10 Often-Overlooked Mistakes When Shopping For Furniture

10 Often-Overlooked Mistakes When Shopping For Furniture

You might think you have unlimited options when looking at furniture for sale in Darwin or other places around the world. But that’s actually not quite true. I learned that from the experience of a friend: she bought a king-size bed for her condo unit, only to realize later that it was too big for the space available.

If you’re planning to buy furniture for your home, you’ve got to do it right. Here are some basic furniture purchasing mistakes that too many people make—and that you should definitely avoid.

Disregarding dimensions

Considering how important space is to everyday living, it’s surprising how often people buy pieces for their home without even picking up a tape measure. The footprint is very crucial: get the length and width of the floor area you plan to put your furniture in, and choose pieces that can fit there. Since most furniture can’t be taken apart, also keep in mind the width of your hallways and doorways to make sure you can get the furniture inside.

Picking pieces that don’t match

One school of thought in home design advocates for eclectic pieces. The idea is that even if the tables and chairs in your room aren’t part of a set, they will blend together as long as each individual piece is tastefully designed. Of course, that’s only true to an extent: when you buy a dark hardwood dining table in Darwin but try to pair it with light brown cedar chairs, for example, the resulting clash of colors will put most people off. The individual design of the piece won’t matter much if it doesn’t match the other furnishings in your space.

Not considering your lifestyle

Many people impulsively choose furniture that they choose pieces that are totally wrong for their lifestyle. For example, if you have children, you don’t want dining chairs that are too high for them to get in by themselves. Pet owners generally want to avoid pieces that can be easily damaged, like wicker furniture. Really think about your everyday life, and strive to find pieces that will not add hassle to your daily routine.

Making decisions under stress

Each person has different considerations when making a checklist for buying furniture, but that checklist can go right out the window if you’re under stress. Maybe you’re under time pressure to get a crib for your newborn baby. Maybe you’re so tired from checking out different furniture stores that you forget to check how comfortable the mattress you’re picking out is. Buying furniture is a fairly major decision, and you need to take your time before your decide. If you can, spread out your store visits over a couple of weeks.

Forgetting the maintenance factor

The size wasn’t the only problem my friend had with her bed. It was also impractically hard to clean. She often pulls extended shifts at work, so she doesn’t have much time to do household chores. But the bed has a huge headboard that easily gets dirty, and changing the sheets was more trouble than she bargained for. A lot of high-end pieces of furniture may also require special cleaning agents or tools to be properly maintained. As a general rule, you’ll want to ask if the piece you’re buying requires any special care.

Not consulting salespeople

Going into a furniture store in Darwin or other places can be stressful, especially if you’re uncomfortable around salespeople. It’s understandable: a lot of people tend to think that they’re just after sales targets and commissions. But salespeople can be valuable sources of information; they explain what you need and can actually make helpful suggestions you didn’t even consider. So try to flip your thinking and ask a salesperson for help when you’re shopping—but remember that you get to make the final decision.

Short-term thinking

You may not be married now, but maybe you will be in a couple of years. You may not have a kid or pet now, but do you plan to have some in a year or so? Businesses estimate the useful life of their big-ticket assets to make sure that they’re getting their money’s worth, and you should consider doing the same. Any furniture you buy should accommodate any changes that may occur before you plan to replace it.

Not accounting for lighting conditions

Most furniture stores use fluorescent lighting. On the other hand, a lot of homes use daylight or warm lighting to illuminate living spaces. Lighting conditions in the home can also vary based on certain principles. That difference can be crucial: a color that looks good in the store may look slightly off when viewed in a different light. Try to account for that difference when making your purchase.

Putting fashion over function

Maybe you’re set on buying a particular piece of furniture because it fits a current trend. The urge to keep up with the Joneses by going for a look that’s in vogue can be very tempting, but it can also be impractical; what looks good isn’t necessarily practical. Don’t base your furniture-buying decisions solely on fads. Tables that have small surfaces are generally not a good idea. Metal chairs look good but tend to be uncomfortable. To make the most bang for your buck, you have to consider the practical use as well.

Getting furniture online

There are advantages to buying things online: items sold on the Web can be cheaper, and they can often be shipped or delivered straight to your doorstep. However, it’s typically not a good idea to buy furniture online. You might save some money and hassle at first, but since you can’t physically inspect what you’re getting, you might end up spending more time, money, and effort replacing a wrong choice later on. You can still choose to get furniture online, but make sure you understand the tradeoff involved.


Furniture isn’t like clothing: it’s not that easy to take a bed back to the shop. You’ll either have to live with your choice for the next few years or spend weeks or months trying to undo it. When shopping for new furniture, it’s best to be prepared for the decision. Reading a list of mistakes to avoid can be helpful, but if you find yourself more confused than before, you might want to consult a furniture expert instead.