Monday, June 18, 2012

Furniture Shopping the Modern Way?

by Kate Collins



Have you ever shopped for furniture on line? I hadn’t until recently and then I spent hours –make that days -- doing so.  And it wasn’t even my idea. I’d gone to my local furniture store looking for a piece for the new house but didn’t see anything I liked on the floor. My sales person recommended I go to their website and click on catalogs, then I could browse to my heart’s content.

I was amazed by the sheer number of catalogs from which to choose. The problem was that they weren’t labeled as to what style of furniture they carried, so I had to go through them one by one to find those that carried what I was looking for. And what I was looking for was not easy to find. In case you’re curious, it’s a china cabinet. Young people don’t want them because most don’t buy china and crystal anymore. But I digress.

The problem with shopping from catalogs is that the images are no bigger than my fist and in most cases smaller. How was I to see details? My ability to enlarge them only went so far. How was I to order something virtually sight unseen? What if I hated the wood color?

So I trekked back to the furniture store and looked through the actual catalogs there. In many cases, my sales person had wood samples, or had something on the floor in the same color, which made it easier to envision.  I’m still not sold on buying sight unseen, but I feel better looking at an 8” x 10” color photo with an actual wood sample than ordering on line.

My best friend ordered nearly a third of her furniture from Pottery Barn without seeing anything but a picture, and in all but one case, loves it. So maybe I’m alone in my feeling that I hope this is not the wave of the future. I’d hate to lose furniture stores the way we’re losing bookstores.

How about you? Have you taken a chance and ordered a piece of furniture on line? Did you like the actual product? Is this indeed the future?

10 comments:

Kimberly and Abby said...

Our local consignment store has tons of china cabinets. They are like new, without any dents or dings. Maybe there is something similar where you live?

Sara Rosett said...

Hi Kate,

It is interesting that in this high-tech age we're essentially going back to mail-order in many areas (Netflix, furniture shopping, books, etc).

I ordered my office furniture on-line and love it. Didn't love the assembly...

judy said...

I haven't ordered online, primarily because it is difficult to conceptualize the size and proportions. The color issue is also huge. I knit and ordering yarns on line can often result in something completely different from the photo on your monitor. The best way to keep our local stores - furniture and yarn - is to shop there!

Anonymous said...

I shop online for books and some other items, but not furniture. I like to sit and feel the furniture before i would buy. And like the earlier comment, I dont like to put stuff together.

Debra said...

I discovered that Target.com has way better furniture than they show in their stores. I bought my kitchen chairs from them, hubby put them together. They are solid and have held up well for five years.
Check out Raymour Flanigan online too.

Aurian said...

Lol all my furniture is second hand, except the bed, so I could see and touch it before buying (or gifts from family).
But my best friend swears by Ikea, and spends a lot of time looking through their online catalog. But then she goes to the store and look for the item before she does buy it. I don't believe you can mailorder Ikea yet except in Australia I have heard.
Me, I hate Ikea stuff. I have a very oldfashioned taste, dark oak and comfy.

Dru said...

I ordered my computer desk, my side table and my sewing machine table online and I had no problems with it. Luckily they came assembled.

Shirley said...

Another place to look for furniture is at local auctions or estate sales. It is amazing what you can find, and the prices usually are very reasonable. A great way to find antiques!

Linda McDonald said...

I ordered a bench seat with a cushion online and have really enjoyed it. But, for the most part, everything else has been from stores. I can't imagine buying some furniture, like a couch without actually sitting on it to see what it feels like.

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