In the past, there was only one option for buying new furniture, and that was to go to the nearest store and try to find something you liked. If the best you could find was not quite what you were looking for, or cost more than you wanted to pay, your only choice was to either buy it anyway, or leave the store empty handed and hope that the springs in your old worn out sofa or chair had a little more life left in them. However, with the development of computer technology and the spread of the Internet, the situation for consumers changed considerably.
Now, it is possible to search online for literally anything your heart desires, and chances are someone somewhere will be offering it for sale.
This is true of the furniture industry, much to the dismay of some brick-and-mortar chains that were not able to compete with the lower prices available online, made possible by lower overhead costs. Nevertheless, physical stores are still around, and the consumer still has the choice of shopping in them, in addition to the online options that are now available. But this raises the question: Where is the best place to buy furnishings – online or in person?
Buying Furniture from a Local Store
Clearly, the main advantage to local stores is that they allow you to view up close and try out pieces before making a purchase. You can sit or lie down on a chair or sofa to see if it is too soft or too hard, or if the fabric feels good against your skin. You can examine the detailing closely, and check for any hidden flaws not discernible from photographs. In addition, if you find the furnishings you want in a store and they happen to be in stock at that location, you may be able to take them home or have them delivered immediately that day.
The main disadvantages to furniture stores have already been mentioned – they can leave you limited to what is available in that particular store and they generally cannot compete with prices available online. Of course, the stores can special order for you, but you can also do that online yourself and avoid the middleman. The whole reason for going to the store in the first place is so you can pick something out, bring it home and begin enjoying it right away.
Buying Furniture Online :
Online retailers usually offer a much larger selection of styles, fabrics and colors than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Plus, you have the added luxury of shopping from the comfort of your home at a time that is convenient to you. There are no concerns about store hours, traffic or spending hours walking the aisles of a store, since you can shop furniture online in the middle of the night, during a break at work or even on your phone while on the subway.
The Best of Both Worlds :
The ideal buying experience may be most readily available when opting for stores that have both an online and physical presence. Retailers that maintain both often are able to keep a good balance between having a broad selection of choices, while still being able to keep prices down to appealing levels. When you have the option to visit a store near you to test out beds and sofas or to see fabrics and wood stains in-person, you can do so at your convenience, even before you are ready to actually make a purchase. You can take pictures, see room design suggestions, prepare your space, save the full amount for the piece or look into financing options.
Then, when you are ready to make the purchase, you can go online at a time that is convenient to you and place your order with confidence, knowing that you have seen the piece in-person and that you are comfortable with the look and quality.