I’m going to paint you a picture. It’s a Saturday in early August. If you’re in Seattle, like I am, you're enjoying a few precious weeks of glorious sun. Seriously, it's gorgeous here in the summer. But don't tell anyone! We've got a reputation to uphold.
Anyway, you’re itching to get out there and enjoy the weather while you've got it! Maybe meet a few friends, grab a bite, relax from the week. But womp-wooommmmp. Your sofa is on its absolute last leg (let’s face it, you need four of those sucker for ultimate comfort) and you’ve got company coming to visit soon.
You know you should really head to the stores to find a replacement, but…..who wants to? Give up this most excellent of weekends to spend it driving store to store, stuck inside, fighting crowds? No way! Relax, I got you! You can have a ridiculously enjoyable weekend by going out, partaking, and coming home to shop online for your killer new sofa. Here’s the low down on how to do just that.
How to buy furniture online: warm up stretches
Know your comfort zone.
Know what you want to spend. How long you want it to last. What challenges you might have to consider (kids, pets, etc.)
Take your measurements
Measure the current furniture. Is it comfortable? Great! Aim for something similarly sized (length, width AND height. That height is a sneaky one, but it can kill you!)
Starting from scratch? Measure the area and consider clearance zones
Clearance zones? What are those you ask? Those are guidelines for how much space you generally need between things to feel your most comfy. And guess what? I’ve got your copy right here:
How to buy furniture online: take your marks!
Start with stores/brands that you are familiar/comfortable with or that have a good reputation
Once you land on the first website, take a quick peek at their shipping and return policies. Obviously, free shipping and free returns are the best. If what they’re offering isn’t gonna work, don’t waste your time. Move on.
Now that you’re hanging out on the home page:
Take note of any of those annoying pop ups. I know, I know! But sometimes there are deals there that they don’t mention anywhere else (often free shipping!).
Write down all the deals you see and keep them for checkout.
Often you can use multiple discounts. But you certainly can’t if you don’t enter them!
Speaking of discounts and deals, take note of what time of year it is. More and more companies are having pretty decent sales for nearly every holiday. Especially if it’s a three-day weekend sort of situation.
Here’s a quick list of some dates that could help:
How to buy furniture online: down the home stretch
Hooray! You found an item you’re interested in! Here’s what to do next:
Read the reviews. All of them. Or at least a few from the very top and the very bottom. Sometimes the most recent are the most relevant. But don’t ignore the negative comments. It could be something that could really bug you too!
Buying online? Companies know this is a big commitment. Often they are happy to help by having samples available. Inquire.
Upholstery swatches? Great! Getting a bedding set? Order a pillow case first.
How to buy furniture online: the finish line is in view!
Nearly there! Checking out
Don’t forget the discount codes!! Find that paper you wrote them down on and get those suckers applied!
To become a store/company “member” or not to become a member. I flip and flop on this one. Often you’ll get a discount or other incentive in exchange for that all important email address. Worst case scenario, you can always unsubscribe right away. And sometimes it’s nice to have all your info saved. It’s your call; I don’t know anyone who thinks their inbox is getting lonely without mail. But it’s an option!
Free shipping! Check out how close you are to this option. It will save you a bundle. Alternately, if you’re close, weigh the benefits of adding on an accessory. Know your boundaries around this.
But waaaaiiiit! Feeling nervous to hit the “finalize order” button? No. Sweat. Leave that cart right where it is. Come back to it later (taking into account how long sales might be applicable) and see what your thoughts are on it then.
See if there’s a store nearby that you can see your item all gussied up on display
Also, more and more companies are offering pop-up virtual help for questions you might have. Give it a go!
So there are my tips and tricks for buying furniture online. You can totally ace this. But, if you’re just not a fan? I am your woman! Let’s talk:
Online shopping is part of what I do best! I work with these companies a lot. I know which ones are a-okay and which are……not so much. If it’s a new company to me? I’ve got a fantastic network of fellow designers to access. There’s no one we don’t know!
If there's a brick and mortar store in my area I can check things out in person.
The experience I have shopping gives me a leg up in the narrowing down of stores/where to start. You know those secret passageways in IKEA to skip the kids section all together?? My brain is kinda like that.
Oh, and those swatches I mentioned above? Having a decorator account with stores means I can get those babies at a lower cost, and sometimes ones that are not available to the public!
If this is music to your ears, visit me here to learn more about what working together looks like.