Living with wood floors and green chair and navy couch.

20 Tips for Buying New Furniture

Searching for new furniture for your home design? If you’re not sure how to buy furniture or where to look, we can help! Check out the furniture buying tips below to learn how to find quality furniture, discover the best time to buy new furniture, and ensure you get great prices while furniture shopping!

Measure & Measure Again

Measuring the distance between a table and carpet.
Photo via @my_first_home2017

Do you have room for a sectional and a reading chair? Will that dresser fit between the bed and TV stand? Does the entryway table block the doorway? A go-to piece of furniture advice is to measure more than once! You’ll want to get the dimensions of the room you’re decorating, the size of your current furniture, and the measurements of doorways before you start shopping for anything new.

Make a Room Mockup

Sketch for a floor plan. Photo by Instagram user @armstrongarchitectural
Photo via @armstrongarchitectural

Once you’re finished measuring, you can get a better feel for how everything will fit by drafting a plan of how you’ll arrange your room’s layout and the furniture you want to add. Whether you put pen to paper to sketch it out or you prefer to use tape on the floor to stage where furniture pieces will go, this is an important step before you buy furniture—especially if your goal is to not make any returns!

Ask for Swatches

Different swatches of green pattered fabric. Photo by Instagram user @barbouspangle
Photo via @barbourspangle

A pro furniture shopping tip is to always get swatches and samples! Regardless whether you’re buying a new loveseat, ottoman, or couch cushions, always request a fabric sample. That way, you can compare it to your wall colors, carpet, existing furniture, and home decor before you make a purchase!

Research Materials Used

White living room with white couch and wood table with books on it. Photo by Instagram user @the_kasera
Photo via @the_kasera

Is your coffee table created from pressed wood? Are there flame-retardant chemicals inside your couch? What ingredients are in your wood glue? If you truly want to buy the best quality furniture, it’s crucial to know what kind of materials are used. Particularly if you or anyone else in your household has allergies, researching what’s in the furniture you’re thinking about buying can save you the trouble of serious health problems down the road.

Investigate Furniture Quality

Gray living room with black, round, leather chair and white marble table. Photo by Instagram user @article
Photo via @article

How can you tell if furniture is built to last? Shopping at a quality furniture store with a staff you trust is a good start! Here are some general rules to keep in mind:

  • Choose solid wood over veneer or particleboard
  • Look for assembly that uses more screws or dowels than glue and nails
  • Check quality of springs by feeling how close together they are
  • Find couch cushions that are reversible or have coils
  • Feel the back and sides of couches and chairs to see if they’re reinforced
  • Make sure upholstery matches up at the seams

Buy at the Right Time

Blue and gray living room with a blue couch. Photo by Instagram user @ikeausa
Photo via @ikeausa

When’s the best time to buy furniture? January and July are generally agreed upon as the ideal months to go furniture shopping. This is because most furniture stores get new stock in February and August, so there’s more pressure to clear out old inventory around these times. The right time to buy also depends on what you’re looking for. Searching for a new patio set? Check stores for outdoor furniture between August and September! Need new living room furniture? Purchase a new sofa, TV stand, or any other indoor items from January to July for wallet-friendly finds.

Mix & Match Shapes…

Long wood dining table with plates and gold pineapple statues on them. Photo by Instagram user @robyns_frenchnest
Photo via @robyns_frenchnest

Whether you’re buying furniture for a new house or changing up your current apartment design, what matters most is to have variety in what you buy! Balance your rectangular bed with circular nightstands. Offset a long couch with a triangular coffee table. Diversifying shapes adds visual interest to any room and can even introduce feng shui elements into your home.

…and Sizes, Too

Home office with big windows and large bookcases and wire stools. Photo by Instagram user @duetdesigngroup
Photo via @duetdesigngroup

Even with the best furniture brands and trendiest custom pieces, a room won’t be visually appealing if you’re not creating balance. One simple trick is to make sure you’re buying a wide range of sizes. Pair an oversized loveseat with a sleek armchair in your living room. Even out a wide California king bed with a tall armoire in your bedroom. Or balance a minimalist desk with an oversized chair in your home office.

Design Custom Pieces

Round wood mirror above gray table in hallway with lamp and plant on top of it. Photo by Instagram user @livenupdesigns
Photo via @livenupdesigns

If you’re searching for furnishings that will last a lifetime, consider designing your own! This is a great way to get high-quality furniture that matches your design aesthetic and sizing requirements. Most stores and online retailers offer opportunities to customize upholstery, wood type, size, and more, so be sure to weigh your options before settling on something that’s been mass-produced. Reaching out to a local carpenter is also a great way to reuse materials or upcycle old furniture into something new.

Look for Vintage Furniture

Green and brown vintage chair in the corner of a room. Photo by Instagram user @shoppe_eclectic
Photo via @shoppe_eclectic

Wondering where to buy quality furniture at a lower price? Go antiquing! While a vintage armchair or bookshelf isn’t technically “new,” it can breathe fresh air into your home. Antique stores, garage sales, and estate sales are great places to find affordable vintage pieces if you have a good eye and know how to haggle. Here are some tips for what to look for when buying antique or vintage furniture.

