Purchasing the right furniture can be a strenuous ordeal. Even if you know exactly what sort of style you are after, there are always the factors of price, quality, material, and function to consider. Add online shopping to the mix, and you might just find yourself running for the hills.
We totally get it – buying furniture online can be intimidating. After all, how do you really know whether the photograph of that couch you are coveting is a true reflection of the real deal? Unboxing a recent online sofa purchase only to discover that it is about as comfortable as a sack of potatoes is any online shopper’s worst nightmare. Here is how you avoid the pitfalls of online furniture shopping and emerge unscathed on the other side – with stylish, quality furniture to boot.
Before you start investing in online furniture, think about the current needs of your household. Picking the right furniture is about more than just choosing complementary styles – it has to be practical. Sure, that white leather sofa may look super sleek and modern, but will it withstand movie nights showered with popcorn? And more importantly, will it be comfortable to enjoy for days on end?
You don’t have to sacrifice style for function. Opt for designs that offer the best of both worlds – like the beautiful Leia gas lift queen size bed frame with sneaky storage.
Many of us are guilty of simply scanning through long jumbles of words. Misreading a text from your partner about what to pick up for dinner is one thing. Missing the part about what type of wood your new dining table is made of? You will end up eating that dinner on a solid pine imposter. Moral of the story? Read the entire product summary. Always click on any links or tabs leading to further information and read the boring “specifications” part too.
In addition to descriptions, pictures can speak a thousand words – or so they say. Browse through different angles of the item to get an impression of the real thing. Pay particular attention to images that don’t utilise a staged room. These will give you a better idea of whether the furniture is appealing on its own or not.
Quality, material and colour
One of the most difficult things to decipher from a mere picture is quality. That bed may look great on paper, but the cheaper the build the quicker it will end up as landfill. Photography taken under studio lights can also make colours and fabrics look different on screen. Purchasing furniture online means you most likely won’t have the luxury of inspecting it in person. This is where your reading skills come into play (see above point on “Description”). Learning about the makers behind these products become more important than offline shopping.
Review the materials listed and zoom in on fabric to get a better view of the texture. Decipher the difference between leather, “pleather”, MDF and solid timber so you are well armed for your next online splurge. Most online furniture brands offer free fabric samples to help you decide. Or a physical studio for you to visit in major metro areas such as Sydney and Melbourne.
The three rules of choosing the right sized furniture online? Measure, measure, measure.
Picking the right furniture isn’t simply ensuring it complements the current styling of your interior. Ask yourself: how will that new sofa fit in to the current living space? It’s much easier to pull out a measuring tape a few times than to return a sofa because it won’t fit through the door. The last thing you want is to have to install your sofa via crane through the balcony.
Size is like colour; it can be hard to get a true representation of scale from a computer image. Consider the published measurements of the item as well as the size of the space you need to fill. This will help ensure your online purchase is a good fit – in every sense of the word. Find tools online that can help you choose by size easier.
A lot of online furniture will not arrive at your door preassembled. Logistically it is much easier to transport furniture that has been “flat packed” to reduce costs. You will have to put it together, so know what you’re getting yourself into before committing to buy. Most online furniture brands will have easy-to-view assembly guides on their website.
If wielding a hammer and nails is not your forte, ask a friend to lend a hand in exchange for a couple of beers. Or, simply hire a handyman from somewhere like Airtasker. It will help prevent accidental damage to your new goods and save you a few grey hairs.
When you aren’t able to see your beloved online sofa in the flesh, online reviews are the next best thing. What better way to discover whether that sofa will live up to the comfort requirements of a Netflix binge than to hear it from those who have already tested it. If reviews for that particular piece of furniture don’t exist on the manufacturer’s website, cast a wider net with a Google search. If you are still drawing a blank, check out reviews for similar items by the same brand.
Reviews aren’t limited to the written form. Look at Instagram and Pinterest for images of the furniture in other people’s homes – you may be surprised to see how different it can appear surrounded by real life.
Shipping and returns
Never ever overlook the returns policy when purchasing furniture online. Shop with online retailers that give you time to reconsider your furniture choices. For example, Brosa offers a 7 day “no questions asked” returns policy – meaning you can return your purchase for any reason. These conditions may be a bore to read through but will save you a lot of heartaches if that sofa turns out to not be quite as perfect as you imagined.
In addition to returns, you should always take into account the total shipping cost. A cheap TV unit may not seem like such a bargain after a few hefty delivery charges. Avoid any nasty surprises by using the shipping calculator before divulging credit card details. Brosa offers free delivery for Sydney and Melbourne metro areas, which can save you a fortune.
Buying furniture online doesn’t have to feel like a gamble. Keep these tips in mind every time you shop for pieces to add to your home – and never feel swindled again.
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