Online Shopping for Your Home Furniture & Decor
My Top 5 Designer Tips
There is no denying the fact that a big portion of my job is shopping. As a designer I spend several hours a day scouring through all my resources for the perfect – everything – for each client. The choices today are innumerable and that means overwhelming! Luckily since I’ve been at this for a while, I’ve learned the good sources from the not so good. Just like you, I online shop. I use the internet and online catalogs for most of my specifying. Actually all of my specifying. In the old days only we designers had access to all that the world of furniture has to offer. No longer a secret, anyone can gain access to all the top brands and the wide variety of choices.
I shop ALL -OF -THE -TIME.
Due to all the practice I’ve put in, I have a pretty good handle on where to find the best of the best as well as the rest.
The funny thing is though, I still get calls, emails, and texts from friends and family who know what they want but don’t have the first idea where to look when they want something in particular. They don’t know where to find things Or they are completely overwhelmed by the choices they have.
The process of online shopping although it may seem oh so easy, is, in reality, work! Well, not the shopping and selecting part, but the ordering and getting it delivered part is work and you need to be very careful.
Scale, proportion, and color are all difficult to judge online. Even more difficult is visualizing something in your own space.
My first thought was to create a blog post of online shopping ideas for _______ (insert whatever item you need). BUT Before I list some of my favoirte websites to visit and catalogs to check out I think it’s only appropriate that I preface that with a list of my suggested do’s and don’ts of online and catalog purchasing.
A checklist if you will to hopefully minimize any mistakes and costly returns.
I can tell you FOR SURE that ordering, following up, tracking, receiving, and dealing with damages, incorrect orders and every other miscellaneous thing that comes up during the process IS the most Difficult and Annoying portion of the purchase. However, it is probably the BIGGEST and most IMPORTANT part of the process. Ordering is just the first step.
To keep from being disappointed I generally expect that there will be problems. Becuase, there usually are. And there usually will be problems of some sort or another. If by some slim chance you get through the whole process with no issues – consider yourself fortunate!
The cute beachy bedroom in the photo above, almost everything in the room was purchased through online catalogs. From the headboards, to the wall hung sea horses, bedding and blankets all odered online.
Get the look
Here are my top 5 designer tips and good practices for internet shopping and online ordering for your home.
1. Make sure you can return it!
Not only do you want to have the security of being able to return any items that don’t work. You need to know How much it will cost to return it. There may be a restocking or repackaging fee. It may only be returnable via freight (for larger furniture items) and you will have to schedule for a freight truck to come and pick it up.
Which leads to the second tip
2. Know your freight/shipping costs.
Today – there is NO TELLING how much your freight costs will be. Recent shortages of almost everything including lumber have affected shipping costs. Gas prices are also a giant factor in shipping rates. There have been times when something I was ready to order and recieved a freight quote almost half the price of the item. If it ships from another coast, it will be costly.
3. Know ALL the details required for delivery.
Will the delivery driver bring the item inside the house? Is the driver allowed by the company to use a dolly across your paver driveway. Who will they take away the palaet or garbage? Does the oversized item require a loading dock? Can an 18-wheeler fit down your street. How will the item come packaged, crated, or blanket wrapped? Do you know for sure whtever you’ve ordered will fit through your door, elevator, or up your stairs? Does your HOA allow deliveries on holidays, evenings and early mornings? All of these situations I have encountered and was forced to deal with. Often with rescheding. It’s good to know what to expect.
4. Check – Double Check and then Triple check your dimensions.
Everything is misleading in photos. Check the size of everything.
Just as an expample my 6’ 4” brother sent me a great sofa he was considering purchasing. When I looked, the sofa was actually a love seat with an overall size of 60” x 22” x 30” . SO small for a big guy! He wouldn’t have even fit in this tiny little love seat. Reading the fine print is mandatory.
Many websites today have image comparisons that will show another item for reference. But pretty pictures can be and are deceiving. Check – Double check – and Check the size one more time for good measure. Read every detail the vendor provides about the item so you are not surprised when it arrives.
Once I purchased an outdoor sofa for my house and it was delivered and it was only 12’ high. Yes, even I make mistakes!?
5. Make sure you know what KD means.
If you don’t know – KD – stands for Knock Down. Which in plain English means you’re going to be putting the thing together. I don’t know about you, but I can barely put two sticks together! Even with Directions. When I see KD – I run the opposite direction – or hire someone to do it for me. The advantage to KD is it is usually cheaper because the freight and shipping will be less because it can be packaged nicely in a standard size box. But Beware.
I know it sounds dreadful but my philosophy, in general, is to Hope for the Best and Plan for the Worst.
Expect that there will be problems. There always are.
But when you are prepared, it’s just a minor blip in the course. If by some slim chance you get through with no issues – consider yourself fortunate!
Now that you are ready to shop till you drop for home decor and furniture.
Here are some of my favorite Furniture Web Shopping Sites.
Most are higher-end products, but if you are an internet sleuth or shopper you can always find something similar somewhere else for less.
Perigold is the high-end version of Wayfair which I will discuss furthur down. The Perigold site has tons of high-end vendors and the pricing is appropriate for the level of product they have. I was impressed with the white glove delivery service they provided. I ordered lamps and they were on time, called prior to arriving, unpacked and even put a light bulb in, placed the lamps, and plugged them in. It turned out I didn’t keep them, and the return pick-up service was just as professional and convenient.
Perigold carries Designer Brands, many, many great brands that I order often.
