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Lesile is an industry sales,
design and education expert.

A Furniture Shopping Guide - Nine Things You Must Know

At Hooker, many of our consumers have asked us how to make the furniture shopping experience as easy, hassle free and enjoyable as possible. They've told us that they sometimes feel confused and overwhelmed and don't feel like they have enough time to make the right decision so they end up not buying anything.

How Can You Change This Experience, Have Fun, Save Time and Money?

1. Ask your family members(including all kids), close friends who spend a lot of time with you and your designer (should you have one) for their input regarding how the particular area you're furnishing needs to look and function prior to going shopping. Have a "room visioning" party (fun!) and serve food and drinks, have lots of magazines around and ask people close to you to bring favorite colors, materials, etc. to help all of you visualize what your finished room should look like and how it needs to function in order to be most useful to each of you.

2. Take digital pictures of all of the furniture you currently own and are going to keep in the room-prior to shopping. Also, take pictures of each wall area so you can remember door swings, windows and window treatments. Try to get paint chips, fabric swatches and/or wood stain finish samples to match what you already have.

3. Take measurements of every part of your room-not just a floor plan, but also a plan for every wall in your room. Measure out fireplaces, built-in's, area rugs, artwork, accessories and every aspect of your TV, sound system, etc. Note every cable connection and electrical outlet and EXACTLY where they are on the wall. Put this information into 1/4" scale. If you don't know how to do that, there are many books and online furniture resources to help you learn-it's easy. Many retailers also have trained sales consultants to help you do this, too. You just have to provide the measurements and they will put it in scale for you-this is complimentary with no strings attached-just ask!

4. Decide how much you want to invest in your room PRIOR to going shopping for furniture. Make that decision with the relevant decision makers in your household, and give yourselves a RANGE and decide ahead of time if there is ANY room for fudging or not. There are always new ideas and new products that might be perfect for you that you might not be aware of. Don't lock yourself in or you might lock inspired ideas out!

5. Do your research online. Use furniture manufacturer's websites to find out all you can about their company, their philosophy, their products, etc. It's so much more fun and empowering to be informed prior to stepping foot inside that retailer's door. The sales consultants appreciate it more, too, as it's much easier and more creative to work with an informed, engaged consumer than one who is "just looking."

6. Be prepared to have a good time! Wear comfy shoes, clothes that are easy to bend over in and bring a sandwich - although many retailers offices have snacks and coffee for their hungry customers...just ask!

7. Let the sales consultant help you. They are the product experts and, many times, excellent with creative design ideas, too, and are there to assist you - within the parameters you've set - find the perfect pieces to make your room come alive with your personality.

8. Get all of the delivery, financing, and customer service contact numbers in writing. Make sure to take home pictures and swatches / samples of all you've purchased. If you're buying a piece that is directional, make sure you sign a drawing so that you know it's being ordered correctly.

9. Have a "delivery" party to celebrate your newly purchased furniture and get ready to enjoy the feeling that goes along with knowing you've created a comfortable, warm and inviting home for your family and friends to enjoy for many years to come.

Do you have a question for Leslie about making your shopping experience easier? Please visither website or send her an email.