5 Tips for Ordering Furniture Online

by Alli
Online shopping is my favorite way to shop and I shop online way more often than I shop in brick and mortar buildings.  I’ve ordered everything from toys to curtains to sofas and even my king-size mattress. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about ordering online and I want to help you with my 5 Tips for Ordering Furniture Online.
I recently updated and changed the color scheme of my living room. I ordered everything – the new rug, the sofas, chairs, and drapes – online. And I’m thrilled with it all.  I’ll be sharing my redo soon, so stay tuned.
5 Tips for Ordering Furniture Online
 If you’ve never ordered a large scale item online, don’t be afraid. These 5 Tips for Ordering Furniture at online furniture stores will help you order furniture like a boss.

5 Tips for Ordering Furniture Online

1.  Research, Research, and Research Some More

Compare apples to apples.  A great deal may not be so great if the materials used to build the furniture are inferior.
When ordering a sofa, check out the type wood it’s made from (stay away from particle board or MDF), what kind of springs it has, what type of fabric it’s upholstered with, etc.  Read the fine print.
Helpful Hint: Springs should be close together and firm. Sofas with no springs, just webbing or mesh, are uncomfortable and flimsy. 
Tightly woven fabrics and fabrics that are heavy will stand up to wear and tear better, as will leather. Avoid satins, brocades and damasks unless the sofa won’t get much use.
Personally, I hate microfiber.  I had a microfiber sofa and 2 microfiber chairs (not at the same time because I just say no to matchy matchy).  They were the hardest sofas to keep clean.  Even when it looked like the stains were gone after a good cleaning, they  would resurrect themselves.

2.  Read the reviews (but do so with an open mind).

If there are 30 great reviews and 5 poor reviews, I always side with great. If most of the reviews are bad, I pass it up and keep looking.  No matter how good it looks in the photo, if all the reviews are bad, skip it.

3. Pay attention to the measurements.

If you’re replacing a sofa, measure your current one and compare it to the measurements of the sofa you’re thinking about ordering online.

Also, measure the depth of the cushions. My daughter bought a sofa once and didn’t pay attention to the height or depth of the seating area. She’s on the short side and while the sofa was beautiful, it was so deep that her feet didn’t come anywhere close to touching the floor. She tried to love it, but it was too uncomfortable.  She sold it and bought another one.

My husband prefers a sofa with a higher back and I like one that doesn’t have loose back cushions. It’s too much work to be constantly straightening cushions.

4.  Check the Shipping Costs

I was about to order a piece of furniture once until I checked the shipping cost and realized that it cost more to ship than the actual cost of the furniture!  Once again, read all the fine print!

5.  Returns – Know the Return Policy

One of the downfalls of ordering furniture online is returns.  If it arrives damaged or you realize it’s not at all what you want, it has to be returned. Most online companies have great return policies and it’s easy to print a return sticker. The problem arises when it’s an oversized item and can’t be sent back via UPS or FedEx.
As long as you do your homework, read all the fine print, measure your space and compare it to the measurements of the furniture you’re eyeing online, you’re pretty much good to go.
Here’s a sneak-peek of one of my new side chairs and my new area rug.  I replaced a patterned wool rug with this one and it’s super soft!
5 Tips for Ordering Furniture Online
Helpful Hint:  February is the best month to buy furniture.  New furniture designs debut in the spring, so retailers are clearing out the old to make room for the new.
Have you ever ordered large-scale furniture online?  How did it go?
5 Tips for Ordering Furniture Online

22 comments

Shirley Wood January 25, 2016 - 9:46 am

These are great tips Alli. We order online quite a bit as well. Furniture stores are fun, dangerous and frustrating all at the same time. When we couldn’t find the perfect TV console anywhere locally, we found one online. We love it and we able to match our other furniture by being persistent with our search.
I completely agree with you about being open minded with the reviews too! Be sure to leave a good review if that’s how you feel after receiving your purchase.

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Travel Blogger January 25, 2016 - 10:46 am

Such great tips! I had a terrible experience ordering online, and I am very leery about doing it again. These are must do steps before you order.

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Mimi Green January 25, 2016 - 12:58 pm

Great tips, I’m loving that printed chair. I’m currently on the hunt for an office chair. I want it to be cute and full of personality but it needs to go with our living room design. I will browse online.

