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How to Buy New Furniture: 16 Shopping Tips & Tricks

Buying new furniture for your home? Check out the 16 furniture buying tips below to learn the best time to get new furniture, where and when to find quality pieces, and how to get a good deal while shopping!

Determine Your Needs

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The first step in your furniture shopping process should be to figure out what you need. Focus on essential furniture first, then start looking at decorative pieces. To narrow down what you’re looking for, visit each room in your home to take note of what you already have and what new furnishings you need. Decide what requirements your new pieces should meet, how much you’re willing to spend, and how long you want them to last. Environment should also be considered—for example, an expensive suede couch and young kids who love finger painting might not be the best combination, and a leather loveseat probably won’t last long with rambunctious pets around.

Measure Your Space

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A great piece of furniture-buying advice is to thoroughly measure your home layout before you start shopping. When you go to buy furniture, you’ll need to know the dimensions of the room you’re decorating, the size of your current furnishings, and the measurements of doorways. This way, you’ll know how much space you have and what sorts of pieces will fit well in your home.

Make a Room Mockup

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Whether you’re choosing furnishings for your bedroom or your dream home office, a great tip for buying furniture is to draft a floor plan to help you visualize your updated living spaces. Try putting pen to paper to sketch things out, using tape on the floor to stage furniture—or using floor plan software to create a room mockup. Many of the top furniture shopping apps also allow you to create digital 3D models of rooms in your home so you can visualize how certain furnishings will look in your living space. A detailed home floor plan can help you know what you’re looking for and reduce the chances of needing to return any furniture later.

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Set a Budget

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Once you know what you need for your home, it’s time to set a furniture budget! Sticking to a budget while buying new furniture helps you save money, narrow down your options, and focus on the pieces that are most important to you. After determining your overall budget, prioritize which furnishings you want to buy first—as well as which ones you’re willing to spend more money on to get your desired quality and functionality. Then break your budget down room by room to help yourself stay organized and get a better idea of how much different areas will cost to furnish.

Decide Early on Assembly

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As you consider how to buy furniture, remember that pre-assembled and disassembled furniture each have their pros and cons. Buying and assembling flat-pack furniture yourself is often less expensive and quicker, since the delivery is easier—or you can just pick it up from the store in a box. However, pre-assembled furniture can be less stressful for those who don’t have the time or patience for furniture assembly. Many pre-assembled pieces may also be constructed more solidly than their flat-pack counterparts. Before you start shopping, decide which option is best for you.

Research Furniture Online

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Whether you plan to buy new furniture online or prefer to do your shopping in person, you should look at your options and price-check online first. This also gives you an easy way to explore different furniture styles without spending several hours walking around stores. Check out product descriptions and customer ratings and reviews to gain insight on furniture quality, durability, functionality, and more.

Consider Materials & Gather Swatches

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When planning to purchase new furniture, consider which materials best meet your needs. Looking for durable fabrics that can withstand regular wear and tear? Look for microfiber, canvas, and cotton. Wanting to purchase eco-friendly furniture? Buy pieces that use natural materials like wood, bamboo, and wool. You’ll also want to consider what materials fit with your home design style. Request swatches and samples from stores so you can compare the colors and textures to what you already own and ensure a cohesive design. Finally, remember to avoid furniture with toxic ingredients like flame retardants and PFAs (microplastics)—and if you have allergies to certain materials, be sure to avoid those, as well.

Shop Around for New Furniture

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Wondering where to buy new furniture? You can shop furniture online at large companies like Amazon, Wayfair, and IKEA—and oftentimes, you can save more money online with coupon codes or online exclusive promotions. If you prefer to shop in person for affordable, accessible furniture, visit Target, Walmart, or local retailers in your area. Or if you want to test before purchasing, try furniture stores like HomeGoods, Ashley or local home furnishing stores.

Try Out Artisanal or Custom-Made Furniture

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You don’t always have to head to big retailers to find high-quality furniture! If you want furniture that lasts a lifetime, consider purchasing from carpenters and craftsmen who create high-quality, artisanal furniture. Look for local makers in your area, find hand-made goods at local flea markets and craft fairs, or find their products on platforms like Etsy, Instagram Shopping, and other online marketplaces for handmade items. Using different search terms and hashtags can help you find a variety of craftsmen in each product category. Though buying handcrafted furniture can be more expensive, you’ll get benefits like increased quality, longevity, uniqueness, and personalization!

Test Furniture Quality

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Ideally, you’ll want to buy furniture that is built to last! Shopping from reputable online sellers or quality furniture stores is a good start. Here are some other general rules to keep in mind when looking for new furniture:

  • Choose solid wood over veneer or particleboard
  • Look for solid joints and avoid furniture that is joined together only by screws, staples, or wood glue
  • Check quality of springs in sofas by feeling how close together they are
  • Find couch cushions that are reversible
  • Get performance fabrics that hold up well to everyday wear and tear
  • Feel the back and sides of couches and chairs to see if they’re reinforced
  • Ensure upholstery matches up at the seams

Mix & Match Shapes & Sizes

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Whether you’re buying furniture for a new house or changing up your current apartment design, you’ll likely want some variety in your furnishings! Try balancing your rectangular bed with circular nightstands, or offset a long couch with a triangular coffee table. A simple furniture trick for achieving a balanced design is to make sure you’re buying a wide range of sizes. Pair an oversized loveseat with a sleek armchair in your living room, or even out a wide king bed with a tall armoire in your bedroom. Diversifying furniture shapes and sizes in this way can add visual interest to any room in your home.

Be Strategic with Furniture Sets

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Searching for the best-value furniture? Buying a new living room or bedroom furniture set can often save you money and time on design! With a set, all of the furniture you’d need for a room comes bundled together—and typically, the set is less expensive than buying each piece individually. That said, if your space is limited and you don’t have room for a full furniture set, you’ll probably want to stick to individual pieces so you don’t end up paying for things you can’t use.

Buy at the Right Time

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The best time of year to buy furniture can vary depending on your needs, but end-of-season sales and the start of a new year are generally ideal times to go furniture shopping. This is because most furniture stores get new styles in stock at the end of winter and summer, so there’s more pressure to clear out old inventory before new items come in. For this reason, you’ll typically find the best deals on outdoor furniture toward the end of summer, while sales on indoor furnishings will typically happen during January or February and August or September.

Find the Best Furniture Deal

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Looking for other ways to save on furniture? Buying a floor model from a furniture store can be a great way to get top furniture brands at a fraction of the cost. This can work for a single item or entire furniture set—as long as you’re okay with taking home something that others have tested out. You could also try negotiating furniture prices by haggling with craftsmen to get a better price for new furnishings. Other ways to score furniture deals include keeping an eye on sales, watching for promotional codes online, and shopping at stores with a price-matching policy.

Take Care with In-Store Financing

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Anything that seems too good to be true—like putting 0% down— is most likely too good to be true. At some stores, you could end up paying more for your furniture through financing than you would if you paid in full or put some money down. Deferred interest is another deal to be wary of, as the interest can add up if you don’t pay your furniture off in the expected time frame. While in-store credit cards or financing options might seem like an easy solution, be sure to read over interest rates, conditions, and other terms carefully so you don’t end up paying more than you bargained for!

Take Your Time

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A great, universal piece of furniture advice is to take your time. Rushing to make a furniture purchase can lead to paying high prices for low-quality furnishings. Give yourself enough time to do your research, decide what you’re looking for, watch for the best deals, and check with multiple furniture sellers. You should also familiarize yourself with a store’s return policy before making a purchase, just in case you buy a piece that ultimately doesn’t work out.


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