Helpful Hints for Serious Furniture Shopping

Hi, Everyone:

I maybe deviating from my usual subjects, but this is a topic that I would like to talk about.

People will be starting to shop for the Holidays and wanting their homes to look spectacular for the coming months.

Furniture shopping can be fun or it can be very exasperating and stressful to some people. I know because I have been on the other side, as a designer on the floor in the furniture store, trying to help people make decisions. Some customers are very nice, while others can be very trying. As I’m sure they would say the same thing about the furniture salesperson.

My first suggestion is to decide what pieces you are wanting to purchase or replace. Make a list.

Second,  with todays’ electronics, it is very easy to take a picture of the area you want to discuss with your salesperson or designer. Many designers are available for advice on the showroom floor at no additional charge. It would be good to take advantage of that when you can. Pictures can show where the windows and openings are, approximately how large or small the area is and how much lighting the room gets.

These are all very valuable to  establishing a floor plan.20151023_121153

Third, if you can, draw a quick diagram of the area , measuring the walls, windows, and openings. By measuring the areas at home, it saves you from coming in the store, walking around for quite some time, and then telling your designer or salesperson that you need to go home “and measure”. Wouldn’t that have been a good idea to do before you came shopping? Some people call that a stall tactic, but I hear it all the time.

This saves valuable time in the showroom. We can narrow down the items we want to look at on the floor.

Fourth, if you have pictures of items you like, colors you absolutely love and want in the room, bring those with you. Any fabrics of existing pieces that you are keeping that we need to work with are extremely helpful.

Fifth, perhaps a “bad word” to some customers, is a budget , or a figure that you have in mind that you would like to stay with. There are great examples of quality furniture is different price ranges. Your salesperson will know which brands will be best suited for your budget. This should not be an embarrassing subject. Most everyone has budgets they like to stay within. I know I do.

Sixth, try and be considerate of your salesperson while in the store. They are really not there to “hound” you, or harass you. They are there to answer any questions you may have. I know there is a new breed of salespeople out there that are supposed to follow your every step and stay as close as they can. That would make me very uncomfortable as well, and I would probably walk out. I try to treat my customers and clients as I would want to be treated in a store or showroom. Everyone wants “breathing space” and that is what I try to provide to my customers.

Which brings me to several types of customers that can be very exasperating.. There is ” Cindy Cell Phone”, who is constantly on her cellphone from the time she enters the store until she leaves. If you have a store that is 100,000 sq. feet, that is a long time not to acknowledge your salesperson, who was assigned to “greet you” and help you in any way she or he can. These people usually work on straight commission and dedicated to helping you with your home. How would they like it if you were on your cell phone the whole time they needed to be of assistance to you. Something to think about.

The other customer is the one who walks in the store,  holds his outthrust palm in your face and basically says, ” Stay away, we’re just looking!. We’ll find you when we need you!”. Wow! That really helps the atmosphere of trying to help someone! All of these things happen. I think we all need to be a little more considerate of each other in the workplace and in the world of furniture shopping.

All of these steps will help you have a more pleasant furniture shopping experience for both you and your designer/salesperson.

Next time, we’ll see what was new at the Fall Furniture Market so you can be well informed.


Sandra Bockman








I graduated from college with a degree in Interior Design and Home Economics with a major in Interior Design. I have been working in the field for many years and had my own interior design shop in the Suntree area of Melbourne, Florida for several years. I currently work as a Designer with Baer's furniture in Melbourne. Finding the right colors is a strong point of mine. I am able to assist with all facets of Interior Design. I am an Allied Member of A.S.I.D.

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