How Quickly Do You Need It?
In-stock furniture typically can be delivered to your home within a week or two, sometimes even the next day. Special orders take longer. Expect to wait 6-8 weeks for a sofa. Wood furniture that’s available in a manufacturer’s warehouse often can be in your home within a few weeks, but items that must be ordered from overseas can take months to ship.
In-Stock or Special Order?
Let your shopping style and deadline guide your next furniture purchase.
- by Deanna L. Thompson
Do you hope to find your dream sofa on the showroom floor and have it in your home within a week? Or, do you have a vision of your perfect sofa, the ability to “see” different fabrics, cushion styles and finishes on a piece of furniture—and the patience to wait for your personally designed sofa to be made? Answering these questions will help you decide whether an in-stock item or a special-order piece is right for you.
In-stock = Quick
Buying an in-stock item appeals to shoppers who like to see before they buy, as well as to customers who need their furniture quickly—say, before company arrives next month! The advantages of in-stock buying include:
- You know exactly what your sofa, dining room set or bedroom set looks like before you bring it home. “You get to touch, feel, sit on and see the actual piece of furniture,” says Amanda Rudd, manager and buyer at Rudd Furniture Company in Dothan, Ala. “That is valuable. For some, that’s the only way they can buy.”
- You may get a better price than on a special order item, particularly if the store is having a sale. “Special offers and discounts usually pertain only to in-stock merchandise,” notes Rudd.
- You can have the item in your home quickly.
So what are the disadvantages? You may not find the exact color or style you want in stock. You can’t customize the furniture to fit your vision. And there’s always the chance that someone you know will love that same sofa—and buy it for HER house.
Special-Order = Unique
When you want to create a one-of-a-kind room, special order may be your best choice—if you’re willing to wait a little longer to have the furniture of your dreams. The advantages of special ordering include:
- You create a piece of furniture that truly reflects your personal style. “You get something that’s unique to you,” says Jerry Hux, owner of Beverly Hall Interiors, a furniture retailer with two stores in the Atlanta area and another in Hilton Head, S.C.
- You can customize the furniture, choosing attributes ranging from the pillow style to the color of fabric on a sofa. On a dining room or bedroom set, you can pick from among various styles of chairs, buffets, tables, headboards, chests and other pieces—and often specify the wood finish.
The downside to special orders? You probably won’t see your exact item before it arrives in your home. You must pay a deposit, which typically is not refundable once the order is placed, so you need to be very sure the item is what you want. And you need to be willing to wait—weeks or months—for your furniture to be delivered.
Both types of buying have advantages, so there is no right or wrong answer. The decision on whether to buy in-stock or special-order comes down to which type of purchase works best for you and your home.