Just a few of the furniture brands on Perigold
A great source for high-end traditional pieces as well as contemporary furniture and styles you won’t find anywhere else. Below are a few of my favorites. Scroll through the images below and click on any of them for more info and pricing.
Additional Furniture Brands I am a fan of are
In addition to Furniture Perigold has major lighting, accessory, and outdoor furniture brands.
A few of my favorite Lighting Brands are below.
Click the name to browse their products.
Every one of these brands is a designer’s GO-To for decorative lighting. You will be sure to find a ton of desiger goods you’ll want.
I really like the products on William Sonoma Home, they are more in line with high-end designer pieces and the shop by look section features well-known designers. I have had great delivery experiences with them as well. They outsource the delivery to local drivers and each time I have a call prior to delivery and white glove in home delivery. Returns were quite easy as well.
Below are a few of my favorite WSH pieces scroll through and click for more information
Ballard is a “what you see is what you get” catalog store. The prices reflect the quality of the product for the most part. A bit pricy for some of the items for the quality. I wouldn’t suggest furnishing your whole house here, but with accessory items and cute decor here and there you can’t beat their prices.
Here are a few items I like
This is the over-the-top anything you are looking for – they have it site. This is a great shopping opportunity for Fast Furniture. Like the counterpart Fast Fashion, Fast Furniture is not meant to last. It’s economically priced and you get what you pay for. Could it be too good to be true to find a barstool for $89.00? When you buy an $89.00 bar stool – you get an $89.00 bar stool! Don’t expect it to be something more than what it is.
2021 UPDATE – Wisteria closed and has recently opened again. They are building up their catalog and I am hopeful to see the same unique quality products they had before.
I really love the unique products Wisteria has. I think the pricing is appropriate and fair. They have a great selection of products you don’t find in every other catalog. I purchased the end tables in my guest bedroom from Wisteria and I love them.
You almost would have to live under a rock these days to not know of Serena & Lily. I love the look of Serena & Lily and with their success of late – so does everyone else! A Cute beachy vibe for sure. I’ve ordered furniture and linens from them. The furniture deliveries have been 50-50 good to bad. Delays, damages and customer service have been not so great in a few instances. Other deliveries have gone semalessly. The quallity is great and the look is modern and current. I worry though with their popularity soon too many people will recognize their exclusive products and well do you remember the “Friends” episode about Pottery Barn? If you don’t and want to Google it and get a good laugh.
Some of my favorite Serena & Lily Pieces are below. Click for more info.
I have been ordering from Rejuvenation since way back in the day! A long time ago it was where to find unique lighting but has now grown to include rugs, furniture, antiques and more. They have gone through some changes over the years, but are still a go-to for me for an industrial vintage vibe. Prices are across the board, some are good some are high, but a well-trusted source.
A few favorites are below just click for more info.
I am a fan and I cannot lie. Again, it’s not anything I would use through an entire house. But I think the accessories are current, priced well, and cute. I’ve never left without purchasing anything. Prices are great for what you get.
A few of my selects are below
Love the West Elm Lighting! I may just get one of these for my house!
Love it. Who doesn’t love an everything in one spot store? They have everything but not much furniture stays current season after season. I have used pieces of C&B in several of my projects and would use them to this day if still available.
The chandelier in this Dining Room was from Crate & Barrell, I loved it and used it several times before they discontinued it.
Here are a few of my go-to Crate and Barrell items.
I LOVE the raffia desk!
Crate & Barrell’s more contemporary cousin. Same thoughts here but love their look. It’s more modern and has more of a NY City loft vibe but you can find all kinds of good stuff here. CB 2 is one of my favorite catalogs.
Here’s a sample of some of their good stuff – click for more info.
I was originally surprised to find so many furniture pieces on Nieman Marcus site. Might take you a minute to find te “HOME” tab on the menu, but it’s worth a look. I would have to say I have a love/hate feeling about the pieces they offer. Some are great and some I can not even imagine who would Ever want or buy some of the pieces they offer. But still, a good place to look for designer furniture pieces. They are one of the online vendors that carries Pallecek Furniture. Neiman Marcus is a great place to start looking to get a feeling for pricing if you haven’t been shopping for furniture in a while – it can be a reality check. The orders I have place through NM have had great delivery and once I had an item become discontinued while I had an order in. That was no fun, but other than that one instance the customer survice has been great.
One of my favorite sites for myself is Overstock.com I have ordered a few items for clients from here and my own personal bed (that I still love, love, love) is a four-poster chrome bed with an upholstered headboard is from here. At the time I paid $800.00 for it. With that said, shipping is free to you. Return shipping if it doesn’t work out is not free.
I cannot stress how important making sure you are certain you like any item you are ordering online. You could easily end up paying double for something if you don’t like it and must pay shipping fees.
So, my friends here’s to happy shopping. I will have more to add in the future I am sure.
UPDATE June 2020 – For Reference Here is a list from My Domaine of their 22 Best Online Furniture Stores MyDomaine Editors Always Shop
THIS is a great article from June 2020 on where to find affordable art online from AD.
I would love it if you took a minute to check out a few of my recent projects below.
Rancho Sante Fe, CA Bathroom Remodel HERE
Orchid Island Bathroom Remodel HERE
Windsor Vero Beach, TV Room Renovation HERE
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Check out some of my shopping pages.
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I am also on Shop Style and you can find my Shop HERE
A recent article from My Domaine of their favorite On-Line Home Shopping Sites