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Esther | The Cuteness January 25, 2016 - 2:13 pm

I order so much furniture online. I’d say most of our furniture was ordered online! We love Wayfair, One Kings Lane, West Elm, Restoration Hardware and AllModern.

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Vicki January 25, 2016 - 2:26 pm

I have to say as much as I order online, I have yet to order any furniture. I have always been afraid it would end up scratched, dented, etc because of the bulky size. These are great tips though and since there are so many more options available online, I will have to try this on our next furniture purchase.

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Miranda (Anosa) January 25, 2016 - 3:02 pm

When I moved into my current apartment I had nothing but I knew online shopping would help so I ordered everything from bed to my table.

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Donna January 25, 2016 - 4:23 pm

I agree that ordering furniture online is great. My number one tip is to only shop with a great service company. I have had really great service from One Kings Lane, Wayfair and Joss and Main. Any issues I had with their products were resolved quickly by professional service associates.

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Liz Mays January 25, 2016 - 4:53 pm

These are really good ideas. A lot of people probably do some hasty shopping when moving into a new apartment or home.

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Zan January 25, 2016 - 4:57 pm

I order a lot online and have even ordered furniture. I am so like you with everything you mentioned. Measuring and reviews are huge and sometimes the reviews alone will prolong my purchase. Keep looking! I too will go with the majority on reviews….and will purchase items that are at least 4 stars. I have been considering new furniture but I already have a long list of house to do-s…the hubs may not be happy. Can’t wait to see your room!

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Chelley @ A is For Adelaide January 25, 2016 - 10:34 pm

These are really great tips. I am always worried about ordering online without seeing it because reviews can be SO hot and cold from different people on the same topic about the same product. But… knowing the return policy makes it easy to decide- I think!

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tiaras and tantrums January 25, 2016 - 10:36 pm

These are some great tips for furniture purchasing online. Which I have never done. I have made smaller purchases on line – but never big ones.

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Chantal January 26, 2016 - 1:02 am

I have never ordered furniture online as I am the type of person who needs to see it in person to know for sure. These are great tips though if I ever work up to it!

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Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai January 26, 2016 - 1:44 am

Excellent tips, Alli. We have not ordered furniture online, but we do research our purchases online. Reviews are great, but you’re right, you definitely need to read them with an open mind. Pay attention to how long ago they were written (maybe the weak hinge has been replace with a better design in the two years since the review was written). Now, I want to go order something big online. 🙂

~Lorelai
Life With Lorelai

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Kiwi January 26, 2016 - 4:21 am

Great Tips! I’ve ordered small furniture online like shelves but nothing major! I will keep these ideas in mind for the next time I shop online for some furniture again.

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Jasmine Watts January 26, 2016 - 7:55 am

These are such great tips for ordering furniture online but I don’t prefer to order furniture online!

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Cara (@StylishGeek) January 26, 2016 - 11:15 am

I love your tips Alli and I certainly do all of those things…especially knowing the shipping costs (and if there are handling fees associated too), as well as the measurements.

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Kristen from The Road to Domestication January 26, 2016 - 1:24 pm

I did NOT know February was the best month to purchase furniture – thank you for that! I have a few more pieces to pick up for a current project 🙂

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John Lopez January 26, 2016 - 9:05 pm

I must say you are very brave, I need to sit down and see the furniture I’m purchasing. I guess if I have seen it in person and it’s online at a cheaper price, I would probably go for it.

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Stephanie of The TipToe Fairy January 27, 2016 - 2:30 am

Such great tips! I have never ordered large furniture online, but I have ordered accent pieces. I’m always paranoid about measurements, so I check and recheck, lol. And reviews are so necessary! I always make sure to leave my own reviews because I know how much I depend on other people’s reviews to buy things.

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Lashawn Wiltz January 27, 2016 - 3:17 pm

These are awesome tips. I have only ordered an over-sized chair online.

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Kiana Abram February 2, 2016 - 1:33 am

I’ve never ordered furniture online but I’ve been wanting to buy a new dining room table for a while so these tips are so helpful!

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Best Sectional Sofa 2020 - My Modern White Farmhouse September 28, 2020 - 4:29 pm

[…] Here are some more great tips for ordering furniture online! […]

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