Shopping Furniture Online
Things To Consider
When shopping for new furniture, you’re likely to spend some time browsing online. Eventually, you might click the add-to-cart button in the same session. Or, you might decide to pay a visit to a physical store to mull over your purchase. Going to a bricks-and-mortar store is not a bad idea (see below), but purchases made online are typically cheaper. And, of course, you save yourself the time and effort of making that trip. However, shopping for furniture online isn’t as straightforward as, say, shopping for clothes.
Here are three tips to keep in mind.
Practice Due Diligence
Because furniture tends to be a big-ticket purchase, it’s wise to do a little research before keying in your credit card details. For example, find out if the prices shown include GST. Some e-tailers don’t display the GST in the hopes of enticing customers. You also need to be aware of delivery and installation charges – sometimes this is priced separately. If you don’t need the furniture immediately, find out if the e-tailer can store it for you, and how much it’ll cost.
Another important point: what is the return and refund policy? This is especially important if it’s an overseas seller, or if the seller doesn’t have a physical store where you can have a look and feel of the product. It’s difficult to gauge quality from an online image. If there’s a physical store, you can at least pay a visit so you know that your online purchase will be exactly what you envisioned when it arrives. Lastly, find out what the warranty period is. And if you’re replacing existing furniture, find out if they offer a disposal service.
If you aren’t sure of the product or e-tailer, check out online reviews. Again, this is important if it’s an overseas seller. If there aren’t any reviews on the e-tailer’s site or blog, a Google search might yield similar results on other sites. If you still can’t find any information (say, the product is too new or too niche), reviews of similar items from the same brand might be useful. Friends and/or family members who are experienced online shoppers might also be able to provide recommendations.
Have Your Facts at Your Fingertips
Before starting your web search, it’s a good idea to have your home’s stats at the ready. Particularly if you’re on the hunt for a big item like a sofa, dining table, console or bed. You’ll also need to know the ideal and maximum furniture dimensions that the space can accommodate. Once you’ve seen a piece of furniture that you like, get out a measuring tape and mock up the size of said item. Don’t simply rely on what you see; it’s hard to perceive scale from an online image.
If you’re an apartment dweller, find out the lift, stairwell and corridor dimensions. If the item is too large to fit in the lift, the delivery personnel may have to haul it up the stairs. If that option is not feasible, a crane may have to be arranged. In both those scenarios, extra charges will be incurred. Lastly, if you live in a condo, find out if your building management has any timing restrictions on deliveries.
Knowing what interior design style you like will help to narrow your online search to a few key e-tailers. It will also help to streamline your choices so that you end up buying something that doesn’t clash with your existing furniture, both in terms of colour/material and scale/proportion. For example, if you’re a fan of the Scandi-Modern look (pictured above), a stainless steel-and-glass dining table will look decidedly out of place. As will furniture made from wood in dark tones (grey oak, wengé etc) or tropical hardwoods (teak, chengal etc). In this case it’s best to stick to furniture in pale, blonde varieties, like pine or ash.
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