Scrutinise the photographs
Most online home furniture shops have multiple images of their products and it is important to have a good look at these photos before making a choice. Most photos are taken in a decorated room setting, accentuating the pieces and making it look more appealing, which could deter from the actual piece itself. Make sure you look at additional photos, taken from different angles, and don’t get ‘side tracked’ by the decor. Picture the item in your own home, taking your existing decor into account.
Read the description
Don’t just scan through the furniture descriptions but rather read them thoroughly. Keep in mind that online stores choose the wording in their descriptions very carefully which can sometimes keep the focus away from the actual materials, especially when it comes to ‘cheap’ furniture. Composite or veneer woods can look very much like solid wood, especially in photographs so be sure to read the specifications as well as care and cleaning instructions so that you know exactly what you buy.
Check the measurements
Instead of assuming that the furniture piece will fit in the space that you have allocated for it, make sure you check the measurements as photos can be deceiving. Remember that the item will not only have to fit in its allocated space; it also needs to fit through doorways, hallways, around corners and up stairways.
Ensure you get the colour you want
While most furniture shops will do their utmost to provide photos that are a true reflection of the actual furniture item, sometimes photos can distort the true colours. Especially darker furniture such as the popular ‘espresso’ colour that are very popular at the moment, often tends to look lighter online than it actually is. Take special care when you order items in a particular colour from different online stores. Not all ‘espressos’ (or any other colour for that matter) are the same across a range of different suppliers.
Be smart when it comes to price comparisons
Many online furniture stores sell items that other stores stock as well, which makes price comparisons a breeze. Google picture search is a great tool for this. Take additional costs such as VAT and shipping costs into consideration as well when you make a decision. Some furniture stores offer free shipping services; either as a standard service or as a promotion. Keep in mind, however, that free shipping does not always mean free shipping. To recoup costs, shipping fees are sometimes worked into the price of the item.
Browse for specials
One of the advantages of buying furniture online is pricing. Online businesses have fewer overheads compared to their brick and mortar counterparts, allowing them to sell products at competitive prices. Online home décor shops often have special deals as well, so if you see a piece that you like but which is a little out of your budget, chances are that it will go on sale at some point. This only works to your advantage, however, if you are patient and willing to wait for the right moment.