivered a few weeks ago, and tip-proofing brackets were included. I hope people use these devices. Make sure you get sturdy ones, not flimsy fakes from cheap sources!

    And prayers for a peaceful passing for your mother.

  17. Laurel, thanks for this post. Wonderful as always!!

    Can I say I love 2 things about all your posts NOT having to do with design?

    The first is that your links all open into OTHER PAGES. Awesome. So I can cross-reference back to this page.

    Second, your font is not too small!!! It is so hard to have huuuuuge pictures and tiny print.

    Just thought I’d let you know one reader appreciates those touches!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for appreciating that. And yes, the idea is to make it easy for people to hang around for a while. That’s why you don’t see social media icons either. I don’t want them to go to facebook. I went them to come here FROM facebook. The only exception is Pinterest. But, I get a ton of traffic from Pinterest. And, not that many actually go there from here, anyway.

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Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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