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Retailers Reveal: Furniture Buying Secrets

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestRetailers Reveal: Furniture Buying Secrets
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Buying furniture can feel like being a stranger in a foreign land. It's unfamiliar, overwhelming, and intimidating, at least on the surface. But once you understand how stores operate, the cards are no longer stacked against you.

There are tons of secrets retailers like to keep hidden. Isn't it time you learned how to play their game? With some helpful tips, tricks, and know-how, you can get your buying strategy together and score some spectacular deals (or at least not be fooled by the bad ones).

01

Don't board the bandwagon trends

Designers, magazines, shows, and celebrities make money promoting the latest trendy furniture. Sales associates are paid to offer you these hot-ticket items, regardless of quality. They rely on you to complete this cycle by buying what they're selling.

The trouble is, trends are fleeting. Unless what's trending is truly your personal aesthetic, stick to tried and true designs devoid of fancy endorsements and high price tags. Basic styles will stand the test of time without looking dated. They'll also match many decors while avoiding swanky upcharges.

Share to PinterestA wide shot of a furniture showroom in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, there is bedroom and living room furniture in the room.
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02

Cost and quality aren't the same

It's a common misconception that higher prices equal better quality. Stores would like you to believe this, but it's not necessarily the case. Many people get taken advantage of here, so don't be one of them. There are secrets to inspecting furniture to ensure you're getting quality, regardless of price.

If staples are holding wood together, this is a no-go, but joints that are nailed, screwed, or glued are okay. Fabric should be sturdy and thick with straight seams. Wood can be solid or veneered, but avoid mixed hardwood composites.

Share to PinterestCouple shopping together at furniture store
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03

DIY inspiration

Ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture is a simple budget-oriented option if you have the time and ability to put your own pieces together. Of course, furniture retailers don't want you to take this path: it cuts out the middleman expenses and profits of assembly, salesfolk, and bulky transportation.

If it fits your aesthetic, spend a few dollars now on quality RTA furniture, and this DIY project will pay off for years to come.

Share to PinterestVintage chair makeover do it yourself project - chalk paint and new fabric
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04

Ignore the window displays

Storefronts are designed to be alluring. They subconsciously catch your eye and draw you inside. Once there, you're confronted with a cumbersome maze of large products intentionally made to keep you lost in the store and focused on particularly costly areas.

Don't fall for this trap. Make your way to the back of the store instead. There, you'll often discover a treasure trove of exclusive discounts. From new-old stock to not-so-big sellers, there's a nice chance you'll find something you need without spending an arm and a leg. If you're looking for specifics, though, take the grocery store tact: come in with a list of exactly what you need, and limit yourself (and the chatty salesperson) to that.

Share to PinterestHappy woman at a shopping center looking at a furniture store window
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05

Be floored by floor samples

Floor samples are a wonderful spokesperson for a product's durability and longevity. Walk away if the piece is rough, but if it isn't, understand that you can likely purchase it at a discount. Stores want to maximize profits, so they don't often announce floor model sales. Know this secret so you can save some cash on a costlier piece you love.

Share to PinterestDecorative Stone Plastic Composite panels like wooden on the floor and walls in the store
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06

Seek out what you can't find

Another secret stores are keeping from you is their stash of backroom merchandise. Naturally, retailers get their fair share of returns: maybe it was an impulse buy that didn't match the carpet or the piece was too big. Regardless, these open-box items are likely just-like-new and have no damage.

For whatever reason, it's common for these returns to never make it back onto the sales floor. If you're curious to see everything the store has to offer, you definitely want to ask about their open-box deals.

Share to PinterestInterested in new sofa. Woman in white shirt and jeans looking interested
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07

Don't discount the discounts

It's clichéd but true: it never hurts to ask. If you want a better price, inquire about a discount. When it comes to furniture, what's written on the price tag isn't necessarily what you have to pay. Often, there's a buffer zone. Stores don't want you to know that associates have wiggle room when it comes to pricing.

In-store specials, large sales, coupons, and senior discounts are other ways you can cut the grand total of your furniture bill. Don't go into things blindly. Do your homework before making a buy; learn your options and what incentives companies are offering.

Share to PinterestCheerful female customer making a contactless payment with credit card at a furniture store smiling
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08

Push back on the warranty push

Many furniture retailers have commission-based sales. This encourages employees to take a vested interest in selling you as much as possible, including extended warranties and protection plans.

Most of the time, these add-ons are useless, and charging them is a hush-hush way to take more from your wallet. Your agreed-upon price is what you should pay. Don't let anyone tack on more once you're at the register.

Share to PinterestSmiling couple buying new furniture and looking for choices on digital tablet with help of saleswoman at the store.
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09

Online opportunities

Shopping for furniture online, sight unseen, can be risky. Companies know this, so once you're in the store, they'll do what they can to make a sale. Don't fall for this practice.

Many retailers offer online coupons and in-app discounts. To eliminate buying uncertainty, look into companies that have nearby brick-and-mortar buildings. Though these places probably won't honor exclusive website offers, you'll get an in-person chance to inspect potential pieces before buying them online. It's worth it to do the extra legwork.

Share to PinterestSmiling woman holding credit card using laptop lying on sofa in living room at home
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10

Ditch the furniture store altogether

The easiest way to sidestep the pitfalls of furniture stores is to entirely avoid them. Estate sales, thrift stores, specialty secondhand shops, and online marketplaces are excellent alternatives to big box chains.

Scoring quality deals and steep discounts on new and used items through these outlets is a secret route to take to omit the stress, hassle, and blunders of furniture shopping. Plus, if you keep an eye out, you might just land yourself a freebie or two.

Share to PinterestVariety of assortments in store of antique furniture
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