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From Start To Furnish

Please enjoy my musings on all things interior design!

Do's and Dont's of Buying Furniture from Online Stores Like Wayfair

You can buy just about anything online in 2018, even furniture.  There are some advantages to buying online such as the infinite range of shopping possibilities.  Those Wayfair commercials telling you that they've got "just what you need" are designed to entice you to hop onto their site and peruse the goods.  But before you do...buyer beware.  There are some pitfalls to buying furniture from online sites such as Wayfair.  Here are some things to look out for before making a purchase.

It May Just LOOK like What You Need On The Website

When you're evaluating an online vendor, like Wayfair's goods, it can be challenging to determine exactly what it's going to look like once it's arrived at your doorstep.  Look carefully at all of the zoomed in angles of the piece.  Don't forget that a computer-rendered color isn't going to be entirely accurate as to the actual color.  Contact the vendor's customer service and ask for physical samples of fabrics or wood finishes.  They may or may not be available. 
If it's an upholstery piece, you should ask yourself if the vendor's description on their site is enough to satisfy your curiosity about the comfort of that sofa or chair.  Detailed measurements and construction facts will help, but you may be the shopper that has to sit on it.  If so, buying it online is not going to be a good idea.  

When I am procuring goods to furnish a client's space, I like to see each piece in person.  I need to see the quality and feel the fabric.  I often show the client photographs of each piece, but I have seen them in person or I know the manufacturer's reputation well.  

Do You Know How To Measure Like A Pro, Cause Wayfair Isn't Going To Do That For You

Make sure it fits.  One of the biggest pitfalls of shopping online is being able to visualize how the furniture is going to look in your home.  Study the measurements given on the site and block it out in your room.  And don't just look at this process in a single dimension.  You also have to consider heights and overall scale of the furniture pieces that you think you need.  If you have twelve-foot ceilings, a low-backed sofa may get lost in your living room.  On the same token, a sofa with big chunky arms may fit in the room; but it may visually overpower a room with eight-foot ceilings.  Also, don't forget to measure doorways and hallways and stairs to be confident that you can even get the piece into the room.  These are often things that most people overlook.  

Wayfair and Such Stores Delivery Can Be Tricky

Delivery is the terrifying part, but it doesn't have to be if you've armed yourself with all of the information.  Free delivery has some (many) stipulations in the fine print.  It's going to be limited in size.  That also means the truck is going to drop it at the curb.  You'd better have a plan for getting it off of the truck, and un-cartoned and assembled and moved into your home.  Or you can always pay for upgraded delivery.  Premium delivery can either mean they will bring the carton into your home, but you'll still have to open it and assemble if necessary.  Or you can pay for white-glove (don't expect actual white gloves).  White-glove delivery should mean that you will receive your order assembled in your home with no packing trash with which to deal.   
Communicating with freight companies can be a nightmare.  They should (operative word "should") give you 24 hours notice before arrival, but that doesn't always happen as smoothly as it sounds.  They may show up at the worst time. And thus, nightmares can occur.  The truck driver may just drop the furniture when you don't have any help to get it inside.  So, you'll have to keep in real close contact with the freight company and/or truck driver to be able to nail down the arrival time.

If you've got a challenging room you may want to go here or here for help in determining if the goods that you're considering will work in your space.  If you need more help with making these types of purchases, contact me here.