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What to Look for When Buying Furniture Online

Thank you Joybird for partnering with me on this post.

I remember my first “big girl” purchase like it was yesterday. In actuality, it was many moons ago when I got out of college. All through college I lived with roommates. Our furniture was a hodgepodge of what we could take from our parent’s houses without them noticing. After college, everyone took what furniture was salvageable. It was time for me to get my own stuff.

Now without completely revealing my age, this was back in the dark ages like when you couldn’t order furniture online and MySpace was the most popular network.

I walked into a budget furniture store with:

  • with a list of items
  • a borrowed truck to bring it home
  • a limited budget having just gotten my first job out of college.

Excited was an understatement, but as I walked in those doors I was nearly trampled over by the salesmen running up to “help” me.

I have since learned to avoid eye contact, pretend to not speak English, or turn and run away when this happens but back then I probably let them talk me into something out of my budget and not in my taste. Thankfully times have changed. We no longer have to spend a day being followed around and pressured into sales.

Most of the furniture, rugs, and curtains I have in my house now, were bought online. Never having touched them. With each purchase I get better at finding what to look for and what to avoid when furniture shopping online. Figured I’d share some times and tricks to make you feel more comfortable making these big decisions.

Measure your space.

Then remeasure your space then have someone double check you. Furniture that doesn’t fit could be the easiest thing to avoid with a little help of painters tape but happens too often. Once I find a piece I love I use painters tape to place the same size footprint in the spot it will be. This is helpful when both adding a single piece or doing a full room redo.

Check the Return Policy

This is the exact reason I keep going back to Joybird. They have a 365 in-home trial. Clearly, they feel good about their product that they will let you customize a piece of furniture, add it to your home for a year to make sure you are satisfied with how to holds up before fully committing. Not to mention if you are not satisfied within 14 days they will even schedule a return, free of charge. For large items that a huge plus.

Order Swatches

Fabric is sometimes the hardest thing to gage from a computer screen. And being able to touch it and see the true colors from a swatch kit is always worth being patient and waiting for that fabric before making a decision. I knew when I was looking for my sofas I wanted something a little different and bolder than what I was used to. I couldn’t just buy something after seeing it on Instagram because filters change everything. So I ordered a swatch kit from Joybird and was able to see each color and texture. I already have the chairs picked out that go with my pink sectional.

Read the Reviews

Nothing helps more than being able to see the product in someone’s house, not just the professional photos on a website. Being able to read real peoples pros and cons to help decipher if the product is worth it or not. Keep in mind though that people are more likely to leave bad reviews than good. But when a company openly shares their reviews and wants you to leave one, you know they have good stuff.

Knowing Where Its Made and Avoiding Places that Use Chemicals

A lot of the furniture stores online source from places overseas that mass produce your items with little regards to your health and wellbeing. So knowing where its made and whether or not it is full of harmful chemicals is a plus. I mean, my family and I spend a lot of time on the couch so I want it to be as clean as possible. One thing to always ask is if the products contain harsh chemicals, or if fabrics and foams contain any flame retardants. Joybird‘s furniture is all made by hand in Mexico with no use of harsh chemicals or flame retardants so I can take a nap on the couch with the kids and know they aren’t being harmed.

Materials Used

There are several ways to determine if this is a solid piece of furniture that will last. One thing I always search for is the weight of a sofa. Back in the day when I was still learning, I ordered a Sofa that weighed 84 lbs. For a frame of reference, this was a sofa that people needed to sit on (and actually sleep on as well) and it weighed less than half my body weight alone. Clearly, that’s not going to be very stable.

If the weight of an item isn’t listed, look for actual materials. For instance, my Braxton Sleeper Sofa from Joybird is made out of Kiln-dried hardwood that is responsibly-sourced wood. So not only is it solid wood, but they also love the earth! Win-win. Not to mention the lighter the piece of furniture the more it’s going to scoot all over the room.

I hope this helped make your decorating journey a little easier. Navigating furniture shopping online doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you find a brand you love and trust it also keeps getting easier because you know where to come back to. If there’s something I’m missing, I’d love for you to share below. Happy Shopping

What a difference white walls and curtains make.


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