Lessons in Furniture Shopping

July 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

Shawn and I have always had interesting experiences buying furniture. When we first started looking at furniture, it was to replace an old scratchy couch I had in my our bedroom when he moved in. We wound up settling for a futon from Craigslist, but we couldn’t ignore the advertising powerhouse that is Bob’s Discount Furniture. We learned two very important things on this trip:

  1. If you are under the age of 25, do not expect to have salesmen pay you any attention. Furniture salesmen don’t believe you have money to spend, nor do they think you’re serious about the purchase. Getting your questions answered is like pulling teeth.
  2. If you’re looking to invest in furniture that will last a long time, this is not the store for you. His prices are competitive, but the quality is not there to back it up. Specifically we were looking for a couch, so his other furniture might put up a fight, but the couches we looked at had flimsy frames and cushions that would no doubt deflate within a couple years.

When we moved into our condo last September, our first order of business was to go to IKEA for some basics, including a coffee table, end tables and book cases. But, when it came to bedroom furniture, couches and a kitchen table, we really wanted to invest properly. IKEA, as I’m sure you know, is known for being wildly inexpensive and modern in taste – just our style. But, when we started researching prices and options at major furniture retailers like Jordan’s, we quickly needed to be brought back to reality. Not every furniture retailer is priced like IKEA. So, the research continued.

going-out-of-business1We found that few furniture stores really offer a variety of dressers and bedframes whose joints are dovetailed. Many settle for glued and nailed joints, which honestly is fine, but we wanted to ensure that in 10 years, our furniture was as sturdy and secure as it was when we bought it. We also found that many of the “going out of business” sales that we hear about are scams. Deals at these sales aren’t deals at all – the prices are the same as regularly priced furniture at Jordan’s or Bernie & Phyl’s. It should’ve tipped us off when a local furniture store in Portsmouth had a going out of business “liquidation sale” for nearly 8 months.

There are a few other lessons we learned in furniture shopping, but I’ll leave those for another day. Let me just say that it pays to do your research, don’t overlook the independently owned mom & pop shops and don’t settle for furniture just because you need it. Spend just a little money on something “good enough” until you find something really worth the investment.


Entry filed under: Decorating.

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