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How To NOT Accidentally Purchase Doll-Sized Furniture: Online Shopping Edition

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In this episode of "The Great Indoors", Kate and Sophie remind us to measure, measure, measure! And then triple-check the measurements on the site! Also, order samples of the fabric to see how it fits into your room.
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so fair start cake buying furniture online and how to avoid all those pitfalls. You must have a story. Have you ever bought anything online? That's been a complete disaster. I'm constantly buying things that are too small, even though I measure it, even though I know what 30 centimeters is in my head. I mean, I haven't done it with any disasters, But you know, I've ordered sort of storage folders or vases or plant pots, and they always seem to, you know, come up smaller than I think they're going to be. And it reminds me years ago I was speaking to Lucy Saint George, one half of Rockets Saint George, and they just launched their furniture in Liberty's on the fourth floor. And I remember chatting to her, and she said they got a whole load of really beautiful cocktail chairs they had ordered, and when they turned up, they've been really, really mini because they'd forgotten to check the measurements. And a cocktail chair is small at the best of times, but they put like dolls, cocktails, check. It was so small. Child's chairs, I think, and I, you know, it's so easily done. I really sympathize, but I think you really shocked that I was asking for your buying dilemma. And you've got to put Lucy from Rocket, right? I bet she doesn't even know you're going to share that story. She does thousands of listeners you're gonna ask me. I am sorry, Lucy. I have. I mean, I haven't done it with anything, major, but frequently with smaller things. So, I mean, I guess I've been lucky. But, you know, I think I think it's easily done. I've done it, bothers and ended up with really tiny things. And I did it once with the sofa and the classic. Couldn't get it through the front door. So, I mean, I think that's a real newbies mistake, isn't it? But that's so difficult, isn't it? I mean, I remember the first sofa we ever bought in our first flat so over 20 years ago, and I remember them spending, you know, 40 minutes trying to wrestle it through the door. And they took the legs off. And there were big questions about whether they were going to have to take the architect of off the door frame to get it in. Um, and in the end. They got it through and we had to do a bit of a touch up paint job. But it's tricky to do, I think, to measure up for round corners. You know, it's one thing to be able to measure my wall is that long. My sofa is that long. That works. But it's when you've got to take things upstairs, isn't it? Yeah. Corners. Yeah, yeah, that can be really difficult. So obviously measuring up is it's kind of like relevant whether you're buying online or if you're buying on store, I guess. But I suppose headline, for me, buying online, especially furniture pieces, is obviously with larger pieces. I mean, we can get away with the vases and things. It's quite an investment, and I find it really challenging not to see the sofa or try out the bed or sit around the dining table. But, you know, these are times where needs must, and I suppose I've got a few tips. I think one really good idea is to check out. You know, obviously the photos are really nice. It really helps if they photographed in a room set, so you get an idea of scale and what it looks like. But also take a look at all the added specs like the more detail much lower down on the page. But what is it made of? What's the construction? Is it? Flat pack has quite often flat pack furniture just always feels a bit more flimsy than something that's been solidly made. Is it a laminate or is it solid word? Is it chipboard? Always look out as well for any sustainability mentions. Has it got FSC timber, for example? I think these are all the sorts of things that you'd ask a showroom manager in a shop, isn't it? And so you've got to do the digging if you like to find out all those sorts of things. I think this one key thing picking up on a point you made there about the photography and about the flat pack, and I think I mean, it might sound really obvious, but if you've got a company you're buying from and they've got a very beautiful instagram account and be they've got well styled lifestyle shots of the furniture in situ, then I think that talks to the quality of the furniture rather than something which is on a very sort of business like plain website with no sort of frills on it. That's probably cheaper furniture. It's probably flat pack and then your delivery. Are you building it yourself, or are they going to deliver it to you with what they often call white glove delivery? Which means they'll bring it in and they'll assemble it. It's worth looking at that. Sometimes you have to pay a bit more, don't you? But you can have some carbon police offer free of charge. They'll bring a piece of furniture in and packet. Assemble it for you. Some companies there's a bit of an extra charge. Some companies will even take away your old sofa or appliance or mattress, which can also be a useful add on. So those are all really good things to look at when you're making your final choice, because actually getting rid of big pieces of furniture can be an extra cost, not to mention hassle. And also will they take the packaging away. That's key, just back to the measuring. When it comes to sofas and also beds measure, you know, the outside of the arms to the outside and measure the depth of the sofa. I've seen people come unstuck where the sofas turned out to be much deeper than they wanted. And then by the time they put the coffee table in front, it's all a bit cramped. So as a rule of thumb, your passage ways need to be a minimum of 90 centimeters so they don't want to stably between. I think the house well, it's now it's much narrower than yours. But if you want to have a sofa