November 24th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
So you’re thinking about buying furniture online. You routinely purchase books and clothes online, but fine furniture is different. It’s a big investment– maybe about the same dollar value as a new computer system or perhaps much more. What if you’re not happy with it? Can you just send it back? How do you know which online furniture stores you can trust?
This is a big decision so it’s worth the time to do a little homework before buying furniture online. The good news is that there are lots of reputable furniture retailers online, offering quality products at competitive prices. A few minutes of browsing through a furniture website can usually give you a good idea of whether or not it’s honest and reputable. While you’re researching, consider these Top 5 tips for buying furniture online:
Choose a company that focuses on selling exclusively furniture. If they sell thousands or hundreds of thousands of things from pillows to pampers to produce, they’re not going to be experts in fine furniture. The point here is that customizing, shipping and delivering fine furniture are services that require specialization and a lot can go wrong without it. There’s a big difference between FedExing a pillow and delivering and setting up a bedroom set in your home. Fine furniture shipping and delivery is an exacting art and science. Don’t expect it to be done well by an online department store. Go with a furniture specialist.
Find a company that provides detailed information about their fine furniture. Who makes it? How is it made? Where is it made? What is it made of? What kind of joinery is employed? Is it solid wood or veneered? What are the directions for proper furniture care? Spend some time studying this information on the company’s website and follow up with any questions over the phone.
Go for the white glove shipping and delivery. This is an important service and there are various levels offered. The best and only one I recommend is the full service option where professional furniture delivery crews bring your furniture into your home, set it up, inspect it with you and remove the packaging. Alternative services like UPS, FedEx and curbside delivery from common freight carriers leave you wide open if there should be any shipping damage or missing pieces.
Make sure to take into account shipping costs, taxes, and other fees when searching for the best prices! Some online furniture stores include free shipping in their base prices, but many do not. You may be surprised to learn that shipping can add up to $1000 to an order, depending on what you’re ordering and where you live.
Expensive fine furniture should be backed by a lifetime guarantee. It’s an investment you should be able to hand down to your children and grandchildren. Reputable American furniture companies will back their furniture with a guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship, especially when you’re buying furniture online.
Lastly, get to know your furniture maker or online retailer before buying furniture online. If someone knowledgeable is there to work with you through the selection and ordering process, it’s more likely they’ll be there for you at delivery time, if something goes wrong. Now that you’re ready to make your move, you can do it with confidence. Let me know how your fine furniture purchase goes by commenting below or on our Facebook.
She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.