5 Home Furnishings Shopping Tips That Many People Don’t Know

Over the years, I have learned many home furnishings shopping tips. In this post, I will share a few. I hope you were able to find time to read my last post Decorate Responsibly, which was about the importance of knowing the business practices of the brands that you are purchasing. I also believe in patronizing local mom and pop stores, artists and artisans when possible. With that said, let’s get to the tips!

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #1 of 5: Rugs

We all know that rugs are an important design element in a room. They set the stage for all that follows and can independently create the mood of the room. However, they are big, bulky, and challenging to cart home. It isn’t easy to try a few rugs in a room and keep only the one we like best in the space.

The good news is if you shop at a local mom and pop store, they usually provide a service in which they can bring a few rugs to your home for you to view in the space before you buy. They do all the carting, and heavy lifting, all you have to do is decide which one you like best. Most often there is a fee for this service, but it is well worth it.

If you are purchasing online or where this type of service is not available, buy a few of the rugs that you are considering in the smallest size possible. For example, if I am ordering a rug online, I look to purchase it in the 2″ x 3″ size first. Once I have determined I like the rug, I then purchase it in the larger size. Also, you can bring the small one with you when you are selecting fabrics and art to coordinate with it. If I don’t like the rug, I return it. It is much easier and less costly to return a small rug than a large one.

small rug
Purchase the rug you are considering in a small size first as a sample
The area rug in the large size can be purchased when you are sure you like it

Home Furnishings Shopping Tip #2 of 5: Sofas and Chairs

We all have preferred sitting depths. Usually, tall people find sofas and chairs with a deeper seat more comfortable. The reverse is true for people who are petite. A person who has shorter legs usually prefer to sit in a chair with a smaller cushion depth.

how to find depth of sofa cushion to make sofa shopping easier
Use a tape measure to find the depth of the cushion on a sofa you feel is comfortable

To find your preferred sitting depth simply measure the inside dimensions of a sofa or a chair that you find comfortable.

Once you know your preferred sitting depth, you can eliminate anything that does not meet your criteria and therefore save hours of shopping time. Paying attention to your preferred sitting depth is also a valuable tool when ordering custom furniture, which is impossible to try first.

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #3 of 5: Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets

Before falling in love with a cabinet door style, make sure that the cabinet line has a wide selection of sizes and options available. This is especially important when space is limited. If the cabinet line has few options in sizes available, you end up wasting space because you have to add fillers to extend dimensions, rather than being able to change the size of the cabinet.

Look for cabinet lines that are KCMA Certified (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association). Cabinet lines with the KCMA Certification have passed the toughest durability test in today’s market. Additionally, cabinet lines that are KCMA ESP Certified have met criteria to be environmentally friendly.

If you are remodeling your kitchen visit my Interior Design Printables page for handy organizers to help you with your project.

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #4 of 5: Mirrors

One of the home furnishings shopping tips for buying mirrors is to make sure you like the reflection and that it isn't distorted.
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Not all mirrors are created equally. I am sure you have realized that you can look better or worse in different mirrors. Remember to consider this when purchasing a mirror. I think a mirror that can take off ten years and ten pounds is the one to buy! Great for the self-esteem.

Seriously, make sure the reflection is pleasing before purchasing, especially with very large mirrors. To get a perfect reflection, the surface of the mirror needs to be completely flat. This is almost impossible for large-sized mirrors. Some have distortions that are worse than others. So check it out before you take it home.

Home Furnishings Shopping Tips #5 of 5: Broadloom Carpeting

You don’t always get what you pay for. In fact, with broadloom carpeting, you also pay for what you don’t get. In other words, you pay for waste as well as what is used in your space.

Carpet is produced in three size rolls. The most common is 12 feet, but sometimes you will find a 13 1/2 or 15-foot roll. Depending on the size of the room you are choosing broadloom for, the carpet roll size can make a difference in price. If you have minimal waste, you can save money.

Also choosing a size roll that fits the room better will make for a cleaner installation. For example, if your room is 15′ x 13′ and chose a broadloom carpet that comes on a 15′ roll, you can purchase just enough carpet and avoid having any seams in the room. However, if you buy a carpet that comes on a 12′ roll, you will have both waste and seams.

Decorate Responsibly and Feel Good About What You Put In Your Home

It is easy to get caught up in designing our perfect home and forget to decorate responsibly. When selecting our plush rugs, designer fabrics, and other home furnishings, we should be mindful of the business practices of the manufacturers and stores that we are patronizing.

Decorate responsibly buy buying goodweave certified rugs as shown in photo
Photo by Oliver Lechner on Pexels.com
Buy Rugs that are GoodWeave certified

Decorate responsibly by being an educated consumer

Fair trade Certified ™  and GoodWeave Certified ™  rugs are two great labels to look for when shopping. They often tip the scale for me when making decisions. When I see those labels on products, I know I can feel good purchasing them.

shoppers lined up with shopping bags
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Fair Trade Certified 

Fair trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.

quoted from https://www.fairtradecertified.org/why-fair-trade

One thing you can do to decorate responsibly is to shop Fair Trade Certified ™  products. Fair Trade ensures that companies pay workers fair wages, and that they have safe working conditions. In addition, Fair Trade means that the company is environmentally friendly. You can check out stores, brands, and products before you purchase from them by using this link. When you purchase a home product that is Fair Trade Certified ™ you can feel good about putting it in your home.

GoodWeave Certified  

When purchasing rugs, look for ones that are GoodWeave Certified. GoodWeave is an organization that is working towards ending forced and child labor globally. A business has to meet specific criteria in order to become GoodWeave Certified. Furthermore, GoodWeave makes regular surprise visits to all production facilities to verify the company’s compliance. I have noticed that Target sells GoodWeave Rugs. Knowing that their store is ethically aware, makes me more comfortable purchasing any product there, in addition to rugs.

look for goodweave  certified rugs to decorate responsibly
GoodWeave labels can be found on the bottom side of area rugs

If you read Design to be Happy, you know that this site is all about creating look-good and feel-good spaces. Now taking care to decorate responsibly we can also feel great about what we put into our homes.

Additional Resources To Learn More

I was first made aware of some of the unethical business practices that take place around the world by attending a Human Rights Lecture. Follow the link to view it. I had no idea that child labor, forced labor, and bonded labor still occurred. These labor practices are all considered a type of modern day slavery.

The sad truth is that slavery is in every industry, and we may be unknowingly supporting it. To learn more about this, go to slaveryfootprint.org. They have a survey that you can take, which asks you about your purchasing habits and in the end, will let you know your impact and slavery footprint.

Another good resource to help you buy slave free products can be found at http://www.endslaverynow.org/act/buy-slave-free . They have a product guide that can be downloaded. You will also find links to companies that produce products made from slave survivors. Supporting these companies will keep slave survivors employed and prevent them from becoming victims again.

The first thing you can do to help is to spread awareness. I believe many people have no idea about these issues. Use the social media buttons below to share this post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because together we can make a difference.