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Lesile is an industry sales,
design and education expert.

How Much Should You Invest in Your Next Furniture Purchase?

When it's time for you and your family to make a furniture purchase, how do you decide what the "right" price to pay is? How do you make sure you're getting the best value for your money?

The following tips should help with your decision

1. Decide how prominent a place this piece will play in your overall decorating scheme. Is it going to go in a back room or is it front and center in your living room?

2. Decide how much wear this piece of furniture is going to get. Is it a sofa that will be sat on only when company comes over or is it what your kids will be playing on every day? The sofa that your kids are playing on will wear out faster so it should either be very, very inexpensive -in which case it will need to be replaced every year or so(expensive)- or it should be the most expensive piece you purchase so that the leather or fabric wears for a very long time. If it's leather furniture, you'll virtually never need to replace it-just have it cleaned periodically and, if it's fabric,you'll need to plan on re-covering it once every seven years or so. Buying the very best quality you can afford for your family area is actually much less expensive for you over the long run. Don't be seduced by the $495.00 leather couch or fabric sofa. All you're really doing is signing up for a yearly purchase commitment!

3. Decide how often you think your family will be moving over the next 10,15, 20 years. Do you need a piece that can stand up to the rigors of moving men and trucks or would you prefer a piece that can be discarded without guilt?

4. Decide if you think your entertainment needs will change shortly. Do you need a less expensive piece now- knowing that you're going to be buying a big screen TV in the next year or two and so you'll need a piece of plasma TV furniture? Or do you already have your dream TV and need not only space to showcase it properly but also storage space for your kid's toys and electronic components? A quality piece with lots of functionality might be a better investment for you in the long run if this is your situation.

5. What type of warranty makes you feel comfortable? It costs money for manufacturers and retailers to provide warranties, so decide ahead of time if you're willing to accept a limited warranty or if you really need the peace of mind that comes with having a more extensive warranty and, if you do, be prepared to invest a bit more for that coverage.

6. Decide what services you require from your local retailer. Do you need your local retailer to provide complimentary design services to you? Do you need to see several room settings and "touch and feel" certain pieces before you make your final selection? Do you need the reassurance of excellent customer service after the delivery? Do you need to know that the people delivering your furniture understand how to put it together and are known by your local retailer before they enter your home? Do you need for your local retailer to have a good website so that you can shop from home? If you answered yes to most of these questions, be prepared to invest more to get the service level that provides these benefits as the retailer must cover the cost of all of these services and make a profit to remain in business to serve you.

7. Educate yourself as to what indicates quality in a particular piece of home or home office furniture. There are so many resources over the web now for this type of information. Once you have done your preliminary educational research, walk into your local retailer, ask for a sales consultant knowledgeable about furniture construction and ask them to show you the differences in person. You will be amazed at how well some pieces are made and how poorly others are made-even if they look the same from the outside.

8. Ask yourself, "Does this piece of furniture make me happy?" " Does it evoke a feeling or mood or serve a very specific function that I need and want in my home?" If the answer is yes, the investment you make could be worth it.

9. When discussing your furniture budget with your significant other, make sure to do two things. Listen carefully to their past experiences with buying furniture and, secondly, make sure you are in agreement about what constitutes "value" to each of you. Recognize that many times this is an educational process and is not something that you can decide ahead of time. Take your time to make sure it's right for both of you.

10. Lastly, go back to when you were a small child. Can you remember almost every piece of furniture in your home? Most people can. So, think about this next time you're deciding how much to invest in furniture:

The quality, beauty and comfort of your furniture are the very first and longest lasting visual and tactile memories that your children will ever have of your home. What is that worth to you?

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