The 10 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Furniture Online

Buying furniture online is a fast and convenient way to buy multiple pieces for a room at once. Don’t fall into the trap of making these common mistakes. 

1. All Free Shipping Is Not Equal

Shipping is such an expensive factor in furniture delivery, and is included in the total cost of your product in one way or another. It can make up for as high as 35% of that cost. It all comes down to the type of shipping you're getting.

Dining Set

You'll want the highest and best delivery with the lowest damage rate. The optimal kind to get is In-Home Delivery with Assembly. The only disadvantage to this is that it takes a bit longer than standard delivery, but it's only a small price to pay for ensuring your furniture will arrive in one piece. To cut down on damage, you want In-Home Delivery with Assembly.

There are many kinds of In-Home Delivery with Assembly - the highest and best service will give you a 2% chance of damage, and the cheaper option will give you a 15% chance of damage. You have to drill down with the merchant to find out which In-Home Delivery with Assembly is being offered.


2. You're Choosing the Wrong Color, and You Don't Even Know It

Color difference between two different monitors on the same product.

See how different two screens display the same exact product? Every combination of lighting/shading in monitors and showrooms will make the same color look different, and some of these differences are more drastic than you think! 

Look at the item you want on three different monitors/cellphones with the same brightness settings. You'll see that it's difficult to expect the same color match for your order. Products in showrooms will look completely different based on their positions and the amounts of light and shadows they're getting. Think of it like taking a photograph using a flash. The amount of exposure to light has a huge effect on how something will look.

This rule also applies to products that are the same color and made by different manufacturers. One manufacturer's bronze will not be the same as another manufacturer's bronze.


3. If It's Natural, It Fades

All wood, fabrics and types of leather fade when exposed to light, artificial light and sunlight. All natural products take finishes differently. There's always some type of light indoors, whether it's coming from a window or from a lamp. Keep that in mind when matching your furniture.

Most nice furniture has some amount of man-made distressing in the finish (paint splatters, nicks, dents, wormholes, etc.) to give a more stylish, antique or aged look. Every item that is distressed is a little different, so you should not expect exact matches between items.


4. Your Floor is Not Leveled (Unless it's Made Out of Glass)

Wobbly furniture does not always translate to a factory issue. When we want to see if a piece of furniture is leveled, we put it on a sheet of glass because about all glass is exactly leveled. Wood floors are never leveled - there are centimeters of differences in leveling in every wood floor. A piece of furniture has a slight amount of movement and will adjust itself. If you want your furniture to be at an exactly perfect level, you can easily adjust the levelers or shims under the legs. Keep in mind that wood furniture expands in humid conditions, and contracts in dry conditions.


5. All Shipping for Furniture is Not Convenient (Because You Have to Be There)

Don't believe anything you read that says "Convenient Shipping!" - it's not. No matter where you order your furniture from, whether it's online or in a store, you will need to be there in order to receive it. You need to allow yourself to be around when your furniture is estimated to arrive.


6. All Returns Cost You Money (It's Just a Matter of How Much and Where You Pay For It)

"Easy return!" - another common line that can be misleading. When you make a return, expect to pay some type of fee - whether it's a shipping or restocking fee. Always read the fine print in the return policy before you place your order. Look for things that can be potential problems - you'd be surprised! For example, you'll probably see something like "Item must be in the same container or box it was brought in." In a typical In-Home Delivery with Assembly, the boxes are all thrown out. The key is to inspect the furniture thoroughly at the time of delivery, and refuse to accept it right then and there if you see any problems. There's also different return fees based on the time frame, so know how exactly how long you have to return a product.


7. There's a Good Chance Your Furniture Won't Fit

The only measurements you need are your furniture's dimensions and its surrounding space, right? Wrong. Along with that, you'll need to measure the path to your space, including any doors and stairs. You'll also need to measure things like the distance from the floor to the bed base. This task that takes seconds will make or break your purchase. The worst thing that can happen is finding out your new formal dining room set will not make it into your home. You can measure as many times as possible, but you can only place that order once.


8. Always Buy From an A+ Rated BBB Company

This is a must. When making such an important online purchase, your needs and concerns should be handled with the utmost care. The Better Business Bureau operates on an A+ to F scale, and a company's rating is determined based on a number of factors. Some key ones are:

  • Complaints filed
  • How business is operated
  • How long company has been in business

You can view a company's BBB rating on its homepage (the link is normally found at the bottom) or by searching for it on the Better Business Bureau Website.


9. You Always Get What You Pay For

Research the quality of brands and know the differences between what they provide. Every brand has a different construction method. It’s important to know which brand is the best suit for your needs. If you are looking for the highest quality, you might have to spend a little more money. Look at how much you are saving compared to the list price – although an item may seem expensive, don’t miss out on a good deal when you have a discount. If you are looking for your furniture to last a long time, the investment will be worth it.


10. Unexpected Fees Will Come Out Of Your Pocket

Get to know your state’s tax laws for out of state purchases. There's a good chance you'll have to pay an internet sales tax, and you need to be prepared for that. Some neighborhoods or communities require deliveries to be made at certain times. If your order arrives on a day that doesn't allow deliveries, you'll be paying that fee.

Editorial Assistance by Home Gallery Stores Staff