Save Big on New Furniture: Veteran Salespeople Share Their Secrets

Couple shopping for furniture in store
Are you a budget-minded buyer willing to spend a few hours with an Allen wrench constructing your desk or bed frame? Then IKEA is a good place to shop. Sure, the quality won't be anywhere near that of Ethan Allen (ETH). But not everyone can afford to drop $3,000 on a new leather sofa, as nice as it may be.

Let's assume you don't want cheap furniture, but you can't afford top-of-the-line stuff, either. Don't fret: For those shopping for something that falls in between those two extremes, there's no need to pay sticker price -- especially when you know the insider tips and tricks.

These tips come from conversations with veteran furniture salespeople, and would-be buyers who follow them might be able to save themselves hundreds of dollars.

Buy the Floor Samples

Even if you don't see a "for sale" tag, floor samples -- the individual pieces of furniture sitting out on the showroom floor -- are often sold at a steep discount to the smart customers who ask for them.

Admittedly, those discounts are sometimes warranted, as the furniture left on display can suffer from some slight wear and tear. But if the object looks to be in reasonably good shape, buyers should ask their salesperson if the floor sample is available. When it is, buyers can save themselves 30 percent or more.

Timing is everything, since it may be a while (or never) before a store swaps out floor samples of their newer designs or staple pieces that the store always has on hand.

Pick It Up Yourself

Getting your furniture delivered costs money. But if you have access to a truck, a strong set of hands, and a spare afternoon, you could save yourself $100 or more simply by picking up your purchase yourself.

Even when delivery is offered "for free," the cost has likely already been factored into the price of the item. So, if you're offered free delivery when you buy your furniture, tell the salesperson that you're willing to pick it up if he or she could shave some money off the final tab.

Even if It Isn't Already on Sale, It Can Be Negotiated

If you pay attention to their ads, most furniture stores seem to be running a sale almost every week. These companies can offer such great "deals" because their furniture is often marked up significantly: Industry analysts put the average around 40 percent.

If you happen to go shopping on one of those rare weekends without a sale, be ready to negotiate with your salesperson. If the item in question isn't already marked down, the price can almost always be negotiated. Experts say that getting 20 percent knocked off the top shouldn't be difficult. Granted, this won't apply to closeout items dumped in the clearance section. But for most pieces of furniture, never willingly pay the sticker price.

Avoid Niche Warranties

When buying furniture, expect to have your salesperson pitch you an extended warranty. Those warranties can sometimes be worth the asking price, depending on the cost and your circumstances. But furniture shoppers should be skeptical of any niche offerings.

For example, buyers of new sofas are often offered extended "fabric protection" policies. The damage these policies claim to cover is often already accounted for under the normal warranty or the store's extended warranty. Buying fabric protection in addition to an extended warranty may be nothing more than a total waste of money.

At any rate, take the time to carefully read over any warranty policies offered -- don't just take the salesperson's word for it.

Saving Money on Your Furniture Purchase

Of course, there are many other ways to save on furniture -- heading to a cheaper store, buying used, or even building your own. But if those options aren't on the table, and you're just looking to save a few bucks at your local furniture store, keep these tips in mind.

Motley Fool contributing writer Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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I recently spent a bundle on all new family and dining room furniture from a furniture store.....paid cash for it a few months ago and still do not have all of it. Now, here's the really bad part....I recently got an ad flyer from Big Lots....and much of my new $$$ furniture was in it...same brand, same fabric for about 1/3 the price!!! What did I learn? Shop around. And no, the furniture store will not allow me to cancel my order on the remaining items....."ALL SALES FINAL".

January 20 2014 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Buy Solid wood pre owned furniture with a name brand for less then half the original cost. Save$$ and get a qaulitythat look great. Got to WWW.DELONGSANTIQUES.COM then click the ebay link take a look at the inventory of very clean ready use furniture.

January 19 2014 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Drew Cherry

FURNITURELAND SOUTH, Inc. in High Point, NC has over 500 lines to choose from at true Discount Prices....... and over 1 Million Square feet of Showroom to visit........ Go to their website FURNITURELANDSOUTH.COM and Check it out for yourself......... They do over $150 Million a year in business and have for over 30 years........

