Buying furniture can be frustrating and confusing, but if you have a little bit of knowledge about design, and the furniture business, it can save you time and money in the long run. Here are some furniture shopping tips to help you make the most of your furniture buying trip.
Before we begin I want to remind you what we have learned about redesigning a room so far. In part one of family room remodel we discussed the first steps in doing any room remodel.
- Planning out your space. What is the room going to be used for? What will you need in the room to make it function for you?
- Deal with the bones. Start with items that are attached to the room such as the floor, walls, and any built in items such as a fireplace or cabinets. What do you need to replace or upgrade?
- What do you need for furniture and accessories? Are you buying new or can you repurpose something?
- Make a floor plan! Don’t make a mistake of buying something that wont work in the room.
Now we are going to take all this information and put it into action. Today we will discuss some great furniture shopping tips.
What should I keep in mind when buying furniture?
When you are buying large or expensive pieces of furniture it is best to stay with a neutral and/or traditional style.
This is because most people don’t buy big ticket furniture pieces very often. So, it needs to last, and will need to coordinate with smaller items that you may change out more frequently.
Another option would be to purchase a slip covered sofa. This way if you decide to redecorate your room, you can simply switch out the cover for a whole new look.
Make sure you make a floor plan before you purchase anything. There is nothing more frustrating then buying the perfect sofa and finding out it doesn’t even fit. Don’t just measure the room either. It has to fit in the door! If you don’t know how then read my post “How to make a floor plan”
Another way to check to make sure your furniture will fit in the room is to tape out the measurements on the floor with painters tape. This will give you a great indication of how much room a piece will take up in the space.
Ask for fabric swatches. Most furniture stores have swatches showing the different options available. Ask if you can borrow a swatch, if they don’t have ones you can buy. This is an important furniture shopping tip because you will be able to use this swatch to make sure your other purchases and decor will work with the material you chose.
If you can’t get a swatch then take a picture of the swatch outside in the daylight so you can get an accurate color representation. Furniture stores are full of florescent lighting and it will look different there then in your home.
Also, ask the sales person for fabric recommendations that would be best for you and your circumstances; kids, pets, etc.
While buying sets of furniture could save you money, try to coordinate your furniture pieces, not match them. Yes, your guaranteed that everything works together when you buy a set, but when everything’s the same it tends to be a little predicable and boring. Mix it up!
You will also want to keep scale in mind when buying your furniture. If you have a large room, and buy small scaled furniture, it will look like doll furniture and vise-versa. You don’t want a huge over-sized sofa in a small room.
When is the best time to purchase furniture
There are some great times to buy furniture during the year. Two of them are during the holidays Memorial day and Veteran’s day. Furniture stores have some great sales around this time.
Next, is around the 4th of July and right after Christmas because furniture stores are trying to get rid of old inventory to make room for new stuff. You may see a lot of floor model sales during this time.
Avoid furniture sales tactics
These are the best furniture shopping tips I can give you…
Avoid 0% down, no interest offers! First of all, most furniture stores are inflating the price during these promotions. They are hoping your so excited about the 0% down that you don’t notice the price.
Second, if you don’t pay off the whole amount during the interest free period, then you will pay all of the interest retroactive! This could get really expensive if your buying a lot of furniture.
And to make matters worse, the minimum payments may not add up to the full amount. So, you think your doing everything right until you get a huge bill for the 20-30% interest rate after you’ve paid your bill. YIKES!
Make sure you talk with the salesperson about their delivery terms. How much does it cost? Does it cover damage? What happens if they can’t get it into your house? What happens if your not home? Get it all in writing so you don’t end up with extra expenses your were not ready for. Don’t forget to include a tip for your drivers.
Don’t just settle for their price. If you find a piece that you love, shop around in stores and online to find the best price.
What should I look for when buying furniture
First, determine how much you want to spend. If you are going to buy furniture, and it needs to last a long time, then quality is your number one priority. On the contrary, if you are like me and redecorate your home a lot, maybe you could get away with a less expensive alternative.
Here are your options. Solid wood construction will be your most expensive option, but it will last through generations.
Wood veneers are a less expensive because the base of the piece will be made up of cheaper wood and then wrapped with better quality wood on the surface. This way you get the look of quality wood, without the expense.
Then you have the least expensive option, particleboard. Particleboard is made up of scraps of wood, glue, plastic, and more. It is very porous and not very sturdy. Save this type of furniture for accent pieces that will not see a lot of wear and tear.
For wood furniture, look for quality joinery details such as dovetailed drawers, and quality accessories such as metal drawer slides. Make sure all moving parts operate smoothly. Pull out the drawers, open the doors, and make sure everything is in great working order.
Comfort will probably be the most important consideration when buying furniture. Make sure you sit on the furniture your going to purchase and see how you like the firmness. Remember, a lot of people are sitting on the furniture in the showroom and it will feel softer, because of it being worn in. This is a good thing in a way because you will know how the furniture will hold up with use. But at the same time it will feel different when you first get it home.
If you are buying a sleep sofa/sectional keep in mind that the mechanism and mattress in the sleep section will cause your seating to feel a lot firmer then the section without a sleep sofa. Just be aware of this.
Look for cushions with springs to keep it’s shape longer. For back cushions look for fillers that are wrapped in plastic and offer chambers or channels to hold the stuffing. This will help keep your stuffing even instead of having that back cushion slump where your cat sits.
Where to buy good, inexpensive furniture
Check out local yard sales, thrift stores, and antique stores. You can find some great quality furniture that may just need a little updating for a little money.
Want some tips for shopping your local thrift store? Read my post below.