20 Tips for Buying New Furniture
Measure & Measure Again
Do you have room for a sectional and a reading chair? Will that dresser fit between the bed and TV stand? Does the entryway table block the doorway? A go-to piece of furniture advice is to measure more than once! You’ll want to get the dimensions of the room you’re decorating, the size of your current furniture, and the measurements of doorways before you start shopping for anything new.
Make a Room Mockup
Once you’re finished measuring, you can get a better feel for how everything will fit by drafting a plan of how you’ll arrange your room’s layout and the furniture you want to add. Whether you put pen to paper to sketch it out or you prefer to use tape on the floor to stage where furniture pieces will go, this is an important step before you buy furniture—especially if your goal is to not make any returns!
Ask for Swatches
A pro furniture shopping tip is to always get swatches and samples! Regardless whether you’re buying a new loveseat, ottoman, or couch cushions, always request a fabric sample. That way, you can compare it to your wall colors, carpet, existing furniture, and home decor before you make a purchase!
Research Materials Used
Is your coffee table created from pressed wood? Are there flame-retardant chemicals inside your couch? What ingredients are in your wood glue? If you truly want to buy the best quality furniture, it’s crucial to know what kind of materials are used. Particularly if you or anyone else in your household has allergies, researching what’s in the furniture you’re thinking about buying can save you the trouble of serious health problems down the road.
Investigate Furniture Quality
How can you tell if furniture is built to last? Shopping at a quality furniture store with a staff you trust is a good start! Here are some general rules to keep in mind:
- Choose solid wood over veneer or particleboard
- Look for assembly that uses more screws or dowels than glue and nails
- Check quality of springs by feeling how close together they are
- Find couch cushions that are reversible or have coils
- Feel the back and sides of couches and chairs to see if they’re reinforced
- Make sure upholstery matches up at the seams
Buy at the Right Time
When’s the best time to buy furniture? January and July are generally agreed upon as the ideal months to go furniture shopping. This is because most furniture stores get new stock in February and August, so there’s more pressure to clear out old inventory around these times. The right time to buy also depends on what you’re looking for. Searching for a new patio set? Check stores for outdoor furniture between August and September! Need new living room furniture? Purchase a new sofa, TV stand, or any other indoor items from January to July for wallet-friendly finds.
Mix & Match Shapes…
Whether you’re buying furniture for a new house or changing up your current apartment design, what matters most is to have variety in what you buy! Balance your rectangular bed with circular nightstands. Offset a long couch with a triangular coffee table. Diversifying shapes adds visual interest to any room and can even introduce feng shui elements into your home.
…and Sizes, Too
Even with the best furniture brands and trendiest custom pieces, a room won’t be visually appealing if you’re not creating balance. One simple trick is to make sure you’re buying a wide range of sizes. Pair an oversized loveseat with a sleek armchair in your living room. Even out a wide California king bed with a tall armoire in your bedroom. Or balance a minimalist desk with an oversized chair in your home office.
Design Custom Pieces
If you’re searching for furnishings that will last a lifetime, consider designing your own! This is a great way to get high-quality furniture that matches your design aesthetic and sizing requirements. Most stores and online retailers offer opportunities to customize upholstery, wood type, size, and more, so be sure to weigh your options before settling on something that’s been mass-produced. Reaching out to a local carpenter is also a great way to reuse materials or upcycle old furniture into something new.
Look for Vintage Furniture
Wondering where to buy quality furniture at a lower price? Go antiquing! While a vintage armchair or bookshelf isn’t technically “new,” it can breathe fresh air into your home. Antique stores, garage sales, and estate sales are great places to find affordable vintage pieces if you have a good eye and know how to haggle. Here are some tips for what to look for when buying antique or vintage furniture.
Explore Online First
Whether you plan to actually buy furniture online or prefer do your shopping locally, you should look at your options and price-check on the web first. This initial round of exploration can even help you find the styles you love before you begin your search. Browsing online means you can also see furniture ratings and customer reviews that provide insight on important details like lifespan, staining, and more.
Take Your Time
One great piece of furniture advice that’s universal no matter your location: take your time. Rushing to make a decision can lead to paying more for low-quality furniture pieces. To ensure you find the best deal, wait for a major holiday, do your research, and price-check with multiple furniture sellers.
Prioritize Lifestyle Needs
Nice furniture might not always be nice for your situation. A suede couch and young kids who love finger painting don’t add up. A leather loveseat won’t last long with three playful dogs around. While it’s easy to imagine exactly how you want something to look, balancing your everyday needs with styles you love is crucial. Before you make any purchases, be sure to consider what criteria your new furniture needs to meet, how much you’re willing to spend, and how long you expect it to last.
Decide Early on Assembly
Finding reasonably-priced furniture can be as simple as doing the assembly yourself. If you don’t need something delivered or can take it home in a box that day, you can likely get a better deal than buying it pre-assembled or having a store deliver a fully-assembled model. But how much is your time worth? And how good are you with a drill? Ask yourself these questions before you start negotiating a price because your new nightstand won’t do much good if it stays in the box for months to come.
Be Strategic with Furniture Sets
Searching for the best value furniture? Buying a living room or bedroom set can save you money! With a set, all of the furniture you’d need for a room comes bundled together—and typically, the set is cheaper than buying each piece individually! That said, if you only have room for a couch and a coffee table rather than the full living room set, don’t get talked into buying the whole thing. It’s okay to spend a little more on just a few pieces or continue shopping so you can get exactly what you’re looking for.
Ask About Floor Models
Looking for ways to save money on new furniture? Buying an as-is piece on the floor at a furniture store can be a great way to get top furniture brands at a fraction of the cost. This can work for a single item or an entire furniture set if you’re okay with taking home something that others have tested out.
Be Careful with In-Store Financing
Anything that seems too good to be true—like putting 0% down—might be too good to be true. At some stores, you could end up paying more for your furniture through financing than you would if you paid in full or put some money down. Deferred interest is another deal to be wary of, as the interest can add up if you don’t pay your furniture off in the expected time frame. While in-store credit cards or financing options might seem like an easy solution, be sure to read over interest rates, conditions, and all the terms carefully so you don’t end up paying more than you bargained for!
While this won’t work at big-box stores or many luxury retailers, a lot of small businesses are open to negotiating. Score inexpensive yet quality furniture by heading to your local furniture store and trying your hand with haggling. Even if you don’t get the exact price you ask for, you still have a shot at getting something you want for less!
Sell Old Furniture
Put a little extra cash in your pocket by getting rid of old items before you find new ones! Not only will this clear the space for your new furniture, but it will also give you incentive to get more serious with your shopping.
Now that you know the best ways to buy furniture, the right time of year for shopping deals, and what to avoid, you’re ready to start browsing for new furniture! Looking for more home design project inspiration? Find unique ideas in our store