Online shopping is everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure. I use it mostly to procrastinate but that doesn't mean it's a waste of time. On the contrary, getting items with just the click of a mouse is the height of convenience. And when you don't have the time or energy to commit to visiting local retailers, buying furniture online is ideal.
Purchasing furniture via the web, though, does come with some risk. The factors at the top of mind are color and price, so more important details get lost in the glee of the virtual hunt. But Portland-based interior designer Max Humphrey and Tali Roth of Tali Roth Designs have other important tips that will help you as you browse. If you are not usually a detail-oriented person, this list will help you to organize a shopping spree guaranteed to reduce the stress of big-ticket purchases.
Double-check measurements. "Make sure you double check the size of your space and the size of the furniture to be sure that it fits. Sometimes it is smart to even triple-check your measurements, especially when dealing with unusual sizes." — Tali Roth
Understand the materiality. "Be wary of how the piece appears online; often items photograph differently to how they look in reality. Be sure you understand what you are buying before you fully commit." — Tali Roth
Examine the photos. "Furniture store websites that have lots of photos for each piece is super helpful especially to get an idea of scale. I like seeing full room shots for upholstery pieces so I know if a chair I’m ordering is the right proportions and size." — Max Humphrey
Pay attention to what is in stock. "I like to support companies that are transparent in how they list what items are in stock and what has a lead time. Blu Dot and Room and Board are both good at this because they say right on the product page how long it will take to get the item." — Max Humphrey
Pay attention to price differences between materials. "It’s also cool when you can click through fabric selections for a sofa or chair and the piece actually changes with each selection. West Elm and Anthropologie do a good job at this." — Max Humphrey
Know the return policy. "Sometimes we change our minds when we see the piece in our space. Consider how much of a headache it would be to try it out and then send it back? Be sure to review the retailer’s return policy ahead of time." — Tali Roth
Support brick-and-mortars. "I tend to buy furniture online from stores that have a retail presence as well, as opposed to online-only furniture companies. I love shopping online, but I don’t want brick-and-mortar stores to disappear completely. Rejuvenation and Schoolhouse Electric (both based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon) are great examples of companies that have physical stores as well as great websites that support them." — Max Humphrey
Don’t risk discomfort. "The only thing I would tend to not buy online is a sofa. If you have not sat in it yourself, I wouldn't take that risk personally. No matter the return policy, it will be a hassle to remove, and that is not always worth the effort." — Tali Roth