How to Buy Furniture Online (Without Any Regrets) - Tips for Purchasing Furniture Online

Finally… the incessant Googling is over. You’ve found the one. That is, until the table, sofa, or bed shows up and ... it's not quite right. Maybe it doesn't fit against your living room wall, or it completely clashes with your home's paint colors. Whatever the issue is, that frustrating furniture situation is completely avoidable. We tapped into experts for smart strategies to avoid common online-shopping missteps so you can click and buy with confidence. Here's how to buy furniture online for every room in your house with no regrets and love what you bought.

Dining Tables

Tabletops get seen closely and touched a lot, so read the details to consider if you'll be happy with the look, feel, and performance of the material.

When shopping for a dining room table, pay attention to the numbers. For the best fit, you need to leave a 3-foot walkway around the perimeter of your table. Map a 3-foot strip around the room's perimeter; the remaining square footage is the max table size. Keep in mind that the typical dining table height is 30 inches; the standard for counter dining is 36 inches, 42 inches for bar tables. When deciding on the number of chairs, remember to keep 24 inches between each place setting. Measure from the center of one chair-back to the center of its neighbor.

If your considering an area rug, choose one that'll extend 24-36 inches past the table, so all four legs of a chair pulled out are on it.


The first step in buying a sofa online is deciding how many people you want to seat. For three, you need an 84- to 96-inch-long sofa. The average sofa-back height is 34-38 inches, and the overall depth is about 35 inches. But don't stop with the overall dimensions. Look at the interior, including seat depth (average is 22 inches). Consider your intended use and adjust: Is this a sofa for lounging? Go a size longer. Do you have short legs? Find a shallower seat. Love throw pillows? Pick something deeper.

Extra Tip**: When you order modular pieces, left or right is determined as you face the sofa, not when you’re seated. The one in the living room above, for example, is a right sofa, left chaise.

Read User Reviews

To get a better sense of the sofa's livability, read user reviews. Look for trends in praise or complaints (claims of bad customer service or issues with assembly or missing pieces) as indicators of quality.

Utilize Web Resources

Sellers really want to avoid returns, so utilize site resources dedicated to helping you. For help beyond the FAQs, call, email, or live-chat with a store's service reps.


When shopping for a bed, it is important to check assembly guides. Does the headboard mount to the wall or bed frame? What tools will you need?

It's also important to know bed terminology. Platform beds replace a box spring with, you guessed it, a platform. Platform beds tend to be lower and sleeker (because a box spring accounts for a large portion of a bed's overall height) and often go sans bed skirt, which is an important note if you're banking on underbed storage.


All in all, furniture shopping online can often be a nerve-racking and arduous process. However, by utilizing the tips and ideas in this article, you can be sure you love what you buy online while saving yourself time and money.