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5 Tips for Successful Furniture Shopping

5 Tips for Successful Furniture Shopping

If you have empty rooms to fill, furniture shopping is surely on your list of things to do.  However, if you try to navigate the waters of furniture stores, boutiques and even thrift shops without a plan, you will quickly become overwhelmed.  No matter where you plan to shop (after all, you can find some great stuff at garage sales and second-hand stores!), use these tips to set yourself on the right path.

1)  Measure the space you need to fill.  For the very best results, this requires careful measuring of the entire room.  Sketch the room on paper and fill in the important dimensions – overall measurements of the room, the height of the window sill, location of any floor-mounted electrical outlets, width of doorways, etc.  Even if you don’t have the skills to draw the plan to scale, having these measurements on-hand will be valuable when you need to decide if that sofa you are eyeing will fit in your family room – and through the front door!

2)  Take photos.  Snap digital photos of the room from all angles.  Having photos is helpful, because (believe it or not) you will NOT remember every detail of the room when you are shopping.  Using the photos for reference, you can determine whether the leg on the coffee table in the store will match the one on the sofa you already have at home.  You can print the photos, if you like, or simply view them on your camera or phone.

Living Room with Fireplace

3)  Gather samples of all the fabrics and finishes already in your space.  If your upholstered furniture has arm covers, take one with you.  Have a stir stick full of your living room paint color?  Bring it along.  If you wish to match a particular wood finish, try to bring a small piece of trim or a small drawer for reference.  (and, next time you do a home improvement project, hang on to samples of each item in the room for this very reason!)  You want to be sure that your new items blend seamlessly into your space.

4)  Decide on a budget.  It’s easy to get carried away when the furniture salesperson gets you excited about all the matching pieces and accessories on the showroom floor.  Be sure you know how much you want to spend before you leave home, and stick to your budget.  If you cannot afford exactly what you want all at once, plan to purchase pieces as you can afford them.  Planning a budget is also helpful for the salesperson, as it helps guide them in what they should show you; everyone loves the $8,000 sofa, but if you can’t afford it, it’s best to look at items closer to your budget.

5)  Pre-shop.  If you have some time before leaving the house, take an hour to pre-shop for your furniture online.  Check out the websites of stores near you to get an idea of their price range and style.  This will guide you to shops that will fit both your style and your budget, so you don’t waste time in stores that don’t fit the bill.

6)  Bonus Tip:  Make a list. Decide what furniture and accessory items you really need, and make a list.  Adding details such as “orange lamp” or “round leather ottoman” will help you remember to look you are trying to achieve.  The list will keep you on-task and away from items you don’t have a place for.

Be sure to grab a tape measure on your way out the door; having it along will make shopping much easier – especially in thrift shops where they may not have one on hand.  

Taking some time to plan out your furniture shopping expedition is a great way to get the most for your time and money.

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One Response to 5 Tips for Successful Furniture Shopping

  1. […] it a sofa, a couch or (my personal fave) a davenport, you likely have one somewhere in your home.  Before you go shopping, remember these tips and selecting a new one won’t be quite so […]

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