Source: Casual Home Furnishings
It is risky to purchase furniture online. Those professional pictures can be deceiving. It can be done though if you take some precautions. Choose a reputable company that carries the style of furniture you prefer and has a proven customer service track record and guaranteed satisfaction. After reading the company's history, check out the company with the Better Business Bureau to determine if they have any complaints against them.
Next measure the space where you are placing the piece of furniture. Use painter's tape to position the piece in the chosen location. Also, make sure your purchase will fit through your doorway and/or hallway. Read customer reviews. Request fabric swatches or visit a store that carries your fabric choices to be sure the piece matches your other décor.
Make sure the website where you are shopping is secure (https://). Compare prices with a few internet or store retailers. Watch for sales or call the company directly asking about discounts. Furniture sales commonly occur in February and August. Examine the return policy. What is the time frame for returning? Do they require the furniture to be shipped back in the original packaging? Is there a restocking fee? Will you receive a full refund?
Check out the store's tax policies. States differ in their percentage of sales tax from 0% to 10%.
Shipping costs vary from store to store. Do they have store pick-up available? What are the delivery options: front door delivery, inside delivery, or white glove delivery?
If you do your homework, make some phone calls, and do some comparisons, I am sure you can have a successful experience.
P.S. You may want to send for some furniture catalogs for some inspiration. Here is a list of some furniture/home furnishing companies that mail free catalogs to potential customers: Ballard Designs, Bryland Home Furnishings, Country Door, Crate & Barrel, Frontgate, IKEA, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, West Elm, and Wayfair.
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Natalie A. Gauci
Licensed Interior Designer working in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.