Explore Online First

Stack of books and coffee cup next to a computer on a table. Photo by Instagram user @luna_fit_inspiration
Photo via @luna_fit_inspiration

Whether you plan to actually buy furniture online or prefer do your shopping locally, you should look at your options and price-check on the web first. This initial round of exploration can even help you find the styles you love before you begin your search. Browsing online means you can also see furniture ratings and customer reviews that provide insight on important details like lifespan, staining, and more.

Take Your Time

Lady standing in a warehouse full of furniture in IKEA. Photo by Instagram user @loa_elin
Photo via @loa_elin

One great piece of furniture advice that’s universal no matter your location: take your time. Rushing to make a decision can lead to paying more for low-quality furniture pieces. To ensure you find the best deal, wait for a major holiday, do your research, and price-check with multiple furniture sellers.

Use a Furniture Shopping App

Hand holding a tablet that shows a couch on it. Photo by Instagram user @digital949
Photo via @digital949

The best way to buy furniture is through technology! There are countless apps that can render an image of how a room would look with new furniture, as well as connect you with the stores selling what you want. DecorMatters uses Augmented Reality (AR) to let you stage furniture in your home with realistic dimensions. Houzz allows you to filter by specific rooms or design styles and can connect you with a professional designer through the app. If you have a favorite furniture store, go directly to store specific-apps like AnthropologieIKEAOverstock, and more to explore 3D renderings and staging options.

Prioritize Lifestyle Needs

White living room with tan couch and color pillows with a floor plant. Photo by Instagram user @balalaladecor
Photo via @balalaladecor

Nice furniture might not always be nice for your situation. A suede couch and young kids who love finger painting don’t add up. A leather loveseat won’t last long with three playful dogs around. While it’s easy to imagine exactly how you want something to look, balancing your everyday needs with styles you love is crucial. Before you make any purchases, be sure to consider what criteria your new furniture needs to meet, how much you’re willing to spend, and how long you expect it to last.

Decide Early on Assembly

Dark wood entertainment center being built. Photo by Instagram user @jjfurnitureassembly
Photo via @jjfurnitureassembly

Finding reasonably-priced furniture can be as simple as doing the assembly yourself. If you don’t need something delivered or can take it home in a box that day, you can likely get a better deal than buying it pre-assembled or having a store deliver a fully-assembled model. But how much is your time worth? And how good are you with a drill? Ask yourself these questions before you start negotiating a price because your new nightstand won’t do much good if it stays in the box for months to come.

Be Strategic with Furniture Sets

Bedroom with blue bed and tan bench with patterned chairs. Photo by Instagram user @studio7interiors
Photo via @studio7interiors

Searching for the best value furniture? Buying a living room or bedroom set can save you money! With a set, all of the furniture you’d need for a room comes bundled together—and typically, the set is cheaper than buying each piece individually! That said, if you only have room for a couch and a coffee table rather than the full living room set, don’t get talked into buying the whole thing. It’s okay to spend a little more on just a few pieces or continue shopping so you can get exactly what you’re looking for.

Ask About Floor Models

Brown dining floor model at Allens Home store. Photo by Instagram user @allenshome
Photo via @allenshome

Looking for ways to save money on new furniture? Buying an as-is piece on the floor at 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 an entire furniture set if you’re okay with taking home something that others have tested out.

Be Careful with In-Store Financing

Outdoor patio dining set at Nebraska Furniture Mart. Photo by Instagram user @nfmpics
Photo via @nfmpics

Anything that seems too good to be true—like putting 0% down—might be 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 all the terms carefully so you don’t end up paying more than you bargained for!

Try Haggling

Two people shaking hands.Photo by Instagram user @sourdoughbusinesspathways
Photo via @sourdoughbusinesspathways

While this won’t work at big-box stores or many luxury retailers, a lot of small businesses are open to negotiating. Score inexpensive yet quality furniture by heading to your local furniture store and trying your hand with haggling. Even if you don’t get the exact price you ask for, you still have a shot at getting something you want for less!

Sell Old Furniture

Old dining set with a green painted dining room. Photo by Instagram user @offerup
Photo via @offerup

Put a little extra cash in your pocket by getting rid of old items before you find new ones! Not only will this clear the space for your new furniture, but it will also give you incentive to get more serious with your shopping. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on how to sell furniture online and find tips and tricks for getting the best price and making room for new items fast!

Now that you know the best ways to buy furniture, the right time of year for shopping deals, and what to avoid, you’re ready to start browsing for new furniture! Looking for more home design project inspiration? Find unique ideas in our guide to different home decorating styles!

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Want to make room for new furniture but aren’t sure where to put the old furniture you haven’t sold or donated yet? Whether you need temporary self storage while you await a buyer or need something long term, Extra Space Storage has convenient storage facilities throughout the U.S. that can help. Find a storage unit near you!

20 Shopping Tips for Buying New Furniture

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