How to Buy Furniture Tips and Tactics That Will Help You

How to Buy Furniture Tips and Tactics That Will Help You

By Furniture 21

Here are some tips and tactics to help you get quality furnishings at decent prices.

You are not the only one thinking about buying new furniture. According to a recent CR survey about the nation’s best furniture retailers, one-third of the Consumer Reports members have purchased new furniture in the past two years.

However, the survey whose responses were collected in April 2020 doesn’t provide the full report of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the furniture industry and furniture shoppers. In addition to the above, other considerations include health before determining whether shopping online or in a store will be effective today. Existence in an enclosed air-sharing environment, relaxing on a dozen others’ seated sofas, and touching the trail of many other fingers on a tabletop could expose one to the virus.

If you decide to shop in person, call ahead and find out when the store is most crowded, or try to make an appointment. Inquire about the masking policy in the store. Go armed with your mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer, whether you opt for a walk-in store or a website; enhance your odds of having a good shopping experience by choosing one of the retailers that scored well in CR’s new ratings.

To help you find the right furniture at the right price, interior design and home improvement experts share their shopping strategies.

Online or In a Store – Deciding to Buy.

Meanwhile, if you are trying to stay clear of contact with other people or are just opposed to stepping outside at this time, you may be more likely to purchase furniture online. However, an online retailer is not appropriate for every shopper or product.

“If you have a brick-and-mortar store brand that you trust and like, it probably isn’t that risky to shop for its products online,” says Sara Chwatt, an interior designer in Short Hills, N.J. “But if you’re not sure about a brand’s quality yet, be careful.” There is so much junk nowadays.”

The decision to shop for furniture online or in a walk-in store should also be based on what you are buying, according to Alcorn. She adds, “You cannot tell if something is comfortable online assuming it is a purchase that requires one to feel like the case of a sofa.”

Chwatt agrees. “As hard as a rock,” she says of a client who wanted to buy a sofa online. When shopping online, you may want to fine-tune your selection to include items like shelving or dressers.

Another potential risk of shopping for furniture online: “When using product images, sometimes they’re digital renderings and not actually photographs of the piece of furniture, so you don’t always know for sure what you are getting,” says Alcorn.

The positives? Prices may be lower for online furniture retailers relative to walk-in stores. For instance, CR’s survey indicates that the average cost for a dining table for walk-in shoppers stood at $2,281, while online shoppers paid $961. Note, however, that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison: These are not the prices paid for the same table but an average of the amounts used to purchase similar items across various shapes of retailers.

In particular, walk-in stores cannot offer many products that online shops can. The likes of Amazon, for instance, are yet to market e-commerce. Juggernaut sells furniture from hundreds of brands. (Recently, when I searched for “pink sofa” on the site – not by a prominent people’s popular color choice – there were 8,000+ results.)

Avoiding Potential Pitfalls

However, as 70 percent of CR’s survey participants said they had no trouble purchasing furniture in-store or online, that does not mean all is well with either type of purchase.

You’re likely to have buy-knock-down furniture when buying from online retailer shops. CR’s survey shows that 8 out of 10 furniture purchases at walk-in stores were shipped completely assembled or had been put together by the delivery team instead of just a quarter from online retailers. Moreover, returning bulk items to an online retailer is also cumbersome. (A dining room table will not be so kind to repack.)

However, walk-in furniture stores also carry their fair share of possible hazards. However, in CR’s survey, some in-store shoppers complained about limited selection and display or lack of enough help from salespeople.

These problems are amenable to relatively simple solutions. Suppose one is not ready to prepare furniture as their own; a white-glove delivery service can be ordered: the furniture will be delivered to your home, unpacked, and installed. In that case, all packing materials will be taken away.

Are you shopping for large furniture? Therefore, buying it from a physical store can be a wise choice. “There are rather many walk-in stores today that boast favorable return policies, and a lot of them will come back, pick it up, and you get your money back,” adds Rachel Alcorn, an interior designer from Chicago.

Determining Quality

It can be tricky to assess furniture quality by watching it in any possible way, such as through your computer or smartphone. Alcorn says the “gold standard is to shop in person.” This type of experience can be beneficial if you are trying to evaluate different fabrics or cushion materials in person, which would not be possible with digital shopping.

However, there are still things you can do to tell good quality furniture from an online catalog. Pro tips: Plus, request a fabric swatch or wood sample ahead of time (powder-coated metal wears better than painted metal, for example, she says), and find out where items are produced. “You pay more for furniture made in America generally,” says Kerrie Kelly, an interior designer and owner of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Northern California and chair of the American Society of Interior Designers board of directors.

Taking Safety Precautions

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, one of the crucial elements to consider while purchasing furniture is whether it can be secured from tipping over, resulting in incidences whereby approximately 20,500 people are injured each year. Watch a video to get furniture with anchoring hardware and instructions included, and take the time to anchor it.

Finding the Best Deal

The following steps will help you find and save the most money while shopping for furniture.

Ask about sales. Alcorn suggests that in-store shoppers inquire about the planned sales or promotions from a sales floor associate or manager. “Then you can decide if you want to wait for the sale,” she said.

Request a promo code. Likewise, while shopping online, it is possible to inquire from an online customer service about a promotion code using the “chat” button on the website. (You can also watch closely such flash sales received by subscribing to email alerts from the retailer.)

Try to negotiate. According to Kelly, one can build a relationship with the salesperson at their favorite walk-in stores who could help them when requesting a low price. But it’s worth trying to haggle even if you don’t have a personal connection: So out of purchases of furniture made in-store for which the buyer told us in our survey that he tried to negotiate for a better deal, 72% say they got. Also, don’t assume you must pay the list price because you are shopping online— 80 percent of online hagglers succeeded in CR’s survey. In any case, you can contact the website management via email or live chat and ask them to offer you a discount.

Compare prices. It’s always a clever move to shop around. “If you can find the same couch at a competitor, you can ask the manager [that your preferred retailer] if they can beat that price,” Alcorn says.

Read the return policy. However, always check out a furniture retailer’s return policy before purchasing. However, some online retailers make customers pay for shipping. “You usually have to get the products back through your own money and it’s often cost prohibitive for people to return big furniture on Wayfair,” says Alcorn.

Know when to splurge. However, some of the furniture comes at a cost. For example, you don’t want to spare your desk chair if you work remotely full-time. “High-end [desk] chairs with lumbar support are the best for your back,” Alcorn says. Also, a good ergonomics chair can help prevent back and neck pain, which is worth investing in.