Furniture Confidential

My mom thinks I am crazy to buy upholstered furniture without sitting in it first.  It certainly is a risk but I have been able to get some really nice furniture this way at great prices.  Since this is becoming a popular way to buy furniture, I thought I should share my experiences.

The chairs in our family room are made by Lee Industries and were purchased from a North Carolina dealer over the phone.  Crate & Barrel carried a similar chair which I thought was really comfortable but it was not exactly what we ended up purchasing.  I saved about 50% by ordering from NC directly, which is considerable since we got 2 matching chairs.  6 years later, the are still super comfy - I am sitting in one now.  They were previously in our living room, but moved to our family room after the big renovation.  Not dirt cheap but still a great purchase which I am sure we'll have for many years to come.
After our chair success, I was less hesitant to purchase the sofa in our new family room last year.  I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money because our family room is our main living area right now and is open to our kitchen.  After visiting the store several times, we bought the apartment-size sofa from Urban Retreat in Reston, VA.  They have a loft-style showroom in a small industrial park.  The staff is helpful but not "in your face" which I really like.  I generally bring pictures of what I like from other places and they show me their catalogs and fabric options.  They have some items in their showroom but often you are buying without sitting in it first, and sometimes without seeing a picture of the exact item you want.  I sat in a chair from the same line as our sofa and liked the overall scale and found it to be comfortable.  We are very happy with the result and it was very reasonably priced.  The couch is nice and I think it will hold up to the daily abuse my kids are going to give it. 

My last experience with buying furniture was a chair for our bedroom on Overstock.  We needed a chair in our room (for occasional reading but mostly to hold our decorative pillows at night).  The chair looks exactly as it's pictured online and the fabric is really quite nice and expensive looking.  The size is also just right for our bedroom. It came in a box which was left on my front porch (no scheduled delivery required) and I had to screw the legs on and slide the back into place - took about 10 minutes total.  The downside is that it's not super cozy or comfortable but it definitely fills the space nicely and our bed pillows think it's very comfortable compared to the floor. I may get an ottoman at some point which would probably make it more comfortable for reading.

Image courtesy of Overstock.