4 Things You MUST Do When Furniture Shopping

furniture shopping, shopping for the home, tips on furniture shopping

Is there a wrong way to shop? There are likely different answers to that question, but after spending several hours in a furniture store over the weekend it sure felt like we did it wrong. It was so wrong that we came very close to buying very expensive furniture that would have been a bad fit for our lifestyle.

We entered the store and was immediately greeted by a salesperson. My wife stated we were looking for a leather sectional for a living room that was smaller in size. We spent the better part of an hour being shown expensive leather sectionals, none of which resonated with me. My wife sounded excited about a particular model, but I could tell she didn’t love it, and if we were going to drop that much cash (it was very expensive), we’d have to absolutely love it.  Gradually we were figuring out that a leather sectional wasn’t what we wanted at all. At one point I wandered away from my wife and the salesman and started looking at other options.

“Now THIS is the kind of couch I can curl up and watch football in,” I told my wife as I pointed at a soft, overstuffed, fabric couch and loveseat.

As hard as he tried to hide it, the sales person was visibly annoyed. I’m not sure if the reason was the sudden change in direction and essentially starting all over, or the obvious decrease in price of the products we were looking at which would obviously affect his commission.

The next time we go shopping for furniture, there are a few things I’d do differently:

Know Your Measurements

One of the problems we had was we forgot to measure the space we had available before going shopping. That lack of information made it difficult to know whether different pieces of furniture would fit in our space or not. We ended up taking information of several models home to check the measurements after leaving the store.

Determine Your Preferences

We initially walked into the store set on a leather sectional. It was a good starting place, but initial thoughts may change once you start actually looking at furniture.

Browse On Your Own

Salespeople that work on commission try to latch on to you as you walk into the door. They want to “claim” you before their coworkers. Take their business card and tell the salesperson you want to look around on your own for awhile, but will come find them when you are ready. Had we done this, what we were looking for likely would have evolved before we took up one minute of the salesperson’s time. Also, we would have felt more at ease to talk freely about what we were looking at. We could have compiled a list of sectionals or couch/loves seat combinations to ask about instead of having someone shadow us around the store for over an hour.

Ask About Financing Options

Many furniture retailers offer low interest or same as cash options. Depending upon the urgency of the purchase and your financial state, financing through the retailer may be attractive.

My wife was just about to give in and start down the path of buying an expensive leather sectional that wouldn’t have fit the function we are looking for. Instead, we walked out with a soft, comfortable couch / love seat combination that fits our lifestyle AND was half the cost.

How about you, Clever Friends, have you been furniture shopping lately? Is there a wrong way to shop?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

Disease Called Debt

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Measuring is a must. I remember back when we were shopping for furniture for the nursery, there was a set we loved. We almost ordered it and then I went back and measured the room with the measurements of the furniture, and quickly realized that the furniture was too big. Good thing, because the nursery had already been painted and that would have been a HUGE problem.

  • I will echo the comments on measurements but add to it. You should also measure the entryway and hallways that the furniture has to pass through before the final destination. I was couch shopping with a friend and we measured the living room and thought we were fine.

    Fast forward to delivery day: the entryway had a ledge that stuck out a little bit and the sectional could not get past that. The apartment was on the second floor so they would have had to hoist it up over the balcony and into the living room from the other side.

  • I just bought a new sofa after living 15 years with a sofa that was too big. My husband told me he thought it would be too big before I ordered it, but I loved the color. Oh and the color looked different and wasn’t exactly what I wanted either when it came in. Lighting and those little swatches can be deceiving. I used a designer this time and must say she was worth every penny.

    • Yeah, we were looking at swatches of color for some of the couches we were looking at….I dunno if I would ever trust what a couch would look like from a little 2×2 piece of fabric.

Leave a Comment