If your once-comfy sofa is now just lumpy, or your stained wooden coffee table is stained—but in a bad way, or your new TV looks out of place on your 80’s style entertainment center, then you probably need new furniture. And if you just moved into a new home from a tiny apartment or condo, then you definitely need new furniture so your big new house doesn’t echo with emptiness.

The prospect of buying furniture may seem enjoyable as you’re dreaming about a new sofa while squirming on an old one, but it can be frightening and intimidating to enter a huge furniture showroom and feel salespeople coming at you from all directions! So I’ve provided a checklist and a list of tips to help make furniture shopping fruitful and fun.

Questions to ask yourself before you start to shop:

  1. What’s the purpose of the furniture?
    Do you need it to be extra comfortable because it’s      your spot to relax at the end of a long day? Does it need to accommodate a computer and other work items? Does it need to neatly hide a mountain of cables, gadgets and video game equipment?
  2. What's your color scheme?
    Does furniture need to match an existing décor and/or color scheme, or are you starting from scratch in the space?
  3. Who will be using the furniture? 
    Just you? Guests? Pets? (Special consideration should be given to ones that tend to be gross.) Kids? (Ditto.) Their friends? Any elderly or people with special needs who may be challenged getting up, down or around?
  4. How much space is available for the new piece?
    Many times, believe it or not, this question gets people into trouble and leads to a big “Oh No!” when the item is delivered.

Tips for when it’s “go-time”:

  1. Measure, measure, measure:
    Before you go shopping, measure your space—not once but twice, and then record the measurements and take them with you. Don’t be fooled thinking the sofa you fell in love with in the giant warehouse furniture store will surely fit in your space. Remember, things look smaller in a bigger space. I’ve heard many stories of the amazing four-poster bed that was too tall for the bedroom or the sofa that got stuck in the stairwell …which brings up the next tip...
  2. Don't forget about getting furniture INTO your house:
    Remember you have to be able to get that new piece through doorways and into its desired room. Make sure you know the measurements for hallways, doorways and stairways. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a piece of furniture home only to have it not clear that tight corner. (In case you’re wondering: yes, I got a sofa stuck in a stairway….trust me, it wasn’t pretty!)
  3. If you’re shopping for a houseful of furniture, make a list before you go.
    Start with your bigger anchor pieces: sofas, beds, dining tables, etc. Once those are in place it will be much easier to determine what smaller pieces you would like to add to the mix.
  4. If you’re going to shop online, try to see the piece in person first:
    Colors can look drastically different on your computer than they do in person. Make sure you know the return policy. Do you have pay for return shipping or will the vendor?
  5. Bring a second opinion along:
    Take a friend with you or another family member if you can. Second opinions can sometimes get us to see issues we might miss on our own or stop us from making an impulsive…and stupid choice.
  6. If possible, avoid rushing:
    This can cause lead to poor purchase choices. Relax. Take your time, especially if you’re shopping for a big ticket item.

Well, there you have it. Everything you need to consider next time your furniture needs a refresh or your home is begging for some new “friends.” Furniture shopping can be daunting, but if you follow the above tips, you’ll be much more likely to find yourself lounging on the sofa of your dreams….surrounded by beautiful, functional furniture that fits!

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?

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