As the housing boom rolls into 2023, many home buyers are overwhelmed with the choices available for furnishing their new homes. There have never been more options for buyers, so we put together a guide that will help you discover what works best for you in your home. Furnishing can be daunting, but with our helpful guide, you will be on your way to furnishing your home with furniture that is stylish, up-to-date, comfortable, and on budget.
1. Traditional furniture stores
Traditional furniture stores used to be found on the main street of almost every town, although many are dying out.
Traditional Store Pros
There are a few pros to furnishing from a local store. One is that they often have furniture sets arranged together, giving you a preview of how the furniture may look once it’s in your home. Another is that the salesperson (if they are any good at their job) will be able to answer questions and guide you to what you are looking for.
Probably the biggest pro is the ability to try out the furniture. This eliminates the anxiety of buying “sight-unseen.” When you are shopping in a furniture store, you can actually feel if the couch is as cozy as it looks. That’s just not an option for most other shopping experiences. A final pro is that by furnishing from a local store, you will be supporting your local economy!
Traditional Store Cons
Local stores will have a limited selection, narrowing your options for furnishing your home considerably. Depending on how successful the store you are visiting is, you may also have to deal with some outdated furniture. And remember that helpful salesman? Not all of them are helpful: some of us like to enjoy the shopping experience without the pressure of a guy desperate for commission breathing down our necks. But the biggest con is that traditional furniture stores are often the most expensive option. Because there are so many middlemen (like shippers, store owners, salesmen, and brand sellers), you end up paying for their piece of the pie as well.
2. Online Shopping
Online furniture shopping has become more popular than ever over the last few decades. While this option offers the most options for furnishing, it also comes with its share of risks. Let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of picking out your furniture online.
Pro number 1: variety! You’ll find every style from classic Victorian to the beachy bungalow to cozy cottage in a few clicks. If you’ve got a vision for how you’d like to furnish your home, searching online will give you all the results you need (and a few you never considered!)
Another pro is the price. In general, shopping online is less expensive than buying in stores. That’s because you’re not helping to pay for the store’s overhead. But that pro only works between identical brands. If you shop online, you’ll also be exposed to many more brands and styles than otherwise, and that means some of those will be more high-end (read “expensive”).
Fortunately, there are enough options out there for every budget. And since many suppliers often have home furniture on sale, you can grab deals as they arise. For example, you can read more on 1stopbedrooms website which is currently running some specials on their website. On that particular site, you can almost always find a sale of some sort.
Some other pros for shopping online include having the items delivered right to your door and access to the reviews of other customers. As any Amazon browser knows, reviews can be a wealth of information about the actual color or texture of a product, not to mention its longevity.
That last point leads us to con number 1: you can’t try the furniture beforehand. Getting a recliner in the mail only to find out it has terrible lumbar support can turn into a huge hassle. Many sellers require you to pay for return shipping, and beginning the whole research process over again is a bummer. To mitigate this problem, use a site that has some good ratings for its furniture. If an item is liked by other buyers, it will likely work for you as well. On the other hand, it would be best not to trust a chair with a flood of one-star reviews, no matter how good it looks!
Another con for buying online is actually part of one of the pros: the variety. After looking at the hundredth chocolate-colored dining room table with matching chairs, it’s easy to find yourself paralyzed by the sheer number of options. Indecisive buyers may find buying online a daunting experience.
3. Buying Used
Buying used furniture can have polarizing results. It is by far the most economical option (in the short term) but also the riskiest. Let’s go through how buying used furniture could shake out for you.
Pros to Buying Used
Above all else, buying used is cheap. If you manage to get all of your items used, the savings could culminate in several thousand dollars easily. When style and comfort come secondary to the economy, furnishing used is a viable option.
There are a couple of other pros to buying used, like purchasing from a trusted source. Buying used is an especially efficient route for people who know how to perform a little restoration. If you’ve got the skills and time to bring an old table or chair back to life, you can turn someone else’s trash into a statement piece.
Cons to Buying Used
Before buying used, it’s always important to ask yourself, “why is this item being sold?” Some less scrupulous sellers may be pawning off their furniture because they know about a spot of mold on the bottom, or worse. It is important to fully inspect an item before purchasing it to ensure that it is sound, works properly, and isn’t hiding any unwanted surprises.
Another con of buying used is the inability to get a matching set of furniture. If you want to outfit your house with a certain style, obtaining matching items that gel well with each other will be a chore. Most sellers offload one piece at a time, meaning that buyers must often make their purchases from multiple sellers over a long period of time. That also increases your chances of getting a dud.
Whatever option you choose, make sure you furnish your home in a way that you enjoy coming home to. Happy shopping!