Personal Finance , Retail

How To Shop For Furniture Online

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 12 minute read

I became tired of using hand-me-downs as soon as I moved into my new property and decided to treat myself to some finer pieces. To be honest, I avoided stores like Ethan Allen and Crate & Barrel because of their high prices.

With a combination of my desire for better furnishings and my determination to save money wherever possible, I made the executive decision to shop online for low-cost alternatives. With this method, I have access to a wide variety of possibilities, have saved a ton of money, reduced my stress level, and have beautiful new furniture for my home.

Finding affordable, high-quality furniture online can be time-consuming, but these guidelines can help you make smart purchases.

Selecting a Furniture Website

The Internet is a free market where not all businesses can be trusted. Protect your credit card information by only shopping at reputable, SSL-encrypted online furniture stores. This also lessens the potential for issues after the sale has been finalized.

Invest some time into investigating the site and the pieces of furniture you intend to buy to ensure you are getting the greatest price possible.

  1. Check out the Site’s History
    Start with the company’s About page to learn the basics. The best online stores are transparent about their operations, including information such as the company’s background, customer care options, and satisfaction guarantees. Include contact information (email, phone number) on the site’s “About” page. In addition to online forms, reputable businesses should always have direct channels of communication available.
  2. Read Client Opinions Before You Buy
    Many online forums provide review capabilities for online stores. A single negative review can be written off as an isolated incident, but a pattern of consistently poor ratings may point to systemic issues within the organization.

    Check out Google’s Product Search first, as it allows shoppers to rate and evaluate a variety of retailers. Consumers may leave reviews and ratings for businesses and individual goods in the shopping area. First, see how well rated it is. If a business only has a few reviews, I won’t bother with them. Review customer feedback if the shop has received a rating of three, four, or five stars. Most evaluations left by Google users are concise and to the point.

    Amazon is a great place to shop for furniture since it provides access to thousands of different stores and goods. In order to get the best furniture on Amazon, you may do a search based on the average rating given by customers. You may learn more about the furniture and the sellers by clicking through the search results. To learn more about your options, please see our Return Policy.
  3. Websites must offer transparent return policies.

Avoid doing business with a website if they have a restocking fee, a convoluted return process, or don’t accept returns at all.

Try to find stores that have generous return policies. There should be plenty of time for shoppers to return items to stores. Some shops even go as far as to allow you 45 or 60 days to return your purchase. Check out the website’s shipping and restocking policies as well. The most convenient return policies are those that allow customers to bring their purchases back to a physical location for a full refund or to exchange an item at no cost.

In some cases, the shopper is responsible for paying the cost of return shipping, which may add up quickly when dealing with bulky or heavy items like furniture. A restocking fee of up to fifteen percent of the item’s original price is levied by some retailers. It’s best to stay away from online stores that make you pay to return your purchase.

  1. Costs Associated with Transport
    The shipping policies of most retailers may be found on their FAQ or About websites. Before making an online furniture purchase, be sure you have read the store’s shipping regulations in detail. Retailers employ various transport providers like FedEx and UPS, and charge various amounts for shipping and handling depending on the chosen retailer. Some businesses sell furniture at reduced costs but make up for it by charging exorbitant shipping and handling fees. Do not acquire any household furnishings before checking the cost of shipping and handling.
  2. Discover a Shop That Suits Your Taste
    It is possible to get a wide variety of things from a variety of sellers to suit any taste in home décor at certain online stores like Amazon. Online retailers typically stock products that are consistent with the site’s ethos.

    Some retailers, for instance, cater specifically to those looking for eco-friendly, contemporary furnishings. Furniture and home décor in these shops are more simple and contemporary in style. On the other hand, you may find goods and services that appeal more to shoppers with a more conventional taste in stores that specialize in classic or traditional items.

    Finding a furniture business that shares your aesthetic preferences can give you additional options to consider.
  3. Go to Stores With a Wide Variety
    Visit a website that sells a wide variety of furniture to find the pieces you need to decorate your house. In contrast to establishments that offer solely bedroom sets, those that specialize in hand-painted, modest furniture items often attract a different clientele. If you’re shopping for home furnishings online, it’s best to visit a site that has options for each space in your house.

