Buy It Yourself -- Online?

This post pretty much wrote itself this past last weekend…On 2 hot afternoons, rather than going to a movie or reading or re-re-reorganizing my office, I spent almost 5 hours making 3 airline reservations and set up 2 easy hotel stays.  Whoever decided that making internet travel arrangements is better than using travel agents did not view time as money.  Yeah, sometimes it IS super-easy, but this wasn’t, and what a pain.

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Designers are now afraid, some are certain, that consumers will want to buy their furniture online because they CAN.  I decided to do a short series about the mystique around shopping for “design elements” this summer, and this is a quick start.

Nearly all furnishings items can be found on the internet.  Paint selections (yep), pictures of tiles and the new installation layouts, rugs, window coverings, wallpaper, furniture and of course, art and accessories have separate and conjoined web sites.  Here’s a start!

If you want to put your place together on your own, it’s certainly possible to do it all by shopping from your laptop –even your Smartphone, I suppose! 

I have addressed some of this before, but here it is again:  you need to have a plan and you need to have a budget to put together a successful project.  Maybe you can draw up your own plan or just figure out what fits best on your own.  Do your research, make notes on dimensions and then worry about colors, fabrics,  wood stains.  I personally cannot imagine buying a sofa without seeing and feeling the fabric and sitting on it, but I have had clients hire me just short of the purchasing.  We picked colors, did a preliminary layout and they decided to order from North Carolina (or wherever) themselves to save whatever they saved. 

Nothing is more tasteless than using expertise and not paying for it (in whatever biz you’re in), but snooping around is free and not much of an imposition to retail stores, so go ahead!  Please be honest when you aren’t going to buy.


This is about new stuff, mostly furniture…used pieces can certainly work, but it would likely have some limitations. 

What I would absolutely want to confirm when ordering at a distance would be: 

1.  Return policy/guarantee – can you send it back? Who pays for that?  Who inspects when your item arrives at a local warehouse? And if you are pleased, is it a standard 1 year warranty — just in case something needs repair later? 

2.  Where will the item be delivered?  Will it be dropped (LITERALLY) at your front door or will it  go to a warehouse for inspection and then delivery to you?  What is that additional charge?  Will that person take care of any damage in transit or manufacturing glitches (like scratches, uneven upholstering, etc).  Is it small enough for Fed Ex or UPS? Insurance?

3.  It would seem that this will all have to be paid before shipping.  Maybe if you are spending thousands, you can give the money to an escrow service to be sure that you get what you ordered.  I did it with a signed Andy Warhol piece…why not?

4.  How do you know what your savings are?  More about that later in “to the trade” info. blog. 

5.  GET CURRENT SAMPLES of materials for everything you order if you can, including fabric dye lot cuttings.

6.  Mostly–how long will all this take? Depending on how custom your order is? 10-14 weeks is pretty standard.  Price is guaranteed, right?   

**Shop it, as long as this is the way you want this put together, compare! 

Let me know how this goes, OK? — or better, have you done it?

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