How to shop for quality furniture online

Interior Designer: The Minimalist Society
We love shopping online. I mean, who doesn’t. Things are cheaper and possibly of better quality than those sold at the local retail shops.
Unfortunately, many of us also have this tendency to make bad buys. Bad buys which typically render them obsolete to us. Wrong sizes, lousy quality, mismatched products and whatever not. If not for the saving grace of those few buys that were totally worth the money, we might have thought e-shopping is totally not meant for us.
So, it got us pondering how to make better buys online, especially for big ticket items like furniture.
Unlike shopping for small and light items like clothes, buying furniture online takes a whole lot more courage. Because for one, furniture, no matter how much cheaper, is still a big ticket item. And since they are mostly bulky, returning defective goods can easily turn into a nightmare (much less talk about warranty!). So, it’s of little surprise that buying furniture online feels almost like threading on thin ice; one careless move and you might be throwing hundreds of hard-earned money into the drain.
To save us from e-commerce nightmare, here are the 5 die-die must-do checks before we place that online order!
Interior Designer: Distinct Identity
Check 1: Don’t be fooled by those pretty photos alone
Simply LOVE that pastel-coloured sofa you saw online? Wait, hold your horses first! Before you click on the ‘Checkout’ button, be sure to check out on some basic product information first!
For instance, high-rise dwellers may want to double check that the size of the furniture fits into your space and your LIFT! Some lifts have doors that are only as tall as 2.3 m, which is lower than the height of the apartments. Check with your online seller if they can possibly deliver the furniture un-assembled, and only assemble it upon reaching your home.
A word of caution though. Some deliverers do charge an extra fee for every floor that they have to climb up the stairs, with your furniture in tow. As an estimate, this could cost $30-40 per floor of climbing. So, if you’re living on the 10th floor, that’s 9 x $30 = $270.  *Budget overrun alert*
When you are measuring the size of the furniture, be sure to consider the actual space it will occupy (including the size of the furniture frames). Some sofas and bed frames come with slanted backs which would mean wasted space behind it, if you were to lay it against the walls.
Interior Designer: Free Space Intent
Check 2: Look out for detailed product descriptions
If the product itself is good, sellers would be more than happy to share intricate details about the product, like the structure that holds it in place, and the materials used for the non-visible parts of the furniture. So, when you’re looking for furniture online, do look out for detailed product descriptions that are USEFUL in helping you determine its quality.
But don’t forget that detailed descriptions of a product quality does not guarantee a quality product. So it always pays to have a bit of basic knowledge on materials and their quality. For instance, if an online seller tells you a sofa has its inner body made of chipboard, you should know that that’s a major no-no! Chipboards are cheap and are too weak to withstand the impact of people seated on the sofa. For a quick start on how to choose your sofas, find out here!
Check 3: Check up what’s included in the product package
While you are looking out for product description, you should also check out what’s really included in the product pricing. After all, what you see in the product photos, may not always be included in the package you are paying for. And this is common especially when it comes to buying sofas and beds, where we often wonder if the cushions, pillows and other loose items are included in the stated pricing. When in doubt, be sure to double confirm with your seller!
Photo Credit: Pixabay, Blickpixel
Check 4: Don’t forget delivery & assembly!
And, of course, while you are beaming with happiness over how cheap the furniture online are, let’s not forget the delivery fees included! Be warned, shipping bulking items over by air or by sea can get really expensive!
Delivery by air is of course faster, but also more expensive than sea delivery. The best deals are always those that only need to be delivered by land transportation. Delivery companies seem to have better control over land transportation. So, you can be more sure about when your online buys can be delivered. Since furniture are bulky and big ticket items, be sure to make sure they are delivered right to your doorstep.
Do also take note that not all online buys come assembled, especially if they are bulky items. So, if getting your hands dirty is not your kind of thing, do look out for online sellers that provide free assembly. These sellers are usually those that do the delivery of the goods themselves.
Interior Designer: De Style
Check 5: Does it come with good after-sales services?
Product quality aside, after-sales services are also crucial when it comes to buying furniture online. For instance, will the seller be able to have it repaired or fix any defects you uncover in the future?  Oft times, it’s hard to expect any after-sales services if you’re buying from far away locations, like all the way from China. And that’s even if the product comes with so-called warranty. To play safe, look for online sellers with at least a representative office in Singapore. At least when you want to claim warranty, you have someone to run to, right?
Interior Designer: The Minimalist Society
With these 5 checks done, be on your way to happy online shopping for furniture! If renovation is next on your list, check out common renovation mistakes to avoid here!