I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’ve all spent more time at home lately.
I’m not sure about anybody else, but for me, more time at home means more time thinking about what’s in my home.
I find myself wondering things like, ‘Am I actually happy with the layout in here, or have I just gotten used to it because I don’t normally spend a lot of time at home anyway?’. I walk by the same old canvas on the wall each day and think, ‘ boy we could really use something new right there’. I’ll spend some time cleaning, and wonder why we still have the same dust collecting cabinet that doesn’t look quite right where it’s at…
That being said, when thoughts like this pop up during a time that we’re all confined to our homes to a degree, it can be more difficult to act on the desire to make a change.
With many in-store visits being limited right now, its easy to bypass buying furniture or home décor in person, and hit the web instead. Especially when stir-crazy feelings start creeping into a need to take action and go for something new. And really, there’s nothing wrong with that feeling.
Online shopping is convenient. There’s no need to leave the house, your treasure arrives at your doorstep – sometimes at lightening speeds, and your vision for the home you want potentially comes together just as fast.
The only hang up is that sometimes what you love online, doesn’t exactly translate to what you love in person.
While we’d love to be able to invite as many people as possible into our store and help customers choose something that they’ll adore on arrival, right now that option is on hold. However, what we can do for you right now, is help you navigate shopping from a distance, and share some tips about what to look for when you’re browsing virtual catalogs for the perfect replacement or addition to your home.
Whether it be from your local retailer or a big box store, its important to consider the details and logistics of your purchase. After all, nobody likes expecting a gem, and ending up with a dud.
Weigh your Options
With various restrictions on retail and in person shopping, it may be confusing to figure out where you can purchase what you need, and when you can do it. For the most part, big box stores are always open and available – but what if you want to support a small local business?
Though your favorite local retailer may not be able to open their showroom like they normally do, they may be willing to schedule shopping by appointment, or guide you through product catalogs on their website. When it comes to special orders in particular, often times catalog shopping is the best way to ensure that you get the custom piece you desire. Even when stores are open for regular business, you may place an order that takes several weeks to be built or arrive to a warehouse before delivery. In cases like this, you may still be able to make these purchases from your local furniture store and be just as pleased with the outcome.
If you’re unsure whether you can place such an order with a local store, contact them to find out what your options are. Many small businesses are happy to try and accommodate customers, while staying safe and following local guidelines.
Check the Dimensions
When it comes to furniture, its always important to ensure that a piece will fit in its intended place. Even with in-store purchases, this can be tricky unless you, your sales person, or your interior designer measures and checks for accurate dimensions of the furniture in question.
Because you may not be able to physically see the piece and measure it yourself, its especially important to check the dimensions listed on an ecommerce site before the item arrives at your doorstep. Afterall, you it will make it past the doorstep to the place it belongs.
If you’re browsing a local retailer and then consulting by phone for your order, check with the sales person on the dimensions if they are not readily listed online. If you’re shopping a big box store and the measurements are available, check to be sure that all of the details you need are included – and consider browsing the reviews. If other shoppers found that there was an issue with the numbers upon arrival, it can clue you in to whether or not what you’ll see is in fact what you’ll get.
Research materials and Return Policies
Whether the furniture you purchased doesn’t come in the size you expected, or its simply not what you thought you were buying, its important to be able to resolve the issue in a low stress way. Afterall, who really needs more stress in their life?
Digital color has the tendency to display differently on various devices and browsers. Some websites may have photos of pieces that don’t reflect a change in manufacturing during a certain period of time. Some furniture just isn’t what you thought you bought when it comes to your home. When something like this happens, the last thing you’ll want is a hassle when it comes to returning something as large as a sofa or dining room table.
To prevent mishaps, look for alternative photos of the item listed – or hit the review section again. Photos shared by other buyers may give you a better idea of what the item looks like in a home vs. in a stock photo. If you’re working with a local business during social distancing, ask if they can send you a fabric or wood sample. When you have a physical sample of the material that your piece is made from, you can avoid unwanted surprises at the time of delivery.
That being said, occasionally mistakes do happen. Sometimes you just really don’t care for what you thought you loved from a distance. So, what if you need to send something back?
Some companies, whether large or small make the return process simple. Don’t like it? Just send it back with pre-paid shipping, or they’ll pick it up for you themselves and bring it back to the warehouse. At Fitterer’s for example, we actually have what we like to call our “goof proof warranty”, simply put – if you don’t love it, you don’t keep it. There’s no penalty, no cost for us to take it back to the store, and no hard feelings if you need to look at another option. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case with every shopping experience, especially online. When return polices fail to be reviewed, it can be both expensive and logistically difficult to send back a large item. You’ll want to be sure to find out what will happen if you do need to return something, what it will cost, what your responsibilities are when it comes to repacking and open item, etc.
Find out how Much time and labor will be involved in building something yourself
Most of us have been there. You’ve found something that is sure to be fantastic, waited with bated breath to receive it, and quickly find out that there’s a lot of work to be done before it looks like it did in the photo.
If constructing an entertainment center with an estimated build time of 3 or 4 hours isn’t what you had in mind, be sure to find out exactly how the piece will arrive. Check to see if in home installation is available (and at what cost this service involves ), or if there’s an alternative piece that requires less of your time to put together.
At Fitterer’s, we know your time is more valuable than anything. That’s why for those who prefer an all inclusive shopping experience, we offer in home installation at no charge, free delivery to everyone in Central Washington and a zero cost option to have your old furniture hauled away.
If a little cconstruction work doesn’t make you squeamish and you do decide to buy furniture that will need to be assembled, make sure to research the tools you’ll need to complete the building.
Occasionally , you may even get a piece that arrives without its hardware. This is especially important to think about right now, as many factories are overloaded or running with limited staff due to health guidelines. If your table shows up missing a part, it could take quite awhile to receive what you need.
Whether you decide to wait until things settle and make a trip to your local retailer, opt to make an appointment or coordinate and alternative to in-person shopping with a small business, or decide to go ahead and buy online ; remember that your home is a reflection of your life, your family and your personality. Its important to be in an environment that you’re comfortable in, that makes you happy, and allows you to find peace in challenging circumstances. As always, if you need assistance making a decision, have questions about what your options are, or would like some input on your design vision – you can always give us a call at Fitterer’s! Our website is full of resources, online catalogs – even a virtual tour of all three floors. We’re answering our phones and our emails during regular business hours, so feel free to reach out at 509-925-9828 or Fitterers@fairpoint.net until we all meet in person again!
Stay well, and get creative! We are happy to assist you in the best way possible while our doors are closed!