21 Smart Tips & Tricks To Buying Furniture Online

21 Smart Tips & Tricks To Buying Furniture Online

By Furniture 21

I decided I had finished with hand-me-downs shortly after moving into my new house and wanted to buy some furniture. However, since I was being cheap, places such as Ethan Allen and Crate&Barrel were out of the question.

So, to combine my desire for better furniture with an unwillingness to settle for anything less than the best bargains, I purchased cheap furniture on the Web to economize. This strategy gives me many options, has saved me thousands of dollars, reduced my stress, and allowed me to have some fantastic pieces in my house.

Choosing a Furniture Website

It’s an open market on the Internet, and not all Internet retailers are trustworthy or reliable. Protect your finances by purchasing furniture on popular and secure websites. This also eliminates the possibility of issues once you finalize the buying process. However, ensure that you take your time to research the website and the furniture that you intend to buy to get a good deal.

1. Read the About Page

The first step of your research should be reading the company’s About section. The more reputable online retailers will have information about their companies, including history, customer service policies, and satisfaction guarantees. The phone number or address should also be stored on the site’s About page. A good company always allows offline contacts to be established.

Pro Tip: Many internet retailers do not have stores at all. Coddle serves as an excellent example in this respect. They have minimal overheads, which enables them to offer excellent prices. However, I have some advice if you plan to buy furniture from one of these websites. First of all, be sure to consider the store reviews before purchasing anything.

2. Look for Store Reviews

There are many websites where people can publish their reviews about Internet retailers. One or two bad reviews can be disregarded as unique bad experiences, while three or more, especially if the company is ranked low or at all, should be perceived as possible problems with the company.

You could check from Google Product Search, which allows users to rank and review different stores. One can rate merchants using one to five stars in the shopping section and review products and merchants. Check the star rating first. If a store has only one or two stars, I usually jump over it. Read a few people’s reviews to see if the store has a three-, four-, or five-star rating. The user reviews of Google are pretty straight to the point.

Amazon also offers an avenue for purchasing furniture, as one can explore a more comprehensive selection of online retailers and products. If you want the best-rated products, browse furniture on Amazon and search with the highest average user review. You can also navigate the search results and access more comprehensive reviews on the furniture and merchants.

Pro Tip: Better Business Bureau provides a list of customer grievances, shipping and ordering problems, and other issues relating to online merchants. You can look at the Better Business Bureau website for information about any online store. Not all the stores have a BBB profile, but you can draw attention to much helpful information.

3. Check the Return Policy

All websites should have simple return policies. Avoid doing business with a website that charges customers a re-stocking fee, has a convoluted return procedure, or has no returns.

Seek for websites that have an understandable policy on return. Customers need to get enough time to return products bought in stores. In many stores, customers can return the items within 30 days, while others have given even 45 or 60 days as a standard for all returned items. Also, check on re-stocking and shipping charges from the site. Top return policies sometimes ship returns for free or allow their products to be returned in-store.

Returning large or heavy furniture provides the challenge of some stores demanding that customers pay for shipping. Others impose a re-stocking fee of as high as 15% of the item’s cost. Steer clear of online retailers that charge re-stocking fees.

Pro Tip: While reading merchant reviews, look for the term “return” and see what other customers have experienced when returning items to the website.

4. Shipping Costs

The shipping policy for most stores is usually available on their FAQ or About pages. Before purchasing furniture from the website, review the store’s shipping policies. Stores are different, and they use a variety of delivery companies like FedEx or UPS, offering shipping and handling rates. Other shops inflate shipping costs or add a handling fee to offset the discounted prices they provide on their furniture. Ensure you look at the shipping and handling fees before buying any furniture.

Pro Tip: Sometimes free shipping is not free. Sometimes, a store will factor in the cost of shipping during purchase, making that claim of free shipping to attract customers. Compare prices with other sites. If furniture costs $100 or $200 over a site charging for shipping, then it is likely that the site rolled the shipping cost to its prices.

5. Get Styled by Styles That Inspire You.

For instance, Amazon is an online retailer offering numerous products by various merchants and covers the entire collection of decorating styles. Nevertheless, most online shops sell items in line with a preferred style on the website.

For instance, certain stores deal with environmentally friendly types of modern furniture. In the first instance, they stock sleeker furniture with no frills and trendy home decor items. Other stores carry more classic or traditional pieces and keep their product offerings in line with the buyer in possession of a binding conventional style.

Find a furniture store that mirrors your style, and you will have a more comprehensive selection as you browse.

Pro Tip: First, discover your sense of style, and then, with the help of keywords that can identify your style. It will help you locate the furniture that is right for you. For instance, terms like Classic, French Country, Modern, and Shabby Chic can assist you in finding websites that specialize in your favorite type of furniture.

6. Go to Stores with Good Sizes and Alternatives of Clothes

Shop at an online store that provides a complete array of furniture options and find all you need to furnish your home. Some deal with hand-painted small furniture, while others only sell bedroom furniture. This is so when you shop at a site where furniture for the whole house is available, you will likely find everything you need.