    If you’re planning on buying two or more pieces, doing so at the same time from the same vendor might save you a significant amount of money due to the shipping discounts many companies provide for bulk purchases. Additionally, if you plan on purchasing many pieces of furniture in the same stain or color, it is best to purchase all of the pieces from the same source. If you don’t, you can find that different pieces of furniture have slightly varied tones of stain or paint.
  4. Physically Present Retail Outlets
    You may find the same brands selling furniture both online and in physical stores. By visiting a brick-and-mortar store, you may see the actual goods you’re considering purchasing before making a final decision.

    After finding the perfect couch for my home on the internet, I was disappointed to see it in person and end up returning it. Having a chance to try out a piece of furniture before purchasing it might prevent future hassles.

    As an added bonus, it’s possible to avoid shipping fees altogether by buying on websites that partner with physical retailers. As an alternative to paying for furniture to be shipped to your home, you may avoid shipping fees by purchasing it online and having it shipped to a store that the website owns.
  5. Use Only Trusted Online Stores
    To avoid having your personal information stolen, make all of your furniture purchases from reputable, encrypted online stores only. Details that show the site is secure should be readily apparent once the checkout process has begun. View the page’s address (URL).


When you make a safe furniture purchase, the URL will begin with https rather than the less secure “http.” Additionally, a lock icon at the page’s footer may appear, indicating that the site is secure. To learn more about the website’s security features, simply double-click the lock icon.

Additionally, the website’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) section is a good place to find information on the site’s security measures. Be wary of responding to unsolicited emails and always double-check the legitimacy of a link before clicking on it. Once you’ve followed a link, be sure the website is safe before entering any personal information or making any transactions.

Picking Out Furniture

Making a decision on where to purchase online is just the beginning of furniture bargain hunting. After settling on a shop, you may begin selecting items from their online catalog. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking to go on a hunt for new furniture.

There is excitement in purchasing brand new furniture, but there is also some anxiety due to the potential dangers of doing so. Reducing anxiety and increasing confidence in your selections may be accomplished by thoroughly perusing all available internet listings before making any purchases.

  1. Explore the Pics
    Online furniture retailers typically provide many images, so it’s important to thoroughly compare them all. As a rule, the shop will display the piece of furniture in a room that is styled in a way that best shows it off. There are links on the website to see the furniture from other perspectives and to see more photos that don’t utilize any props to make it appear more appealing.

You may locate many images of a product by Googling the brand name and the product’s name. Explore as many images as possible to visualize the furniture in your space.

  1. Take a Look at the Summary
    Don’t be like me and skim the descriptions before buying something; read them in full. The manufacturers of furniture are quite particular about the words they choose. Veneer and composite woods, for instance, are created from wood pulp or synthetic components; hence, furniture crafted from them is of inferior quality than solid wood furniture.
  2. It’s important to double-check the furniture dimensions.
    Ensure the furniture fits properly by double-checking the dimensions. Don’t assume the item will fit where you want it to; looks might be misleading. Verify the length and breadth of the furniture against the room’s specs to ensure a proper fit. Also, check to see that passageways like doors and halls won’t be an issue.
  3. Consider the logistics of transporting the furniture into the space, and obtain a second opinion if you need one.

A large couch was just acquired by a friend for the lofted sitting area. Unfortunately, when the couch was delivered, he found that it wouldn’t go around a corner in the stairway.

  1. Have a look at the Feedback
    Review sections for furniture purchases are becoming increasingly common on many websites. You shouldn’t let a single negative review dissuade you from an otherwise interesting item, but you should definitely avoid anything that has received a large number of them. Inadequate construction or a lack of durability might be the cause of this.
  2. Use Color Caution
    Photographs of furniture posted online may not reflect real color due to lighting and camera angles, despite the best efforts of most sites to give accurate photos. In example, darker pieces of furniture, like the espresso hue so common in contemporary furniture designs, might appear lighter in digital images.

Although the espresso furniture I got from multiple different stores looked great together, upon closer inspection I noticed that some of the pieces were a deeper shade than others. If you want to get a feel for the hue, it’s best to view the site from a few different computers. The color of the furniture is another topic that can be learned about by perusing the evaluations. It’s pretty uncommon for reviewers to mention whether or not the item appeared brighter or darker in person.

Pricing

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential furniture purchases, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of internet shopping: comparing prices. If you take the time to compare prices, taxes, and shipping fees, you may save a significant amount of money.

  1. Price Shop Around
    Only a small fraction of online stores specialize in offering unique products. Most pieces of furniture, particularly those that require assembly, are available on a wide variety of websites. If you want to save money on new furniture, it’s a good idea to do some comparison shopping beforehand. Take into account the total price of the products, the cost of shipping, any applicable taxes, and any additional fees incurred by returning the items to the store.

