Buying furniture online or in-store

Buying furniture is an important decision which requires that you compare the advantages and disadvantages of both, then decide which suits you.

These days you can buy almost anything online – from books and CDs to cosmetics and even large items like furniture. For many people, though, traditional in-store shopping is still preferable when it comes to items like living room furniture and large appliances. As with most things, one size doesn’t fit all. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, and you are the only person who can decide which is best for you.

Online benefits

The two main advantages of shopping online are saving time and comparing items.

  • You can browse thousands of collections and different types of furnishings online.
  • You can shop at any time – day or night.
  • You’re not limited by location – you can shop from anywhere in the world, no matter where you are or where the item is that you want to buy.
  • Because you are viewing so many different items, you might catch sight of something you didn’t know you needed.
  • It’s easier to do comparison shopping for furniture online. For example, if you fall in love with an armchair that’s beyond your budget, you may be able to find a more affordable one in a similar design.
  • Online shopping saves time – particularly if you need to compare several different products from various outlets.
  • Online retailers frequently offer massive discounts, which are seldom available from local shops. So it could be worthwhile waiting a week or so to save on your online purchase.

Online disadvantages

The disadvantages to online shopping are due to the fact that you can’t examine the products in person, and you are dependent on the views of others who may not have similar standards to yours.

  • When you view something online, you can’t be sure it will look and feel the same when it is delivered to your home. Unfortunately, this means you sometimes have to return products purchased online.
  • Misleading reviews can lead you to place an order for a product that is not of the same quality as advertised. Alternatively, they may induce you to steer clear of a product that might have suited you better than it did the reviewer.
  • Delivery charges may significantly increase the cost of online items. There may be added shipping costs, especially if you are buying items from overseas. Some online shopping sites waive the delivery charges if your order is above a certain amount.

In-store benefits

When you shop at local stores, you can touch all the products. You can check that hinges and switches work correctly, pull out drawers and sit on couches. Before you buy, you can make quite sure the item is precisely what you want.

You can often take items home when buying from a local store. If not, the delivery times are usually shorter than online deliveries.

Many furniture stores don’t charge for local deliveries if you spend above a certain amount.

In-store disadvantages

The biggest disadvantages of shopping in-store are that it is very time-consuming. If you don’t find what you are looking for in the first furniture showroom you visit, you will have to visit others until you find what you want. It can take days – or even months – to find the right piece of furniture.

Even if you do find an item you think may be suitable, it’s difficult to compare it with similar items in other shops to be sure you are making the right choice.


There is no definite answer – you are the only one who can decide whether it’s better to buy in-store or online. One solution, though, may be that it works in some instances, but not all.

Why not try both?

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