Furniture shopping can be an exhausting process, especially if you’re shopping for the first time. If you’re shopping with another person, such as a roommate or significant other, things can get even more overwhelming. But a little organization can make the entire process both more efficient and more enjoyable. Here are some tips for furniture shopping that will make the whole thing go so smoothly, you’ll wonder how people do it any other way:
- Make a Room by Room Inventory
The first thing you’ll want to do is create a spreadsheet with designated sections for each room. Under those headings, fill in the individual furniture pieces that go in that room, each in its own row. For each item, label columns with your target price, a field for links and a notes section to record any special concerns. To make sure you’re not missing something obvious (like a dining room chairs to go with your table), you can always use a furnished room as your guide.
- Prioritize Objects and Budget
Within each section on your spreadsheet, move the most important items to the top of their respective sections (if you and your fellow shopper disagree as to what’s most important, better to do it now than in the store). Split up your overall budget and fill in what you’d like to pay for each item. Make sure you set up auto sums on your spreadsheet so that these will all total automatically at the bottom of the sheet.
- Pre-Screen Major Pieces
You don’t need to have every lamp picked out in advance, but you should do some screening to make sure your target prices aren’t grossly unrealistic. Sometimes you can get the best furniture prices online, so copy links (whether they’re to items you’re considering buying or just inspiration for what you’d like to find in the stores) into your spreadsheet.
- Shop for Round 1
On your first day of shopping, pick out the top items for each room, adjusting the prices on your spreadsheet (including taxes!) to keep track of what you’ve spent so far — this is where the auto sum function becomes so important. You can also choose to have separate columns for budget price and actual price paid, if you’d like to see how they compare.
- Shop for Round 2
On the second day of shopping, pick out smaller, complementary items. If you got some deals the first day, you can afford to splurge on a few items. If you opted for high quality furniture on your major pieces, you might need to scale back on things that aren’t essential.
Would this method of furniture shopping work for you? Do you have any other tips on buying furniture? Share your ideas in the comments.