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Decorating 101: How to Shop for Furniture

Before you hit the stores, learn what furniture to get rid of, what to look for when buying, and how to avoid mistakes Full Story
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Katy Jordan
I always walk in any store and tell anyone who asks that I'm just looking - from clothes to furniture to cars. I do a lot of research before setting out and usually have a pretty solid idea of what I'm looking for. If I do need help or decide to buy, I will find the person who first approached me so that if it's a commission situation they get the credit. I don't really like shopping (except at home-improvement and book stores), so I don't want someone bothering me while I'm focused on my mission! If it's furniture, well... That's a big expense for me; I hit several stores before I buy so that I can test-drive a lot in store. If I buy a sofa, I'll have it for 10 years at least, so it needs to be The. Right. One. I've always bought in-store as well, except for items I've stumbled upon on Craigslist or our local yardsale website. Those are usually pieces I have in my head that I'd like to have but haven't actually shopped for - like the makeup vanity I just bought for $75. This thing is a gorgeous beast; solid wood with beautiful, feminine legs (much nicer than my own), with a fold-down mirror. It's exactly what I was looking for, right down to the fact that it needs to be stripped and repainted, which I am actually looking forward to doing. I've also gotten a glider with ottoman for our library and two end units to flank our fireplace for free. Again, all pieces I had a vague idea about wanting but had not shopped for, but when they show up on the free area of the web (and the end units are Ethan Allen), it's simple math.
23 hours ago   
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Well, I avoid crumbling antiques! The only ones I'll buy have to be solid and require little serious work. I'm not that handy, nor do I have extra money to pay craftspeople an arm and a leg for major restoration.

I only buy IKEA for a trendy little accent piece or things you just can't beat them on for the price -- like glassware, wooden hangers, that kind of thing.
17 hours ago   
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