If you’ve ever had a place an order for a large piece of furniture with a hefty price tag, then chances are you’re all too familiar with the condition we affectionately call “analysis paralysis.” When buying larger items of furniture for the home, it can be hard to commit – especially if it means you’re spending thousands of dollars.
What if you don’t like it? What if you can’t return it? (Although, you always want to check the return policy first.) What if it’s not the right scale for your home? Or what if it starts a “if you give a mouse a cookie” effect and then you have to start changing everything else in the room?
These are all questions I’ve asked myself lately as we’re on the hunt for a new living room sofa.
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How to Decide on New Furniture
While some of the answers to those questions will have to be answered by you, I can help you with some of the steps I walk through as I make decisions about buying new furniture. I don’t take these large purchases lightly, because they are so expensive and oftentimes can’t be returned.
I hope this helps you be more confident in your choice like it has helped me.
MEASURE THE SPACE.
The best way to know if a piece of furniture is to measure out the space. If you’re buying furniture for a room for the first time, I highly recommend using a piece of graph paper (or printing off a free version) and drawing out your space, including openings and doors. Then add in the furniture to scale.
Make sure to leave 30-36 inches for walkways and space out seats 3-10 feet for comfortable conversations.
If you want to read more about this, just search for “space planning” and several helpful sites will pop up. West Elm has a free design planner, which I’ve never used, but you can try it.
Since I already have furniture in the space, I used the painter’s tape method and created the outline of the sectional we want with some painter’s tape. It helped us envision the space, with the new couch and we were able to see how it would work with the existing furniture.
We found out that we will have to move the desk and console table on the walls coming into the living room, but we’ll be able to move the console table to the back of the new sofa.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY.
If it’s possible, do sit on the chair or couch before you pull the trigger! Lay in the bed if you can. See the finish of the armoire in person. If it’s at all possible, try out a large purchase before you buy!
Pay attention to the materials as well! We already have the same fabric on our old sofa, so we know how it will hold up and how it looks in our space.
By the way, the slipcovered sofas from Pottery Barn with canvas material wash up like a dream. I love the fabric and it has been a great option for us even with little kids. I wash it every few months and spot treat any stains and they’ve come out beautiful. I have even gotten out red ink pen from the cushions.
Definitely get a sample of the material you’re looking to purchase from the manufacturer and test it out. Spill something on it and wash it to see how well it cleans up.
WATCH FOR SALES.
Places like Pottery Barn, where I’m buying my sofa, has their Buy More, Save More sales event for every major sale holiday. I know that at any of those times I can save 30% off a purchase of $3,000 or more, so I’m not going to buy it when it’s not on sale.
I usually will watch a large ticket item for up to a year before I purchase, just to see if the price adjusts. If it doesn’t go down in a year, then I know I’m not going to get a better deal.
Go Ahead and Pull the Trigger.
If most everything checks out, go ahead and pull the trigger. No piece of furniture will be THE perfect piece. But if you’ve eyed something for a while and done your due diligence on measuring, testing materials and watching for sales, then go ahead and buy it.
By the way, today (7/8/19) is the last day for Pottery Barn’s big sale! You can get up for 30% off of a purchase of $3,000 or more through the end of today. I’m running over there this afternoon to sit on the couch one more time and make doubly sure it’s what I want before I pull the trigger. But I’m pretty sure in 6-8 weeks, their PB Comfort Sectional will be arriving at my house and we will LOVE it!
Want to Know When to Splurge vs. Save on Home Furnishings?
Click here to read my post on which items I recommend splurging on and which items to save on. Hint: one to splurge on? A sofa!
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