Tips for Furniture Shopping from Craigslist, Catalogs & TV

Tips for Furniture Shopping from Craigslist, Catalogs & TV

Janel Laban
Jan 16, 2009

The Feburary Issue of Real Simple includes a fun article on decorating your home FROM home. They challenged three of their editors to each create a room - one from Craigslist, one from catalogs and one from shopping channels on TV. Each editor shared their tips for success - we pulled a few that we think are especially helpful:


  • Try alternate search terms, like "cocktail table" instead of "coffee table" and potential misspellings "Potery Barn"
  • Type in "curb alert" to find out when and where people are unloading stuff for free
  • Name your price - one of the editors got $50 off a coffee table just by asking


  • Don't judge scale just by looking at the photos - pay close attention to the dimensions listed to avoid ending up with a piece that is too big (or too small!) for your room
  • Measure. Once you check the dimensions, take advantage of the fact that you are at home while shopping and pull out the measuring tape to see the height of tables with your sofa, etc.
  • Unless an item is damaged, many companies will not reimburse return shipping fees, so be (reasonably) sure you like the color, etc. before placing the order.


  • Pay attention to quantities as presented by the host - according to the editor, she waited on purchasing a stool for a few days and it was sold out
  • The colors as they appear on your TV may be different than when they arrive. The editor said a piece that appeared blue gray on TV was actually a thin black and white stripe.
  • If you want to shop at a time when the channel is not featuring furniture, remember that you can check out their website for the selection available anytime.

    For all the tips (and to see the three rooms!) check out the full article by Brian Alexander in the February issue of Real Simple.

    Photo: Phillip Maisel from Megan & Shawn's Spacious & Vibrant Flat House Tour

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