I'm in the middle of furnishing our new flat and some pieces I've bought in store (West Elm, Made, Habitat) and some online. In the end, quite a few pieces I've had to return or exchange for several reasons and this experience has made me into somewhat of an expert online shopper. So I've compiled a list of my top ten tips to help you guys out with furniture shopping on the net!
1. Measure The Area
This was my mistake number 1. I ordered a 2 metre L shaped corner sofa for the living room from Made, while this was lovely and big, it was a little too big for the space. I had ordered it prior to moving into the new flat and though I did measure it, I did not take into consideration how much space I would need between the sofa and the dining table.
I cancelled the order before it arrived and swapped it over for a cute 2 seater sofa with a matching arm chair. I'm feeling like it was a case of silver lining as I actually prefer this set so much more!
So make sure you are IN the flat you are furnishing and measure the area, ensuring there is enough space to get around to the sofa and in between the coffee table, for space to spread your legs.
If you're looking for particular items of comfort, e.g a mattress or chairs, try to visit a show room and test it out before ordering online. This was a big boo boo for me, I attempted to order a mattress online and much to my dismay, it was about as comfortable as a bed of nails. Again, thankfully, the company was quite flexible with exchange, they allowed me to visit a showroom and choose an alternative mattress to replace it with.
3. Read The Description / Specs
I ordered a king sized velvet bed online at and before finding the right one, I noticed quite a few items looked like velvet but in the description they read as faux velvet or velour. Had I not checked the item specifications thoroughly, I probably would have ordered it based on the image! Therefore read through the description, make sure you check the fabric to avoid a faux pas.
4. Check Reviews
Online shopping can be a bit of a mine field in terms of dodgy or un-trustworthy websites and as furniture pieces are quite costly, you'd want to feel secure with your purchase. If you're not using the high street brands online (Made, Habitat ect) check the site is based in the same country as yourself e.g .co.uk for the UK, and always read the reviews. You'll find if you google 'website name reviews' there will surely be many disgruntled reviews online if the site has a bad rep.
Check the shipping time and method, I avoided products that take over 10 days to arrive as I wanted to furnish quickly. If the company is delivering via courier, It's a good idea to phone them and see if they have any limitations with staircases. Often, courier companies will only deliver to the first floor of a building - which can leave you in a pickle if you're a munchkin from munchkin-land like myself.
6. Promo Codes
The beauty of the internet! Always google the company name and promo/discount code e.g 'Habitat Discount Code 2017' to source a cheeky discount upon check out. What a time to be alive.
If you're happy to DIY, go for it. If you prefer to save the sweat for someone else, check if the item requires assembly and call the company, as often they offer an assembly service for an extra cost.
8. Return Policy
Read through the return policy ensuring refunds are accepted or if not, exchange, should you not be happy with the product. I returned a 5 level shoe cabinet from an online store as the quality was no where near as high as it appeared in the images, and the site was happy provide me with a full refund.
9. Compare Websites
Some generic items may appear on several different websites, so be sure to compare before purchasing. You might get a better deal elsewhere.
10. Payment Method
Ensure the websites has a secure payment method. Paypal enabled is my go-to, if not, a secure VISA facility will do. But always check reviews prior to purchasing just in case!