“ Brand: Argos / Type: Bedroom Furniture „
Not so far from where I live, near the M5 motorway and yet still in a part of fairly rural Gloucestershire, far away from the Cotswold-stone villages up on the escarpment, there's a little hidden gem of market town that's still pretty much 100% 'truly local.' In this town, one of charity groups holds a second-hand furniture sale every Saturday without fail from abour 8.30 in the morning. Old wardrobes and sofas and chests of drawers and ugly mustard-coloured 1960s teak units that are just on the cusp of becoming trendy once more routinely turn up for sale here, all available at a price that's usually less than £20 per item. We've got quite a bit of all right to pretty good stuff there over the years, which I mention in relation to this furniture review because having purchased an Argos Auckland chest of drawers (flat packed) for around £80 and finally assembled it, now that I see what the blinkin' piece of tat is like in the flesh (so to speak) I wish I'd saved the money and gone for something from the Lion's furniture sale instead.
So. Argos Auckland Bedroom Furniture looks OK in the pictures in the Argos catalogue, but it is actually pretty nasty stuff. The colour is completely different from what's depicted in the catalogue illustrations: instead of a nicely streaked coffee-coloured stain effect, the stuff is of a matt shade that's very dark and completely uniform brown. It looks quite a lot like the fake plastic 'mahogany effect' veneer they put over tat furniture made from MDF. Even the drawer knobs, being coloured in matt mahogany as they are, are a let down. The five drawer tallboy unit I've got from this range turns out to be exactly the kind of mass-produced cheap fake-wood-looking rubbish I've been seeking to avoid having as furniture in my house since - well, forever, really.
Worse than the ugly staining is to come when you open the drawers of the unit. I bought this furniture on the understanding that it was made from (stained) pine wood - as per the catalogue description - but the drawer bottoms (and back of the unit) are made from horrid, horrid fibreboard instead. I don't want my clothes coming into contact with that: so I'm going to have to go all Kirsty Alsopp and put in twee little scented paper drawer liners or some such to hide it.
It took a whole afternoon to assemble the flat-packed five-drawer unit as the number of parts and assembly instructions were frankly, horrendous. I'm aware that £80 isn't considered a particularly expensive price to pay for furniture in general (a basic assumption the validity of which I'd question, actually) but for that amount of money I'd certainly expect something of better quality that this rubbish from Argos. Argos catalogue shop provides certain items economically, and rather well, but flat-packed furniture is not, based on my experience with this chest of drawers, one of their specialities.
I wouldn't recommend anyone to buy anything from this range - unless it goes on sale and everything's priced down to well under £20 per unit. With this Auckland bedroom furniture, I consider myself to have been well and truly robbed.
My landlord allowed me to choose some new bedroom furniture for the new year.
I had been shopping around for about a month before finally deciding on a 3 piece set from Argos. The Auckland set seemed very good value at just under £200 for a wardrobe, chest of draws and bedside table.
It was easy to order from the Argos website and the items were delivered within 3 days.
However, on receiving the good I was fairly disappointed.
The wood they are made from is not at all good quality. It is a lot darker than the photograph shows, almost black.
Although it has a glossy finished look there are areas of unfinished wood, scratches and even a large indentation in the top of the wardrobe door.
The backing to all the furniture is a piece of that flexible mdf chip board - the sort you expect to get on a cheap bookshelf. I think it's fine for the bedside table but you would expect a wardrobe to have a wooden back. It is unlikely to last for more than a couple of years, and I imagine it will be very annoying when it finally falls off!
It was also frustrating to put together. The screws provided were made from bad quality, soft metal. This meant that our average quality screwdriver was made from a harder metal and destroyed the 'X' in the top of the screw. This made it very hard to work with. One of the screw holes was also in the wrong place and we had to drill a new one in.
My final criticism, which I mention more as an observation (as it was my fault for not checking) is that furniture is a lot smaller than you'd expect. Argos obviously provide measurements before you buy, but it's hard to invision how big something will be just by using a tape measure in the space it will end up in. The 3 door wardrobe is only the size of an average 2 door wardrobe. The draws in the 5 door chest are very shallow, so that you can't really fit much in each one.
Now that it's finished and set up it does look acceptable, or even good, but if you examine it up close you can see the imperfections.
If I had bought this with my own money I would not have been happy with it and would probably have asked for a refund.
My recommendation is to go to Ikea for flat pack furniture. I know they have nightmare stories associated with them but from my experience it is much better quality than Argos.
Even better still though - go to your local salvation army or other charity shop, and pick up a gorgeous antique set for half the price.
However, if you have a small bedroom these could be a good idea, especially if the furniture is to be a temporary solution.
Solid pine with a chocolate stain and lacquer. Set includes: 3 door wardrobe, 5 drawer chest and bedside cabinet. Drawers with smooth glide plastic runners.