What to Look for When Furniture Shopping
Whether you’re looking to buy fresh furniture for a new home or simply want to replace what you have, furniture shopping is serious business. After all, a good-quality couch or recliner can last 15, 20 or even 30 years. You need to find one comfortable and appealing enough to live happily with over time. In addition, big-ticket household furniture like couches or recliners can put quite a dent in your billfold. They’re called big ticket for a reason.
There are ways to make sure you buy a quality item for a reasonable price. Once that happens, you and your couch or recliner can be friends for life. After all, it is going to be a long-time companion through football Sunday, Netflix and episodes of “The Walking Dead.” You want furniture that will last as you watch each football team live up to their stereotypes week after week.
Streamline Your Shopping
One of the main challenges in shopping for furniture since your parents did it is the rise of online shopping. You can browse to see sofas and recliners very quickly.
Use the web for what it does well – show you in just a few minutes what can take hours to see in a store or showroom. Get an idea of styles. Think about how the colors blend with your walls and other furniture. Imagine yourself watching TV and eating popcorn on the furniture you like.
Check out the care instructions. If you can’t remove stains easily, you might not want it if you have pets or small children.
Once armed with a sense of the styles, colors and care instructions, go to a store or showroom and see them in person.
Check Out the Furniture in Person
Never buy online without seeing – and sitting on – the furniture yourself. Why? Because comfort matters enormously. It’s got to feel good while you’re sitting on it. It can’t be too low or too high for your body.
As you look at, sit and even lie on the furniture, think about how it’s constructed. Do the pillows have enough stuffing? If they don’t, they could feel too loose and too flat. Are the frames and arms attached with screws or joined? Are springs covered? They should be, because it’s more durable. Ask if the wood is real, or if it’s veneer or laminate. The latter two are less durable. Look to see if the screws underneath the frame are loose. They shouldn’t be.
Shop for the Best Deal Possible
Once you are happy with the style and have some good options, the next step is negotiating the purchase price. Big-ticket items can be expensive, there is no getting around that. The upside is that they can last for a long time. It makes sense to think of it as analogous to the price of a home. You can amortize the high cost over the years you’ll own the furniture.
Purchasing a sofa or recliner is also something like purchasing a car. Do not pay full ticket price. The prices at furniture stores are marked up as much as 80 percent. Negotiating is expected. Even if you see a sale sticker, it may be a markdown from a very highly marked up initial price. Offer the salesperson a price your Web shopping has indicated is reasonable.
You may also be able to get the furniture of your dreams if you can pay cash or buy furniture that has been on showroom display. When seasons change, furniture stores change their displays, making those months especially good times to shop for deals.
Stores also tend to put items on sale in the back, so make sure you look there.
You can also shop at estate sales or secondhand stores. The selection is not as great, but the deals can be.
Whatever you do, don’t take a 0 percent down offer. The monthly payments will be structured so you will end up paying much more than the purchase price. Save until you have a down payment or are close to the purchase price.
Remember, your furniture will be with you for a big part of your life. Use the Web to show you the market, look at and test furniture thoroughly and negotiate the price. You’ll be sitting pretty!