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Read this before you shop online for home décor
The charm of online shopping is the convenience it gives you at your fingertips. Scroll, browse, add to cart and a few days later, you have your product delivered at your doorstep. Don’t like it? Return it and get your money back. The major drawback, however, is the inability to touch the product to understand its size, texture, quality and overall feel. Even so, online shopping has boomed manifold during the pandemic, especially when physical stores were shut. And despite the fact that places have begun opening up, many people prefer shopping from the comforts of their home rather than stepping out. This trend is also picking up for the furniture and home décor segment even though there are many who are not completely sold on making such big purchases online. If you’ve been browsing such shopping websites and are yet to make up your mind, we share tips that can be handy before you add to cart.
ORDER FROM REPUTED WEBSITES OR APPS
Online sales, low prices and heavy discounts are quite common on shopping websites and apps, but can also be misleading at times. Also, with the advent of brands in each segment, you don’t always know how authentic and genuine they are without a bit of research. Rati Chaudhary, a décor blogger and social media influencer suggests opting for known ones to avoid being duped. “Make sure that the website or app is reliable as there are infinite online options nowadays but it’s better to opt for platforms which have established their reputation. In case of doubt, read reviews or search for feedback on social media using key hashtags,” she adds.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
While online shopping can be done at any point of the day or night, it can be disappointing if you don’t do your research well. For 20-year-old Sara Shroff who recently set up her own room, her process involved comparing prices and products on different portals to find the best ones for her room. “After days of thorough research on price and quality, I did find a variety of products online that I shortlisted. Initially I had concerns about how they would look as online photos can be deceptive but I was happy with the result and love the lamps I bought for my bedroom,” Home Ideas.
GET THE MEASUREMENTS RIGHT
When shopping for furniture online, one of the most important things to get right are the measurements as per the space available. These days, you also have apps that will help you measure the area and show you a render of what the space will look like with the piece of furniture to get a better idea. Sakina Rangwala, 50, who bought a bed online among other things, did have apprehensions about making such a big purchase without physically seeing it. She says, “We didn’t have the time to get a custom-size bed made from a carpenter so we decided to opt for one online. The good thing is that websites list the exact size and specifications of the product so you can’t go wrong unless you’ve not measured your space properly. But finding one that exactly fits the space can be tricky. We had to pick something closer to the space available as we didn’t find one that matched our exact specifications. Even though online shopping gives you a plethora of options, they may not always match the size you are looking for so do check them before you buy.”
DO A QUALITY CHECK
Now this is perhaps the most tricky part of online shopping. Since you are only seeing the product virtually, you can’t be exactly sure of how good the quality really is. For many, the price is a
A wooden TV unit placed against a concrete wall
Looking for some basic knowledge of materials before buying any product will help in understanding the quality of the product. Image courtesy, Asian Paints
marker so the higher it is, the better the quality. But that isn’t always true. Even reputed sites can sell low quality products at times. Recommends Chaudhary, “Have some basic knowledge of materials before buying any product and read its description extensively. For instance, if you are buying a bedsheet, make sure you are aware of what’s a thread count and how much is needed for a good quality product. Read about the material, size, etc carefully for every product. Use Google to do your basic research especially for buying furniture. You need some basic knowledge of wood or fabric, before making an informed decision.”
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HAVE A MOOD BOARD
Since online shopping isn’t always from one source, it can be difficult to visualise how the room will look once everything is set up. We can often get swayed by beautiful objects, adding them to our cart without paying attention to the overall theme. Having a mood board can come in handy in such times. “It is of utmost importance to keep in mind the colour scheme as well as the home aesthetic while shopping for décor products. For example, if your home is modern and contemporary, the products should resonate the same. If it’s Indian and ethnic in theme, the products should complement it by being earthy,” suggests Mansi Sethna Pandey, interior designer and proprietor of The Design House Company.
CHECK THEIR RETURN POLICY
There’s only so much you can decipher by looking at a product online. At times, even after multiple checks, the product doesn’t match our expectations and isn’t our money’s worth. In such cases, it is important to know beforehand about the return policy of the brand or website you buy it from. “It is great to have a backup plan in case a product or a furniture piece does not meet your standards. The tricky thing about most websites is they have a lengthy return policy. Ahead of buying furniture or décor or furnishings, take the time to read up on the website or the
company’s return policy so that you can be rest assured that if anything goes wrong, you have a plan B in place. Also, do check the warranty or guarantee available on the products and try purchasing them using your credit card to get points and offers available,” advises architect Amit Gulati, founder at Design21.
For big purchases like furniture that are not just expensive but also take up a lot of space at home, make sure you check them as soon as they arrive for any defects or broken parts. If they do, you can initiate a return at the earliest. Also note, some websites only offer store credit which means you won’t get your money refunded but you can purchase something else of that value from them. It is essential to know these before you buy so you don’t feel cheated after the purchase.