Inexpensive home furnishings

Furniture Buying Tips

by Jennifer Litwin

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Buying Furniture for Your Home

Americans will spend more than $60 billion on home furnishings this year. And furniture can be expensive and a difficult buying decision for many. Here are some great money-saving tips.

  1. Consider donating your used furniture to a local furniture bank and take advantage of "trade in" deals at participating retailers. The National Furniture Bank Association reports that tens of thousand of children sleep on the floor each night and a donated bed could make a huge difference in someone's life. Additionally, a furniture donation is an acceptable tax write-off and the donor is responsible for reporting the value of the item.
  2. Ask for a written warranty from the store, not just the manufacturer. Without one, you have no recourse should the item break. Many manufacturers are overseas, so you really need a store to stand behind you.
  3. Shop online first. Many retailers offer discounts online that they don't offer in the store. Today, 65% of all furniture shoppers shop online. Also, this is a good way to get an idea of pricing and allows the buyer to do some comparison-shopping.
  4. Ask the store to put the materials in writing. Many stores incorrectly describe or label their pieces. Know what you are buying to avoid costly mistakes.
  5. When buying an antique, ask for a certificate of authenticity. This is your only hope of returning the piece if discovered it is a fraud.
  6. Ask for a 15% discount when shopping at a local retailer. Designers generally get a 15% discount, and many stores will offer the same discount to the end user.
  7. If you are nervous asking for a discount, ask for things like free delivery and assembly. Many stores are going the extra mile by offering assembly.
  8. Ask how many pieces will come in the box. 65% of all furniture requires assembly.
  9. Never pay to join shopping clubs. With all the retailers out there today, you can get equally good deals by doing some comparison-shopping.

Jennifer Litwin is a home furnishings expert/Consumers Digest contributor/author. Check out her books Furniture Hot Spots: The Best Furniture Stores and Websites Coast to Coast and Best Furniture Buying Tips Ever!, both published by Random House.

Take the Next Step:

  • Get it in writing, whether it is a warranty, authentication for antiques, or simply making sure things are labeled correctly.
  • Ask for a discount or free set up and delivery. It can't hurt to ask!

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