Furniture Shopping Online – Super Smart or Crazy Risky?
Looking online is a smart move for lots of purchases – you can find the best deal on all kinds of household items. And it’s a treat shopping from the comfort of your home with your coffee within reach! But when it comes to furniture, is buying sight-unseen the smartest move? We’re looking at the risks, the benefits and when it’s a better bet to shop local.
Risks: Be very clear on those crazy deals. Click-bait offers like “60% off rustic industrial furniture!” likely don’t include tax (if it applies in your state) or shipping charges, which can be jaw dropping. Plus, excessively low prices can also be an indication about quality.
Best Practices: When you shop online, you have to factor for shipping – and not just how much it costs, but what type of shipping you’re getting. Is it door-to-door or curbside only? You should also read up on that return policy! Is there a restocking fee if you get it and hate it?
When should you shop local? Shop local if the restocking fee is nuts. And if the price seems too good to be true, there has to be a reason. If you can find the same item locally, speak to the manager about getting a comparable price to the web deal.
Scale & Color
Risks: Your favorite websites and those perfect Pinterest photos likely have a really great designer in the shadows. And just because that sofa looks positively dreamy beneath those cathedral ceilings, it may look completely out of place in your bungalow. So before you pull the trigger, consider how a piece will look in your space, with your décor, your wall colors, your lighting.
Best Practices: The best way to decide if a specific piece will fit your space is with a mock-up – that way you’ll account for proportion and scale. Get out the measuring tape and some blue painter’s tape and physically lay out the dimensions. Don’t forget to factor for height as well. If there’s an option for a fabric swatch – even if it’s not free – get it. Different monitors display colors differently, and you need to be sure that the color will work.
When should you shop local? You should always shop local if you’re unsure about the color, material or scale. And if you can’t get color or material swatches, you’re taking a gamble.
Risks: Determining quality from a photo alone is really, really tricky. The smartest move, which isn’t always possible, is checking out the same item locally – and then snagging it online for a better price.
Best Practices: Pay attention to the written description and look for a list of materials. Be clear on the differences between materials like plastic, wood composites and veneers and various kinds of solid wood. It’s a good idea to speak to customer service about construction and longevity, too. And it’s never a mistake to search for online reviews of both the piece of furniture you’re considering and the company.
When should you shop local? If you’re expecting this piece to last and you’re unsure of the quality, that’s a sign to find something locally. Consistently negative online reviews about the piece you’re considering – and the company you’re buying it from – are also a big red flag.
A last thought – some furniture sold online requires assembly. If you’re not handy with a few tools, buying something already assembled may be a smarter option. Another benefit of shopping locally? The benefit of direct assistance! Here at The Find, we offer complimentary design assistance because we want you to be thrilled with your purchase. We’re excited to work with you to solve your design dilemma. Good luck finding that online!