Online shopping is usually a hit or miss situation. You’ve probably heard reviews from people raving about their online purchases and those on the other extreme end of the spectrum complaining about their experiences. Keeping this in mind, we have listed out the good, the bad and some tips to prepare you with if you do decide to venture into the online shopping realm.

As we all know, there are several upsides to buying furniture and accessories online as we have access to most resources. Given the situation that we are in currently, it makes it so much more convenient, accessible and not to mention safe, saving you the trip to your local furniture store. There is an immense variety of choices online; the world is practically your oyster! From international shopping sites like Amazon or Taobao to more local brands like Shopee or Lazada , the possibilities are endless. With that said, it makes it much easier to do a quick comparison on which site provides the best deals for the same item. It may take a little more time, but that extra click might possibly save you money, be it on shipping or a campaign that the site is running. Accessorizing and filling up your home with furniture comes with a hefty price tag, so we are constantly on the lookout for any deals around the corner!

Consideration #1: Dimensions
Needless to say, it is important to check the dimensions of the item that you are intending to purchase. Not only so that it can fit into the space that you wish to put it in, but also so that it can fill it up. Don’t trust images alone, as looks can be deceiving.

Be sure to check the details under the listing, be it the dimensions, colour, quality, fabric, right now to the tiniest details. You do not want to feel like you’re getting short-changed in any aspect, simply because you’re doing your shopping online.

Consideration #2: Colour
When buying furniture online, you might not always get what you think you purchased. One of the biggest slip-ups has to be in terms of the colour of the item as there are tons of shades of each colour.

Take for instance, the spectrum above, which would all be labelled “brown” for simplicity. The darkness of the shade would drastically determine the look and feel of the entire room. It would be hard to tell exactly how it would look in person or how well those colours match those in your room. Cohesiveness is extremely important when designing your house especially if you are going for a certain theme like monochrome or mid-century modern. If you find yourself second-guessing your opinion, it would be the wiser choice to go down to the store to see and feel the item up close before confidently pressing the “buy now” button. But that kind of defeats the purpose of online shopping doesn’t it? Nonetheless, keep in mind that these purchases are not small items such as lipsticks, but rather big-ticket items that will be distinctly seen when you have guests over.

Best way to determine the accuracy of your product if you do insist on buying it online is to read the reviews. Most of the time on sites like Shopee or Taobao, reviews are in abundance and should be made the most of. Be mindful of certain information like product quality, shipping and use after purchase, which are greatly beneficial for your decision-making.

Consideration #3: Return Policy
If you feel like taking a leap of faith for your online purchases, that is perfectly fine! After all, if you open the package and then decide you don’t love it after all, you can always return it. But do remember to take note of their return policy. Most retailers such as Crate and Barrel or IKEA have a return policy within 30 days of delivery and will most definitely be inspected upon return. However, shipping things back can be both pricey and inconvenient, especially for bigger items like rugs.

When you should: Home Décor
Decorative items or kitchenware are undeniably items that are much more reliable to buy online. Not only are they considerably less expensive, but you are able to get multiple of the same sets delivered safely to your home. They are usually bubble wrapped to ensure that they do not reach you in pieces.

With more stores being affected due to the pandemic, buying or redecorating your house during this period may be a bad idea. However, retailers such as IKEA are leveraging on augmented reality in order to boost sales and that may actually make online shopping a whole lot easier! When in a whim about deciding if a decorative piece will be cohesive with the entire house, you can turn to technology for a more accurate depiction of how well it will fit in.  Ikea is one of the first furniture brands to use AR, launching its Ikea Place AR app on the App Store. The app instantly scales products, based on the user’s room dimensions, with 98% accuracy and also simulates how light and shadows appear on Ikea’s upholstery.

When you shouldn’t: Large furniture
A sofa set is a lot heavier than a cushion, and it costs a lot more to have it shipped to your doorstep. Online stores usually charge a shipping fee equivalent to 10% of the purchase price, which adds up to a hefty sum (inclusive of tax) if you’re buying a whole living-room set. If you are a price-conscious buyer, a large sum of such would set you back quite a bit in your home renovation budget. Before deciding to purchase online, do a quick comparison to see if it is more worth it to do so or in-store. Usually, furniture stores charge delivery fees too but online retailers tend to charge way more than usual. Furthermore, when you are shopping in-store, depending on the item, you may be able to haul the item back home yourself or if it’s a wardrobe such as from IKEA, the individual parts are easy to transport and assemble at home.

A sofa set is not the only furniture you should be wary about. Other furniture around the household that you should purchase online with precaution are everyday uses such as your bed. Your bed is indeed the fondest hello and the hardest goodbye so much thought has to be put into it when determining the perfect type. Bed sets last approximately 10-12 years so it has to pass the ultimate test for comfort, and that is impossible when online shopping. The only way to test such items is to go down and try it out in person. At least now, you have the certainty of mind that your money is being put towards something you truly love.

Like cars, the price tag on mattresses in Singapore are not fixed. The salesperson that comes to your assistance is given a commission on every sale. Hence, you can try negotiating with the sales representative for a better price or a better deal. This can often include accessories being thrown into your purchase. Of course, this is not possible when shopping online as the price you see on screen is the price you pay. However, before you decide to go down to the store, search up the items that you plan to buy online. If you can prove that you are able to get a better deal online, higher chances are that you will be able to convince the salesperson to lower their price.

With that in mind, the above usually applies to larger online retailers. However, in Singapore, there are some other places (although not as popular) that you can purchase preloved furniture in perfectly good working condition if you do not wish to splurge. You can hit sites such as Carousell or Facebook Marketplace that drive up a good bargain, especially if they wish to get rid of the item as soon as possible. The same rule applies, do not hesitate to chat with the past owners to check up on the condition, material or even negotiate a further discount on the item.

 i.Poise Design is a design firm in Singapore that specialises in luxury interiors. We take pride in understanding your requirements in every respect, making sure all our recommendations are useful and relevant to you.  Let us work together to achieve your personalized dream home. Call +65 63451730 or email us at to get started!