    Repeat this process for each piece of furniture you’re considering purchasing so that you can determine which online store offers the greatest price. Though time-consuming, thorough research is always worthwhile. By checking out alternative online retailers, I was able to save $75 on a coffee table, for instance.
  2. Inquire About Discounts
    Retailers with an online presence often have sales, particularly during the winter holidays. Put off making a purchase if you really want a piece of furniture but can’t justify paying full price right now. The item might go on sale or be cleared on the internet.
  3. Coupons can be found here.
    Coupons are a popular incentive used by retailers to attract customers to their online stores. Take advantage of these one-time offers to save significantly. To get started, go to the store’s online presence and join their mailing list.

Some online businesses reward new subscribers to their mailing lists with discounts once they join up. For instance, after signing up for Coddle’s newsletter, you can receive $50 off a $500 purchase. Periodically, you will also receive additional discounts and information on bargains and clearance items.

Sign up for the website’s email list, and then search for discount coupons and sales. Several sites compile discounts and promotions provided by internet merchants. If you didn’t receive the discount offer by email, you may still take advantage of it by visiting one of these sites, which offers the discounts online along with the coupon code.

  1. Taking Taxes Into Account
    You may be required to pay sales tax on your online purchases if the merchant operates a physical location in your state. The difference between the sales tax and the total price of a major item like a sofa might be several hundred dollars in some states.

    A $550 sofa, after tax and shipping costs, would cost $594. Tax information may usually be found on an online store’s “About” page or in the shopping cart. Think about the sales tax before you buy something.

Shipping Options for Furniture

After deciding on a piece of furniture to purchase, the next step is deciding how you would like to have it delivered. Because of the high cost of shipping and the unique delivery requirements of larger pieces, most furniture retailers provide many shipping and delivery alternatives.

Some retailers provide expedited, standard, and economy delivery options for bulky purchases. Each tier costs more and provides a higher quality of service. Site-to-store delivery is a common fourth choice for brick-and-mortar retailers. Sending the furniture box straight to the shop is an option with a site to store shipment. Even though shipment will take longer and you’ll have to pick up the item in person, most stores won’t charge you for shipping.

Deals with free delivery are also available. In addition to the companies that provide free delivery all year round, retailers like Macy’s and Target frequently use free shipping as a promotional technique.

However, when you add in the sales tax for your state and the price of the furniture, you may find that free shipping doesn’t really save you any money. Just because something offers free delivery does not mean you should skip checking other stores’ prices.

  1. Door-to-Door Service
    In a front door delivery, the furniture is left at the front door or on the ground level of your building. This is the most affordable delivery method, but it requires you to either bring the item inside on your own or find someone to help you.
  2. Transport Within the House
    There is an additional fee for having the furniture brought inside your home, rather than just dropped off at your front door. Some delivery services will even go the extra step of carrying the package into the room of your choice, which is very helpful if you live in an apartment complex. Those who would like not to have to move hefty boxes might benefit from this alternative. Keep in mind that the delivery person will not assist you set up the furniture, open the box, or check the shipment.
  3. A Special White Glove Service for Delivery
    White-glove service is the total package. Once inside, he or she will unload everything and set up your furnishings for you. If you are unable to put together the furniture on your own, white glove delivery is a nice, albeit pricey, choice. The “white glove” service fee on certain websites might reach $100 or more.
  4. Retail Pickup
    A convenient and sometimes free service offered by many traditional retailers is in-store pickup of internet purchases. Online shoppers have the option of having their purchases delivered to a local store from the retailer’s distribution center. It’s possible that you’ll need a vehicle to collect the boxes and maybe even some laborers to assist you transport them.

Bottom Line

Although purchasing furnishings online can help you save time and money, you should be wary of frauds and do your homework to ensure you get the best possible price. If you’re updating your furniture, it’s important to pick a reputable site, shop around for the best price, and select a delivery option that won’t leave you feeling cheated.

Also, remember that while a picture is worth a thousand words, most internet furniture stores spend a lot of money on expert photographers, so you should assess the photographs and descriptions of any furniture you discover very carefully. Do not buy a couch based only on the pictures you see online. You can see exactly what you’re getting by reading reviews, comparing costs, and searching Google for user-submitted photographs.

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