On the hunt – Tackling interior design on the internet

PrintWhether it’s a move or a remodel, changing your address, and your interior design, is expensive.  You may have designed our old space perfectly to who you are and what you like, but you find in a move that things change.  Sometimes the house is different and then you find sometimes you are different and wanting a changed look and vibe to transform your house into a home.  With the millions of sites out there are options galore to help you find the perfect fit while hopefully staying on (or at least close) to your budget.  In undertaking a massive remodeling project I learned just how quickly prices of things add up from light fixtures to mirrors.  Despite all of the money that I did spend, it pales in comparison to how much I could have spent if I only relied on what I could find locally that suit my taste (which try as I may has been and remains to be on the fancy side).

Sooooo great prices and wide selection online…what could go wrong??? Well the easy answer to that is everything.  From delayed shipments to poor quality the game changes a little when you move your search from stores where you can see and touch the items to online where you cannot.  Here are my tips for get the best out of shopping for your home online

1. Get real familiar with your measuring tape: With returns being a bit more of a hassle, if possible at all, being more exact about what you are looking for really saves out on a headache.  Not only should you be armed with your specific dimensions, you need to check the specifications of the product to make sure everything lines up.  Return fees and shipping cost can quickly take the value out of shopping online over pretty minor sizing mistakes.

2. If you have time ask for a sample: Things like color swatches frequently have the option to order a free sample.  There is no replacing seeing something with your own eyes in the environment you plan to utilize it in.  It adds some time but may be well worth it and a must for custom made products.

3. Read and re-read return policies and price guarantees: Not only read what the company says, but also the reviews the process is getting from fellow shoppers (BBB is a great resource).  If you are paying a penalty and return shipping fees for an item you are on the fence about it, just save the hassle and buy something in store with your confidence up.  There is a difference between cost and value so just because it cost more doesn’t mean it isn’t a better value.  For price guarantees most come with specific rules on how to cash it in (mainly providing proof form the competing store of price).  Time frame also plays a key role so if you still want to price shop relying on a guarantee you should know your parameters.

4. If you can find a place locally to actually see the product, take some time to check it out: Seeing is always believing.  If photographers can erase cellulite from famous people just think about how great it can make an inanimate object look.  Checking it out makes sure what you imagine with the picture is what you will get when the box opens.

5. Always compare apples to apples: In the search for a wine cooler I found a range of prices for my preferred cooler of about $50 but the range of deliver fees was about $150.  Not to mention deliver times that went up to 6 weeks.  If you see different prices, especially drastically different, put everything in the cart and take the process almost to the end to see delivery times, warranties, return policies, and shipping costs.  The sticker price is just one part of the total cost of the product and not knowing can set you up to lose in the end.

6. Know when to wait and when to buy: Being cheap has its wins and its losses.  In betting that a sale will always repeat itself you can miss out on something that you love in waiting on a sale that never comes back.  Study what you want for a while to give you an idea of the range of prices so you know when you see something low on that range.  It may not be as cheap as it will ever be when you buy it but it may still be a deal and getting something you love for a great price is a reward all in itself.

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