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Your Position: Home - Furniture - How to Shop for Furniture

How to Shop for Furniture

Take these steps to get the most for your money when shopping for furniture.

Ask about sales. Alcorn recommends that in-store shoppers ask a sales floor associate or manager about any upcoming sales or promotions. “Then you can decide whether it’s worth it for you to wait for the sale,” she says.

Request a promo code. Similarly, when shopping online you can use the website’s “chat” feature to ask an online customer service representative for a promotional code. (You can keep your eye on flash sales by signing up for email alerts from the retailer.)

Try to negotiate. Building a relationship with a salesperson at your favorite walk-in store can help you when it comes time to ask for a lower price, Kelly says. But it’s worth trying to haggle even if you don’t have a personal connection: Seventy-two percent of in-store furniture purchases for which the shopper told us in our survey they tried to negotiate resulted in a better deal. And don’t think you’re stuck with the list price just because you’re shopping online—in CR’s survey, 80 percent of online hagglers negotiated successfully. You can use email or the site’s chat feature to request a discount.

Compare prices. Shopping around is always a good idea. “If you can find the same couch at a competitor, you can ask the manager [at your preferred retailer] if they can beat that price,” Alcorn says.

Read the return policy. Always find out what a furniture retailer’s return policy is before making a purchase. Some online retailers require customers to pay for return shipping. “When buying products on Wayfair, you’re often on the hook for return shipping costs, which can make it cost-prohibitive for people to return big furniture,” Alcorn says.

Know when to splurge. Some furniture, though, is worth spending more for. For instance, if you’re now working remotely full-time, you don’t want to skimp on your desk chair. “High-end [desk] chairs with lumbar support are the best for your back,” Alcorn says. A chair with good ergonomics can also help prevent back and neck pain—and that’s a worthy investment.

Picking rugs and furniture was how I originally fell in love with design, and it is still the most enjoyable part of the experience for me. My role at Studio McGee reaches beyond selections and now encompasses the design direction and creation of our own line of furniture for McGee & Co. 

The depth of a living room sofa or the shape of a leg – it is fascinating to me how the subtleties of furniture influence the style of an entire room. I also find influence in the organic and ever-evolving nature of furniture. If your furniture feels stale after a few years, making a few simple swaps can have an enormous impact without a complete overhaul. 

Unlike tile or countertops, furniture is flexible – have an open mind to rearranging or rotating items within or between rooms. Preparation and planning will help you avoid expensive mistakes and feel confident in your investments. Here are five tips when it comes to the living room furniture phase of the design process. 

5 tips on how to choose furniture 

1. Start with a jumping off point

(Image credit: Studio McGee)

Some designers begin with the rugs and others with artwork. There is no right or wrong answer. The most important thing is that you start with what inspires you and you go from there. 

Shea McGee

Interior Designer

Shea McGee is an interior designer and founder of Studio McGee. The studio was launched in 2014 after remodelling her own home and offering advice on social media. Now Shea has a successful Netflix series, Dream Home Makeover, and have just published her debut design book The Art of Home. 

2. Measure twice and buy once

(Image credit: Lucy Call)

There are many tools to draw your furniture layout to scale. (Graph paper works well too). Place larger pieces first and then fill in with accents like lamps and side tables. I like to draw out the plan and then tape it on the floor using painter's tape. This allows you to "walk" around the furniture and see how it feels in the actual space. 

3. Mix and match

(Image credit: Lucy Call)

Go beyond furniture sets and create furniture pairings with a balanced approach. Keep in mind that opposites attract – pair a sleek lamp with a traditional chair or vintage accent table with a new sofa. 

4. Scale is just as important as style

(Image credit: Lucy Call)

Weave together a story of both large and small selections. Scale is about the relationship between pieces and the space as a whole. Juxtaposing sizes creates a visual impact and allows the eye to move through the room.

5. Good things take time

(Image credit: Studio McGee)

Quality furniture takes time to make, and finding the perfect antique piece does not happen overnight. Create a plan but allow for pivots along the way. In the end, the changes often end up being my favorite part of the design. The best rooms unfold over time – even for professionals.

Book extract from Art of Home: A Designer Guide to Creating an Elevated Yet Approachable Home, Shea McGee.

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In The Art of Home, Shea McGee takes us through every room of the house, starting with an explanation of process and then guiding the way to a cohesive design. With step-by-step guides paired with her own design projects and the power of her personal stories, Shea helps us transform the most important parts of our lives and how we live.

How to Shop for Furniture

5 simple tips from Shea McGee on how to choose furniture |

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