When looking for furniture, there are some key things to take into account when you’re out shopping.  Sometimes you may think you have found a fabulous deal, but if it isn’t made well, then that eventually will be money just thrown away.

You should figure out what your ideas for furniture are, long-term. Is your living room going to have a sofa, coffee table and a chair? Or will it have a sofa, coffee table, a love seat and two chairs?

“Why?” I hear you whining. I know, it is a lot more fun to just shop. But if you don’t know what you need, you may end up buying something simply because you think you have found THE DEAL OF THE YEAR.

Below you’ll find some questions you should ask yourself when shopping for the perfect furniture piece.


How to Buy Quality Furniture


What sizes will work?

I know you may not have a CAD program, but you can do this a couple other ways. One way is to mark out furniture using that blue painting tape. You can research online to find the typical furniture sizes to get you started, and then tape those pieces off on your floor where you want to place them.

This will help you see how much room you have in your space, if you have enough room to walk around, and if you need to pare down your wish list. Don’t forget to make notes of how wide and tall your doorways are. If you aren’t able to get a piece through the door, then too bad, so sad.

So with list in hand, go to the stores. Oh, looky here, you found a gorgeous sofa for a great price! “Where’s my credit card?”Green Chair

What colors are you working with?

Hold up there, buddy. Let’s look at this piece. What color is it? Fuchsia? Oh no no no no no. First, let’s not go there. I can almost guarantee that you will be mad at yourself for buying it in less than a year (if you’re not mad the first day it gets in your home and sits there mocking you). Go with a neutral color! They are so much easier to work with; you can always dress them up with colorful pillows and throws.

How is the piece constructed?

Now, how is it made? Is the piece held together with staples? Glue? Bubblegum? Check out if it is a solid wood frame, not MDF. Is it sturdy? Now, don’t go into your full Hulk Hogan moves, but push on the piece. Pull on it. I want you to see if it is sturdy or does it creek? If it sounds like an old woman and it is brand new . . . watch out. It may be falling apart in short order.

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Are you buying for more than just yourself?

Are you married? Do you have a significant other? And no, I don’t want to date you! I want you to take your partner with you shopping. They may grumble, but I want you to bring home the perfect sofa, so the 5’1″ you AND your 6’2″ significant other will enjoy it . . . together.

Editor’s Note: For more how to work effectively with your partner, see our category there.

You need to try out the furniture as you would use it at home. If you are a lounger-type of person, then don’t sit on the sofa like a prim and proper lady with perfect posture. You don’t really sit that way, and when you do go to lounge on it later, you may be sorry.

Where are you gonna buy?

If you are a bargain shopper, you have several options: Estate sales, yard sales, furniture outlets and even places that sell former model home furniture. All of these are great options, but make sure the piece is sturdy, and in great condition (unless you are crafty and would like to invest the time and energy into a refurbish).  Is it a good price?  Just because it is at an estate sale, don’t think it automatically makes it a great price. Do your research!

If you find furniture that was in a former model home, remember it may not be made of the best quality since most people walking into a model home are just looking at how the place is as a whole, not how well the sofa is made. It may be a cheapo sofa covered in a great fabric.

Should I go custom?

Custom furniture is also an option.  When you know you want a piece to look a certain way, and that you want to keep it for a long time, why not?  Now, with that said, don’t go blaming me when you look at your custom upholstered chair two years from now and see that selecting some trendy fabric, now out of style, was the wrong way to go. That’s how we ended up with a glut of 80s furniture on our hands.

Now go shopping!


Note from the hosts:  Thanks to long time Building Moxie friend and supporter Alycia Wicker for this post. ~ jb