January 19 2014 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or you can buy quality used furniture from a reliable store (just check the furniture well) such as the: Raleigh Furniture Store in Raleigh NC. Have bought numerous items from them at better than "New" Prices. Great Furniture. Search for them on Facebook or Craigslist.

January 19 2014 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is rather complicated.

January 16 2014 at 6:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bzzzbayte's comment

There is nothing complicated about buying furniture. You buy what you can afford. I have always saved for what I wanted then I buy quality. I am not interested in throw away furniture that is made in China and turns out to be junk that falls apart in days or weeks. I buy quality and real wood or real leather. You need to educate yourself and save the money to buy what you want then buy it at good stores that deal in quality. You can ask for a break in the price and during hard times they will honor this or they will lose sales and customers and most of then cannot afford to let that happen. You have a budget and you stick to it and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

January 16 2014 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another ill-informed pointless article from the master minds at this website.

Furniture stores are on the ropes and struggling to keep their doors open. Many of them have already gone out of business.

Who, in their right mind, is going to think blowing money to buy new furniture is a good decision in the current lousy economy???

January 16 2014 at 6:27 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

This is article is STUPID and the author is seriously MISINFORMED!!!! DON'T LISTEN TO THIS IDIOT!!!! I've worked retail in the mall and home improvement sector for 7 years through college and worked in corporate for furniture retail for 8 years and I can tell you this entire article is WRONG! Nothing in a retail store is negotiable, it's NOT a flea market or yard sale. DON'T ask! Fabric protection is NEVER offered simultaneously as an add on with an extended warranty, this is just a stupid uneducated assumption. That's like saying a drive train warranty is an add on to the purchase of an extended warranty for a new car.....they are not the same. When you pay for fabric protection it ALWAYS starts AFTER the manufacturer warranty has expired and it provides protection above manufacturer defect provided by implied warranty with purchase. If you buy a floor sample, only do it cause it's discontinued or not available for a long time. Never buy a floor sample because it comes with a discount. People have sat on it/wiped their filthy hands, kids jumped on it, and critters have nested in it in the months it sat on the floor.... it's just not worth it. Some companies do charge way too much for delivery and I would never pay anything more than $100 for an exceptionally large delivery especially if there was no haul away included, but if you think you will save money by picking up then expect to also pay to bring it back if there's a problem days, weeks or months down the road if a defect is discovered. A store will not send delivery people out to inspect or pickup your item for repair/replacement under any warranty if you didn't have it delivered. So this article is stupid and meaningless.

January 15 2014 at 10:18 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Pick it up yourself and save the delivery charge. Keep in mind that many times the actual product comes out of a central warehouse that is nowhere near the retail showroom. Also, the delivery charge usually includes setup and haul away of the packing materials. Do you really want to shlep that armoire up two flights of stairs?
I had some luck negotiating a better price on a bedroom set that included pieces I didn't want, and they let me substitute other pieces from the set that I did want that are normally sold separately.

January 15 2014 at 5:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Having been in the furniture business for a decade, not sure where the research for this article was done, but alot of inconsistencies. When purchasing a floor sample, fully inspect it, as it comes with no warranty. It is sold as is so this means pull the cushions up, turn it over, and if a bed, have the store pull the bedding off. If you do not inspect the piece fully, do not expect compensation. If anything happens to the floor sample once in the home is now at your expense to repair.

If picking up furniture instead of having it delivered, make sure again it is fully inspected. When you sign off for the pick up, you are indicating you are accepting the piece in it\'s present condition. Any notification of later damages, will be assumed to have occured after pick up and repair will be at your expense.

Fabric protection is not for everyone. If you will use the piece infrequently, then maybe not. If you entertain or if you have kids/pets, definately get the fabric protection. Once a stain occurs and the store is allerted, the first question will be did you purchase stain protection. No protection, no coverage and the stain removal is at your expense. On upholstery, having the protection is very important as the companies who provide it have teams to come and treat the stain. Hiring an outside upholstery cleaner comes with no guarantees, as some steam treatments will strip the color out of the fabric leaving it white. The biggest issue customers have with stain protection is calling in the issue within the designated time frame. Once you tell the call center it happened about 2 weeks ago, then it is on you, so make a stain a priority and you should have no issue.

January 15 2014 at 1:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply