Online shopping has never been easier and more convenient. From picking out a new outfit, to ordering groceries for the week, everything you need is just a click away. When it comes to buying furniture online, finding pieces to update your home is the easy part. But how can you make sure these pieces will work in the real world? I’ve put together a list of my top five tips to consider before buying furniture online.
- Know thy space. Know your room size and have a floor plan. Nothing is worse than buying the most comfortable chair and a half, only to realize it takes up the wall where you wanted the sofa to go. Planning is critical. Have a scaled drawing made of your room with all of your furnishings laid out. If you’re going online to source furniture, also go online to see what the recommended space is required for adequate traffic flow. You want to be able to walk around that coffee table without bashing a shin.
- Know what colours you’re selecting. We all have different screens and monitors that show colour differently. It’s wise to see if you can get an accurate pantone of the colour they are stating. Some online suppliers will provide you with a sample swatch so you know exactly what those undertones are. Again, it is really easy to be fooled by colour and texture and you don’t want your new purchase to clash with your walls or existing furnishings.
- Know the finish. If your coveted item is in a wood finish, the same rules apply as colour. Is it cerused oak? Reclaimed pine? What is the stain? Is it even wood? Can you get a sample of it mailed to you? These things are very important when putting a room together. I never have more than three different wood finishes in a room.
- What’s the shipping and return policy? Is there a warranty? I can’t emphasize this enough. Make sure you know what your item is going to cost to ship to your address. The shipping costs, especially from the US to Canada, may be so much that it is actually cheaper to purchase the item from a local supplier. If it happens to be the wrong colour, size, finish, or if it is damaged, you will want to know their policies regarding returns or exchanges. Some online shops are so good that they will send you another item right away, others, not so much.
- Read the reviews. People are terribly honest online and they will tell you exactly how their experience went. If you see some great stuff written, or conversely harsh comments, take those as truth. Sure, there may be some false reporting out there and you should view everything with a grain of salt, but hopefully there is more than one review to read so you can compare. Having said that, once you make your purchase, be diligent and courteous enough to leave your own review.
All in all, shopping for furniture online sounds like a great way to save time and money. However, as a person who likes to touch and feel and see with my own eyes, and hey, even actually sit in it to see if it’s comfortable and fits my body, it’s a tough sell for me. I like to see how the piece is made. And as with everything, buyer beware. Compare apples to apples and know what you’re buying.