5 Steps To Take Before You Walk Into A Furniture Store

by Debra

in Decorating Ranch Style House, Furniture

Remodeling doesn’t simply happen over night. It’s a process. Some of it fun. Some of it painful. And by painful I mean all that stretching and reaching as you paint the walls and move furniture around.

debra shoppingOf course it can also mean replacing old furniture with something new and fun. Woo HOO!!! Let’s go shopping!!!

This is me with my shopping gearA large Purse that holds my camera, my water, measuring tape and my credit card. Plus I have my faithful notebook.

Okay..okay..it’s just not that easy.

There are definite steps you’ll want to take prior to walking in to a furniture store. You can’t go off all “willy-nilly” or you’ll end up with pieces you don’t need and pieces the wrong size.

Too small or too big just like Goldilocks.

Here are five things you want to do before you walk out the door to go shopping:

  • #1 – Make a list of exactly what you want or rather NEED. If you go off without a list of things you want and for what rooms you’ll find way – WAY – to many pieces that you just “HAVE to have”. Even for rooms you don’t really need furniture for!
  • #2 – You MUST take measurements. Don’t rely on your memory to know the right size of things for your room.

bookcaseFor instance: Write down the length of the wall you’ll be putting the bookshelves on.

If you don’t the two bookshelves you fall in love with could be twice the size you need or can use.

Or entirely to wide making your room narrow and unable to hold the couch you just bought! Disaster!!!

**I fell in love with these bookshelves (yes… they had 2 of these huge handmade bookshelves). After I got over the pure joy of finding the “perfect bookshelves… my friend reminded me to check my notebook for size limitations. 🙁 They just wouldn’t fit.

I find the best way to avoid these things is to make a small notebook that can hold the measurements and maybe some samples of the fabrics already in the room. So your purples don’t clash!

Have a plan and be flexible if needed. If your bookshelves are 24 inches wide rather than 16 inches wide will you still have room for the couch and awesome amoire you wanted, too?

Write down the sizes you can have for each item that you need or want and for which room. Can your new couch be 7 feet long or does it need to stay around 6 feet to fit? Can you fit that “chair and a half” in or do you need to stay with just the “chair”?

  • #3 – Try to know the style you want before you ever step in to a store. If you go in not knowing what it is you’re looking for you’ll likely get overwhelmed by all the choices. Are you looking for the rustic pine furniture? When you walk in the store will you get distracted by the Moroccan pieces there, too?

I love the look of “rustic” style furniture… but in my bedroom I really want a more traditional furniture look. I’ve spent hours drooling over furniture that would never “go” in my room. Some decorators will tell you “If you love it – it will go”… I don’t believe this is true. Also… will you just “love it” today or will that love last a lifetime?

  • #4 – What’s the return policy?If you buy it and get it home and it’s just not doing it for you, can you return it?
  • Is there a restocking fee?
  • Do you have 30 days or 60 days or 90 days or 10 minutes?

Find out and write it down. Don’t rely on your memory to keep track of each stores policy.

If they have it in writing – get it! (It’s often right on the receipt). That way there is no mistaking which store said what.

Keep all your receipts on your bulletin board and write it down on your calendar 10 days before time runs out. That’s D-Day….Decision Day. Does it stay or go?

I’ve had to return furniture because it doesn’t fit or it isn’t really my style. Don’t be afraid to “wait for the perfect piece”.

  • #5 – Why I Use A Camera! I can’t remember anything. I don’t trust my memory and why should I? I have my notebook and a camera.I take pictures of furniture and price tags. One or two shots of the furniture piece and then a close up shot of the price tag. Make notes if you can of the way the picture “differs” from the actual piece of furniture. We found that the camera images were showing a red tint that wasn’t visible on the furniture in the showroom.

serverWhen you are reviewing the photos on your camera… you will see the piece of furniture and right after you will see the price tag.

The tag often has the name of the store and the actual measurements of the piece. (Don’t rely on these measurements if you are actually purchasing the item… take your own. We did find discrepancies).


price tag

Furniture ShoppingOne more Tip from my friend (who was shopping with me) –

“Ask For Extra Discounts”

She helped me save hundreds of dollars on this shopping trip by just asking that question.

Plus… we saved a few hundred more by skipping the delivery fees and moving the furniture ourselves.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy October 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Wow great tips and ideas. I can relate to getting overwhealmed when you don’t know what you want. DH and I went to a couple of furniture stores and all I got was frustrated LOL
Never thought it would be ok to bring a camera. I do take a tape and make notes, but I think I’m going to be more proactive now.
Thanks Debra.

Ed March 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm

You should NEVER take pictures without asking the salesperson first. Some stores do not like for you to take pictures. It keeps the competition from under cutting their prices.

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