Most stores offer lower shipping charges for buying more than one piece, which can save you substantial cash when you buy over two pieces from the same retailer. Lastly, when you purchase many pieces of furniture in the same stain or color, one website is best for their identical appearance. Otherwise, you may have many pieces of furniture with different stains or paint hues.

Pro Tip: As low as it may get, IKEA has furniture and accessories for each room, including kitchen tools for the household you can imagine. However, take note that the furniture usually comes dismantled.

7. Brick-and-mortar Stores.

Most online stores also have physical stores where one can visit and buy furniture. Opting to purchase her furnishings from a store that has a physical location will enable her to touch on the items she wants before any transaction.

I found a couch online that I completely fell in love with until I went to the store to look at it and discovered that I hated how it looked. Checking out a piece before you purchase it can save you a big headache.

Moreover, buying from firms with brick-and-mortar stores might eliminate the shipping charges. Some sites, commonly with a physical presence, let you buy online and then ship your stuff to their store free for pickup instead of paying shipping costs to take the furniture home.

Pro Tip: Free website-to-store Delivery is offered by Best Buy, JCPenney, Sears, and Walmart. Leverage free shipping and combine it with coupons or sales for optimal discounts.

8. Shop from Secure Websites

Reduce the risk of being an identity theft victim by only buying your furniture from secure websites. After you have started the checkout process, you should see some information showing that the site is safe—a reference to the page URL. The secure site from which I bought furniture had its URL begin with HTTPS instead of HTTP, symbolizing high security for the website. Website security may also be indicated by the sight of a lock icon somewhere at the bottom of the web page. Review information about the website’s security by double-clicking the lock icon.

Also, most of the FAQs on the site have some information about their website security. When responding to promotional emails, one should be very careful and seek assurances that the email is genuine and safe before following any links. When you click on a link, check for these signs to indicate that the website you are visiting is secure before providing any personal information or even completing a purchase.

Choosing Furniture Pieces

However, choosing where to shop online is only one step towards the best deal on furniture. Choose your options online once you have settled on a store. It is amusing and nerve-consuming to find the furniture you are going to purchase.

Buying new furniture is a thrilling experience, but it could cause some palpitations. Avoid the stress of picking out pieces that are not suitable, and ensure you select the best by reading through all online listings.

9. Look at the Photos

When several pictures of furniture are posted online, you should scrutinize them all. Usually, the store takes an image of only one furnishing posted in a decorated room, making the furniture look impressive. The website also provides links to side shots in different orientations with no added props for enhancement.

If it is not a unique item, you can usually find other photos by searching the brand and item names. To get an impression of how those items might look in your house – scroll through as many photos as you can.

Pro Tip: For example, in some stores, such as Walmart.com, customers can leave their photos with the reviews. Based on these photos, shoppers can see how the furniture appears in real homes.

10. Read the Description

I am guilty of only scanning the descriptions, but do not make my mistake; if you want to buy something, read the entire explanation. Remember, furniture companies are picky in their choice of wording. For instance, some veneer or composite woods are produced from wood pulp or synthetic stuff, and such furnishings made from these will be of low quality compared to furnishings fake from solid wood.

Pro Tip: You may also click on links or tabs, at least to read the summary description, if not the specifications. Seek details on durability, construction, and cleaning guidelines for the furniture.

11. Check the Furniture Measurements

Carefully check the furniture measurements. Pictures can be deceptive; you shouldn’t assume the piece fits where you want it to go. Check and re-check when measuring the length and width of the furniture for the room. Also, ensure doorways and hallways will not be an issue.

Consider the path the furniture will follow to get into the chamber or seek assistance and another opinion about handing over that furniture in your home. A friend purchased a large sofa for an upper sitting room. However, when he paid for the furniture delivered, the couch was found not to pass around a bend in the stairwell.

Pro Tip: If furniture measurements are not offered at the site, there is a toll-free number for you to call and ask the website representative about actual sizes.

12. Read the Reviews

Customers can post reviews on the given furniture purchases directly from the website. Watch out for pieces with a few bad reviews, while one bad review should not deter you from a piece. This may suggest weak building of buildings or problems with the regulation in making purposeful measurements to enhance durability and responsiveness.

13. Be Leery of Colors

Although sites make all possible efforts to show accurate photos, it’s rather challenging to post furniture photos properly due to the distortion of the true colors of the furniture online. Markedly, dark furniture looks lighter in online pictures, like the trendy espresso of contemporary furniture designs.

I bought espresso furniture from different websites, and while it all looks good together, the characteristic dark hue is noticeably different when you look at some pieces closely. However, your computer may vary the color of a picture, and to know the color, you can look at the site on various computers. You can also review the reviews to have an idea of the color of the furniture. If significant differences exist between the look of the piece when it arrived, some reviewers make a note in the review.


After you find the different pieces of furniture you want in your house, get down to the gritty aspect of shopping online: pricing items. You can learn a lot from researching the different items and their prices, taxes, and shipping costs.

