Shopping for Furniture: Prepare for the Holidays Now

After a long hot summer, we are finally getting those cooler nights and shorter days that signal the inevitable fall and winter. Kids are back to school, and vacations are done.   Now is the time to start preparing for spending time and entertaining indoors again.   Don’t get caught at the last minute without seating, or a table in the dining room!  It might sound silly, but you may be surprised at how many folks wait until November to make big purchases.  By ordering now, you can take advantage of the few months needed to really get what you want.   Better than that, you can spread your purchasing dollars out by not having a huge bill for a new dining room set coming at the same time as those holiday bills.

Make a Plan

The first step in making a large furniture purchase is thinking about what you’ll need, and what will actually fit.  We all make accommodations for occasionally large groups, but how much seating can you provide for in the space?  In the living or family room, will a sectional be enough?  What will fit, and can you get big pieces into the room?  Planning here is key, and mapping your room out on grid paper or on the computer makes it easier.  Don’t forget to measure doorways and obstacles, since there’s nothing worse than waiting two months for a sofa to find out that it won’t clear a turn in a hallway.

Budget

Another key step is to look at your budget.  Determine what you’re willing and able to pay for.  Most stores offer a variety of price points, and it’s often better to pay more for dining chairs and upholstered items since they take the most wear and tear.  Check into financing options.  A deposit is generally needed to place an order, but balances can often be spread out.  Beware of long finance periods, however; those companies are hoping that you’ll default and then be responsible for paying huge financing fees.  Don’t finance longer than you need to.  When will those bills be due?  Can you set up an automatic payment with your bank?  Short-term, no-interest plans can be a great option if used wisely.

Timing Special Orders

To get what you want, especially with upholstered furniture, look into special ordering.  This can take two months or more for domestically made items, but up to five months for imports.  With special orders, you’re able to truly customize your look so that it doesn’t look like you bought the showroom like everyone else.  If you are looking into custom furniture, whatever your price point, think about what you’ll keep in that room and what will change later.  Don’t coordinate your new purchase with items that will change in a year. The key here is to think ahead.  Make sure you bring photos with you while shopping for fabrics and styles, not only of the room you’re working on, but adjoining rooms as well.   It’s easy to forget what you have when you’re looking at a big, beautiful furniture showroom. Deliveries also are much easier to get in the fall, when the weather is still good and the warehouses are fully staffed.  No one is on vacation, and the manufacturers are geared up for the busy season to come.  Take advantage while stock is good, and before the demand is high.

If you let your salesperson know what your expectations are, you’ll have a much easier go.  Size, budget, and timing are three key things that you need to keep in mind and convey to your salesperson.  Don’t wait until you’re desperate for the holiday!

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