If you like buying preloved furniture as much as I do, you’ll know that results can be extremely rewarding. Just look at this vintage sideboard buffet I bought recently for my study! Nice, right?
Unfortunately searching for gems like this takes time and effort. Not to mention all the restrictions that we have all over the world due to the pandemic outbursts.
Not wanting to compromise on thrifting furniture, I naturally turned to the Internet in a search of alternatives for buying preloved furniture online.
To my astonishment, there are quite a few options to satisfy even the pickiest buyers.
But that is only part of the problem! The biggest problem is HOW DO I BUY FURNITURE ONLINE and not get wrecked along the way.
9 things to do before making your final purchase
- Check the Refund Policy and make sure a refund policy is clear easy to understand. At Chairish, for example, all sales are final once the buyer takes possession of an item. If you decide not to move forward with the purchase, you or your agent must refuse the item at the time of pickup/delivery from the seller
- Read seller reviews so you understand the overall quality of the items and the user experience people are getting while shopping. You may like what’s on display, but if time and time again customers are complaining about the quality of the customer service or faulty furniture pieces you may want to stray away from that seller.
- Don’t fall for low prices as they can be indicative of low quality. Also, make sure the price includes the cost of the delivery. Many sellers on large marketplaces like eBay like to display low prices excluding the costs.
- Inspect the photos for existing imperfections (scratches, chips, and dents). Many photos can be altered or filtered in a way that the item on sale appears perfect. Don’t hesitate to request additional photos if you have concerns about the end quality.
- Know your measurements. This may appear obvious, but you should take all the measurements before buying an item to make sure it fits. Also, make sure you are reading all the descriptions, so you know the exact dimensions of the item on sale.
- Be aware of the materials the item is made of. A dining table that you are about to buy can be made of wood, chipboard, veneer, etc. Know what the pros and cons of each are, as well as storage conditions and how to take care of such an item.
- Delivery and assembly services are crucial for so many reasons! Does the price include the delivery? Will you get assembly on the same day? Will you have to pay extra for the assembly? Is there an additional charge for moving on the 2d, 3d, 4d floor, etc?
- Colors can be tricky since what you are judging buy is a photo. For example, a famous ‘espresso’ color can be a day and night difference (from dark brown to chocolate or red) between what you see on a photo and what you’ll get upon the delivery. When trying to match the colors of different items, you can try to order as many as possible from one seller or request additional (raw and unaltered) photos.
- Use of augmented reality or simple overlays to ‘place’ the desired furniture pieces in your space. Sites like Chairish make it extremely easy for you when all you have to do is open an app, select an item and point your mobile phone in the right directions to see how an item looks in your specific environment. If you don’t have this luxury, you can take a photo of your space and print it out, do the same with a furniture piece you are about to buy, and overlay the two. You can do this online with the use of some Copy & Paste and Cropping.
If you are interested in a broader list of Online Thrift Stores, check out this review.