Posted on January 11, 2013
In some ways, buying custom furniture from a dealer is a low-risk enterprise. The fact that many areas have a local dealer with a showroom makes it so. When buying online, you can never be quite sure what you’ll end up with. How can you pick out a new living room sofa if you haven’t even sat on it yet? What if it creaks or the fabric is scratchy? It takes a few dollars in shipping to find that out. On the other hand, big box stores like Ikea produce cheaply made pieces that are all exactly the same. The company is big and individualized attention is not something you are likely to encounter.
When buying from a local custom furniture dealer, you can walk right into the store and have a face-to-face interaction with a salesperson. But how do you know if you can trust them with your purchase or not? Here are a few tips:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If cost concerns you, you may be able to save money on custom furniture by ordering a piece that’s already been made, with a modification. Also, ask for a breakdown of the pricing. Choosing a different stain or wood could alter the cost in your favor.
Inspect the pieces in the showroom. Not that you have to bust out your Sherlock Holmes-style magnifying glass or anything like that, but pay careful attention to the seemingly smaller details of the furniture already made. Specifically, check out the parts that normally wouldn’t be seen. Like the inside of the drawer, for example. If the wood there feels rough, that’s an indication it is of lower quality. Make sure the drawers are not at all tilted and that the veneers match in the corners. If something seems amiss, it probably is.
Note body language. How does the salesperson present themselves? Do they make eye contact? Are they providing you with quality information? Or do they seem more interested in closing a sale?
If a dealer can answer the tough questions, present well-made pieces to you, and handles their business in a professional manner, then they are pretty trustworthy. Red flags in any of the above-mentioned areas should be your cue to walk out of the store. Remember: well-made furniture is something you will live with for a long time, perhaps forever. Be sure to shop around and take as much time as needed to find the right dealer. At Upstairs Downstairs, we are committed to helping customers find what they are looking for.
All prices are in USD.