7 No-Nonsense Negotiation Tips When Furniture Shopping

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated January 6, 2022
Couple sitting on a couch in a furniture store
Photo: SolStock / E+ / Getty Images

A small defect could mean a huge deal

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Shopping for furniture without a plan is a sure way to accidentally spend more than you expected—or, worse yet, leave with something you didn’t really want. Doing a bit of research ahead of time and being willing to negotiate at the store will help you get the best deal for your budget and items for your home. 

Whether you’re browsing a nearby IKEA or an independent furniture store, you’ll have a great furniture shopping experience with these tricks up your sleeve.

1. Plan Ahead

Walking into a furniture store can be daunting. With all the attractive items to choose from, you might not even remember what you came for in the first place. Do yourself a favor: Planning ahead of time will make your shopping experience more manageable and enjoyable. 

Bookmark or download your favorite pieces, and keep your phone close by so your references are within reach. Doing so will also allow you to be more spontaneous because you’ll have more room to think freely when you’re not overwhelmed by so many new choices.

2. Check Multiple Stores

 Man in a furniture store taking pictures
Photo: Mikael Vaisanen / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Once you know what you want, it’s time to start hunting it down. Furniture prices can vary greatly from one store to the next, even for the same item. Perusing your options carefully is the secret to getting the best deal overall. 

When you make a find in a furniture store, take note of the model number, fabric grade or number (for upholstered or leather pieces), and the manufacturer. Then, go straight to the manufacturer’s website before making any purchases. Use the noted information to determine which furniture stores in your area are selling that specific product. Some manufacturers feature store finders on their websites, but you’ll need to pick up the phone for the ones that don’t. 

From there, call each retailer on your list and ask for a price quote. Compare and contrast each bid to make the best choice. You’ll have the most success with this trick at independent furniture stores rather than chains like IKEA, where the price is usually set in stone. But it’s a good idea to check in case your product is discounted because of a return or default (more on that in a bit).

3. Consider Flawed, Returned, or Floor Model Furniture

If your goal is to get the best product for the lowest cost, flawed furniture is deeply discounted, and most of its so-called defects are hardly noticeable to the untrained eye. A furniture refinisher near you can restore or refinish many furnishings with more significant issues. 

Returned furniture is sometimes, but not always, offered at a lower price, so don’t be afraid to ask retailers what they have in that category. Even floor model furniture is often a fraction of the original cost because of all the action it sees in the store.

4. Inspect Every Corner of the Store

Couple walking in a furniture store
Photo: Hispanolistic / E+ / Getty Images

Avid furniture shoppers know you have to search every nook and cranny to find the best savings. The crème de la crème don’t even bother with the front display (unless it’s to buy the floor model furniture), often making a beeline directly to the back instead. After all, it’s there that most retailers hide the deeply discounted furniture they don’t want you to see right away.

5. Collect Coupons and Ask About Old Sales

It’s always worth it to collect furniture coupons and promotions, even when you’re not actively shopping for furniture. Many stores offer permanent sales, so you don’t have to worry about them expiring either. Bring in what you have and don’t be afraid to ask about discounts, no matter how old the coupons may be.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Haggle

While you probably won’t have much luck negotiating furniture prices at chains, independently owned shops are usually more open-minded. Haggling is an art form in its own right, but there are a few tricks anyone can successfully apply to their furniture-shopping experience. 

Test the Waters

Get a feel for a store before you start asking for discounts. Are the retailers forthcoming and eager to answer your questions? Or are they uninterested in your presence? Use your best judgment to determine if a shop will be open to your haggling efforts.

Ask the Right Questions

Don’t pose questions that can easily be answered with a yes or no when trying to get the best deal on furniture. You want the interaction to last as long as possible because a retailer is more likely to cave the longer they chat with you. 

If, for example, you’re interested in a six-seat sectional but only have the budget for four of those seats, ask a salesperson how you can make your dream a reality. They may give you a discount or point you in the direction of a less costly yet similarly high-quality alternative. 

Maintain Your Poker Face

When the moment of bargaining finally arrives, show no emotion. Even the slightest smile or wince could give away your leverage. When in doubt, remain silent. Sometimes, the awkwardness of saying nothing will force the other person to break their own silence and give in to your demands. 

7. Know When to Call It Quits

If negotiating doesn’t appear to be going your way, ending it sooner rather than later will allow you to cut your losses and take your efforts elsewhere. Being open to compromise is the best way to ensure a price everyone can agree on. But sometimes, you’re better off simply moving on.

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