Furnishing your home can be fun, but for many people, the prospect of wandering around a furniture showroom and then still having to wait for delivery of their furniture (because so many things won’t fit in a car or aren’t held in stock) seems a bit pointless when it is so easy to order things online. Of course, when you order online, there are loads of choices and you can get great deals, but you are basing your buying decisions on photographs rather than being able to see and feel the product, which can lead to some disappointment.
Here are some tips for getting the most rewarding results when you buy furniture new or second hand on the internet:
Choose Who You Buy From Carefully
The first tip any professional will give you when it comes to buying your furniture on the web is to buy only from trusted retailers. What this means depends on what you are buying – obviously a trusted retailer for brand new pieces or flat pack furniture might be a big name brand, whereas for second hand or unusual furniture, you may simply be looking for an eBay store with a good reputation or a local business with great reviews.
As well as making sure the company can be trusted, you also want to make sure the transactions are safe. Major department stores are safe in this respect, as are large websites like eBay and Amazon. However, if you are buying from a small company using their e-commerce solutions, you may want to check their security credentials.
Terms of Sale
You should also look carefully at terms relating to the sale; for example, the returns policy and how much is charged for shipping. Be aware that ‘free shipping’ isn’t always what it seems – some sites with free shipping up the price of the product, so it may still cost more than buying the same thing with paid shipping somewhere else.
Image Courtesy: Dr. Heckle
Choose What You Buy Carefully
There are two things that can vary from how the typical item looks in pictures to how it will look in real life – size and colour. Make sure you check the measurements of items you want to buy to check you haven’t derived a misguided idea of how big something is from its picture, and be aware that colours can look different in images. While this isn’t usually too significant, and it may just look a little lighter in the shot than it does when you get it, consider this when you are trying to match things. If you want matching furniture, buy from the same store and range.
Read Descriptions Thoroughly
You should also read descriptions very carefully. In many cases, furniture is shipped flat packed or in components, and you’ll need to do at least some of the putting together yourself. While for something like a bed this may be very easy, something like an entertainment centre might be vastly more complex than it looks, so also look at customer reviews to see if other people have struggled. If you are buying second hand, you may find the furniture is shipped as is, so you’ll want to check you can actually fit it through doors and any passageways in your house you’ll need to get it through.
Jenny Wadlow is a freelance blogger. She enjoys designing and modifying her house with new furniture and prefers buying second hand furniture in Melbourne from BrotherHood of St. Lawrence, a community store based in Australia.