14. Compare Prices

Only a handful of Internet retailers deal with unique items. Most furniture, especially assembled, can be located at dozens of sites. Before buying, do a bit of comparison shopping; merely look for three to five stores with the furniture you want. Ensure you know the cost of the items, what it costs to ship them, any tax charged, whether return shipping is an extra charge and a re-stocking fee.

Ensure you do this for every other furniture item you find to get the best overall deal from an online site. It may take longer to write, but the research investment pays off. For instance, I saved a decent $75 on a coffee table when I compared its price with other websites.

15. Look for Sales

Moreover, internet retailers hold sales, including holiday sales. If you desire to buy furniture but find it expensive, hold back. The website may discount the piece or put it on sale or clearance.

Pro Tip: Most experts recommend furnishing shopping in January and July to appropriate the best deals. In February and August every year, furniture manufacturers drop new furniture shipments, so many online retailers have to sell the old model one month before to make room for the latest stock in their warehouses.

16. Find a Coupon

Retailers like giving out coupons to invite people to their websites. These exceptional offers will help you enjoy significant savings on everything you buy. First, getting onto the company’s mailing list by visiting the furniture website was crucial. For instance, several sites send a coupon for new mailing list customers upon signing up. For example, Coddle gives $50 off after subscribing for $500 or more. You will also get periodic coupons and links to sales and clearance deals.

After subscribing to the website’s mailing list, look for store coupons and promo codes. Several websites aggregate coupons and special deals. These websites list the coupons online, including the coupon code, so you can still enjoy the special offer even if it doesn’t appear in your mailbox.

Some good coupon sites include:

Besides the coupons, you are given cash back for every item purchased through their website. There are various opportunities for saving, as the company has over 2,500 stores to make purchases.

RetailMeNot, however, has a furniture coupon section highlighted for leading furniture websites like Kohl’s, Target, and Pier1. Alternatively, you will find a space to search the site for a specific store. Some of the current coupons for major retailers are impressive at RetailMeNot. Couponlab is another choice for coupon discounts.

The users of  Joinhoney.com can post the links to the coupons they come across. Moreover, it allows users to report wrong or expired coupons while searching for a good deal.

However, Offers.com offers fewer coupons but more often provides valid coupon codes for famous furniture stores such as Wayfair and Amazon furniture.

Pro Tip: However, specific coupons, in some cases, may fail to work out because of a minimum or site error. If the site turns down one coupon code, do not despair; only keep trying until you find one that affects your shopping cart.

17. Consider Taxes

You might have to pay tax on your online purchases if the retailer has a brick-and-mortar shop in your state. For large purchases like furniture, state taxes on retail purchases vary from 5% to 10%, which is quite a sum of money.

For example, a couch worth $550 and bought under an 8% tax rate will cost you $594 before shipping. Tax policies of most online sites are available on their About page or in the shopping cart. Include the sales tax in your purchase.

Furniture Shipping Options

You should select a shipping method once you spot the necessary furniture items. Most stores provide different options since shipping furniture is costly, with bulky pieces requiring special Delivery.

Three-tiered shipping is included in many stores for goods such as furniture. Up each level, it gets more expensive with better service. A fourth option is available with the brick-and-mortar stores that offer site-to-store shipping. Another alternative is to use the “site to store shipping,” which allows you to send the furniture box to the store. Although you have to wait for shipping and may have to go in person, the store typically will not charge you any shipping pay.

Also available are free shipping deals. In some stores, year-round free shipping is available, and several stores, such as Macy’s and Target, commonly use free shipping as a promotion. Remember, however, that even free shipping may not help you save much since you will pay a state or sales tax for furniture. Do not forgo price comparisons just because you came across a free shipping deal.

18. Front Door Delivery

The driver will do front door delivery, i.e., depending on your building type (apartment building or standalone house), they will either place your furniture at the entrance of your front gate or on the first floor in case you live in an apartment. It is, however, the least expensive shipping mode, but you have to bring the piece to your house, or someone can bring it for you.

19. Inside Delivery

For an additional charge, the driver will deliver the furniture inside your house. If you reside in an apartment, this typically involves taking it upstairs, and some of the delivery services even bring the box into a room at your request. This is a good option for those people who do not wish to strain when lifting heavy boxes. Please remember that the driver will not open the box, inspect the package, or assist you in setting it up.

20. White Glove Delivery

White glove delivery is the total solution. The delivery driver takes the box into your home, removes everything, and puts your furniture together. Alternatively, you can go with white glove delivery if you cannot assemble the furnishings independently, although it is costly. For instance, some websites may vary white-glove service up to $100.

Pro Tip: If you do not want to set up furniture yourself, ask a neighbor or hire someone from Handy.com for a few dollars. I purchased a complex bookshelf, and the woman charged $95 for white glove delivery on that site. Eventually, my saving was around $50 because the shipping fee was just $45, and a neighbor agreed to make the bookshelf for me at only $20.

21. Store Pickup

Meanwhile, many brick-and-mortar retailers allow you to pick up your online in-store purchase for FREE. You buy the product of your choice through internet marketing, and then the retailer ships your package from the warehouse to one of their closest stores. You might require a truck to pick up the boxes, but you may have to hire helpers to move the containers.