and you want to be able to walk comfortably around the coffee table or if you've got tables put, you know chairs pulling out from the kitchen table, your chairs need, I think, at least 90 centimeters, if not a meter, to be able to pull out so you can stand up. I mean, I've got I have a long, narrow kitchen table, and I do have a meter for the chairs to pull out. But if someone has pulled their chair all the way back, there probably isn't room for somebody else to walk behind them, to get to the door to get out. You know your room so much squarer than mine. So I am paying attention to my passageways. You don't need to any big square rooms in the country. So I think, you know, you've got to get the scale right so that there is room to kind of walk past the coffee table without shimmying past sideways. Or we had a very narrow house. Our last terrace house was 15 ft wide and when we had the sofa in and the coffee table in front of it, I mean, you sort of had your feet in the fire. You know, if you wanted to put your feet up so it can be quite narrow. You need long, narrow furniture as opposed to a wide square things. And you need to take that into account as well. I'm quite a fan to get the old masking tape and taping out on the floor. I think that can really help you visualize. And, you know, some people would even go so far as like bringing cardboard boxes and stuff like that. So they are building if your childhood isn't it. But I mean, that's another point with the bed is you think Oh, right. Okay. I've got room for a king sized mattress that's fine. But actually, if you're putting your king size mattress on the bed frame, sometimes that bed will have another. You know, 10 centimetres, either side of bed frame, so that's 20 centimeters. You're adding to the overall width of a king sized mattress, and you know how wide is your headboard is making it all longer. This is what online shopping is actually a positive because you have all those dimensions clearly lined out. I've just bought in your bed for Arthur's bedroom, and he has, like a really tight spot that it's going to fit into. So I've had to be meticulous at looking at all that I mentioned so I can compare all the different beds that I like the look of. And look at that. I mentioned to see which ones we're going to fit in that snug gap, and I could do that really, really quickly. So that's one of the positive things, isn't it? Is we can. We can do a search, get all our little tabs open, and then go down and check the dimensions and make sure it fits our space with the with the mattress that we brought for Arthur's bed that came in like a role. It was really brilliant, but that's a really good thing. A lot of these online mattress companies now send you mattresses in a role, and even all the pillows and everything came really, really tightly package, which makes it much easier for access and to get them upstairs and things. And quite often, a lot of these companies also offer 100 day return policy, which is brilliant for things like mattresses, where you do need to sleep on them for a while, don't need to work out whether they were actually that comfortable. So I think that's another thing to look at with. Online shopping is what's the return policy? How long do you get to keep it to try it? If you return it, will they soak up the cost of the return? Or is that an additional fee? Mattresses are difficult, aren't they? Because they are really it's so important to have your back properly supported that I think that's really hard to buy a mattress without going to lie on it. You know, I've never had a mattress in a box, so I'm slightly suspicious as to whether you can get it to work. But I know that they are very successful and lots of people have them. And I have tried to out myself, and it was really super comfy. I was impressed. I'm not going to lie, because when we bought our mattress Oh, my gosh, that was like a rigmarole. We went to the showroom about 20,000 times to try out various ones and shouldn't be this. And did he want it firm and did I want it soft? It could be someone, something in the middle. And did he want this? Did he want his different from mine and oh, my gosh, It was just like it was one of the biggest investments ever. But it is one of the biggest investments, but at the moment going to show him doing that, that hasn't been not now. So I would say, and obviously regular listeners will know I'm not in the habit of a lot of mood boarding and sample gathering and all that. But if you are buying something big online, you must call in all the samples of material in all the colors, possibly even colors. You think you don't really want because you need to see them in natural light. You need to see them against the rest of your deck, or you need to feel them and touch them and interact with them. So I'm a big fan of calling in samples, and sometimes you know some companies you do have to pay for samples. But I think it's better to pay a couple of quid, for example, and get the right color than just order it and have it completely wrong. Yeah, and quite a lot of the furniture manufacturers will do that. Curtains and blinds, obviously tiles, flooring, all of those kind of things. It gets trickier, isn't it, with wood finishes and things. And I think this is where sometimes the reviews can really help. Oh, I do love a review. I'm always looking at the reviews, You know, whether you're on eBay or Amazon or one of the really big department stores. You know, quite often people will say, Oh, this colour actually isn't has it was photographed or they'll say, Oh, this is exactly what I expected, So that can also help you make a more informed choice, as well as whether the company's one you can trust or not because that's the other thing, isn't it? Is. It's a bit of a wild West out there. I'll admit I've been caught out by a Facebook ad before. Be very wary things advertised on Facebook ads. So, you know, making sure if you're going to make an investment online that you are buying off a company that you can trust. Yeah, totally read the reviews. The reviews can be a double edged sword.