Furniture Buying Guide: 10 Questions to Ask when Buying Furniture in Ottawa & Kingston
February 26, 2021
Each year, at La-Z-Boy Ottawa and Kingston, we consult with thousands of clients searching for furniture in the area. As a well-established furniture store in Ottawa, we often get asked: “what do I need to know when purchasing quality furniture for my home, and what questions should I ask?”
Buying new furniture isn’t like purchasing a pair of jeans. You don’t need to replace your furniture every six months or even every year. It’s a sizable task and can be daunting when you begin your search.
Furniture for your home can be a substantial investment, one that you’re going to have to live with for a long time. You want to make sure that you’re buying furniture today that you will still love just as much five years down the road.
While La-Z-Boy has a large selection of home furnishings to choose from, we understand that we may not be for everyone. To that end, we hope that the information in this furniture buying guide is helpful regardless of what brand you end up choosing. Although this guide focuses primarily on buying living and family room furniture in Ottawa and Kingston we’ve also incorporated some dining furniture into the mix.
10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying New Furniture for Your Home
1. What Am I Looking To Add Or Replace?
When starting the furniture buying process, many of us begin with a problem: My back is killing me, I need a better chair, our couch is falling apart, or we need to update the family room. While these pain points help you focus on what you are looking for, it can also be advantageous to step back and envision your end-goal or what the room will look like when you are happy.
As you think about being comfortable in your finished room, ask yourself
what you’d like to keep and what you’d prefer to replace? Will the old stuff go with your new furniture? Do you love the old pieces? If not, maybe they can be moved to another room or given away to a friend or family member.
How many people will you need seating for on a day-to-day basis? Will there be enough seating for everyone in the family?
Would you prefer two sofas and a chair? Maybe an Ottoman that doubles as a coffee table? What about a sectional? Would it fit in the space?
It’s best to begin your design with the bigger anchor pieces, such as the area rug the sofa or the dining set and then go from there. It will be difficult to find the perfect rug after you’ve furnished an entire room.
Check out our helpful buyer’s guides below if you are looking for specific pieces for your home:
2. Does My New Furniture Need To Coordinate With Anything?
What colour are the walls in the room? Are you planning to paint? Save yourself a trip by bringing a sample of the paint colour into the showroom. This will help you match the fabrics that work best.
Also, consider bringing in a pillow or an extra piece of fabric from the furniture that you wish to keep and coordinate with.
Does My Furniture Need to Match?
The days of needing to buy perfectly matching furniture are long gone. In fact, you can often find this expired rule on lists of top decorating mistakes and what not to do.
What About Mixing Patterns?
Start simple and repeat the colours in your patterns. There are endless combinations of patterns you can mix, but you’ll want to follow a few simple rules to ensure your room is not too chaotic.
Are you colour blind? Don’t worry, many retailers offer design services and can help if you feel overwhelmed with knowing what is the ‘right’ colour. (Did you know that ~8% of all men are colour blind? This translates to around 120,000 men in the greater Ottawa and Kingston area)
3. Why is Measuring & Sketching My Room Important?
Measure your Room
We can not stress enough how important it is to measure your room and measure twice! Make sure to account for windows, doorways and the fireplace. Measuring is the only way to be sure your furniture will fit. Nothing is more disappointing than receiving the delivery of your new custom sectional only to find that it doesn’t fit through the doorway.
Also, keep in mind that it can be deceiving when shopping in a furniture store. Showrooms are generally much larger spaces than your living and family rooms. The pieces that look great in the store may be too large for your space at home.
Getting accurate measurements of your space isn’t always a simple task, check out how to accurately measure your room to buy the right furniture.
Living Room Sketch Plan
Dimensions alone may not be enough if you haven’t taken into account the room’s flow and any other space requirements you may have.
Sketching out your room is simple and can be even more beneficial when furnishing your space. Your sales consultant will be able to visualize your room in 3D and can suggest the sofa, sectional or dining table that’s best for your room’s configuration.
Learn more about The Importance Of Sketching Your Living Room.
Take Some Photos
A photo can provide even more information for your design consultant. As the saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words!”.
Before visiting a furniture retailer, take some photos of the room you’re planning to furnish. This will help the salesperson get a better idea of the layout and style of the room.
Once you’ve measured, sketched and photographed your space, it’s time to decide where in the room you’d like to place your new furniture and accessories. Do you need to fill some space in the room, replace an old piece or redesign the entire area?
To learn more about arranging your furniture, as well as incorporating focal points, lighting, rugs and wall décor, check our article Eight Practical Tips for Arranging your Living Room Furniture.
Space planning tools can help you visualize your new furniture in your home. There are many apps available to download to your mobile phone.
Download the La-Z-Boy augmented reality app and see what your new recliner would look like in your own space.
4. What’s My Interior Design Style?
From what you wear to where you live, your style says a lot. When it comes to interior design, your home should be a reflection of you.
How would you describe your style? Do you prefer modern, casual or traditional? Do you like comfort, what’s on-trend or both?
Are you really in love with that swanky sectional you saw in Modern magazine? Would it fit into your lifestyle or even be comfortable to sit on?
What colours of furniture and accessories do you like? Do you prefer solids, patterns or a mix of both?
If you haven’t been to a furniture store recently, maybe you’re not 100% sure what you like. It can sometimes seem like all design experts have their own names for different design styles. What some designers label as modern can occasionally be described as contemporary by others.
Don’t worry; if you can’t describe your style preferences to your furniture sales consultant, they can help you figure it out.
To get you started, here are the four main style categories available at La-Z-Boy. Our designer’s ability to combine two or more of these styles means they’ve got you covered.
Warm hues and simple details add an understated style to the furniture in the Comfortably Casual category. Beautiful spaces should be enjoyed and lived in!
Sofas, sectionals, chairs and ottomans have clean lines and a laid-back look that provides an open invitation to relax.
When it comes to Comfortably Casual, every room is warm. Whether it be an area rug or a decorative lamp, the overall look is relaxed.
Rich wood, elegant fabrics and sophisticated silhouettes in the Classics Revisited style are timeless and on-trend.
These pieces pay homage to time-honoured designs with classic details, including rolled arms and button-tufting.
The combination of classic details with twists of modern design offers a sophisticated look that blends into a variety of environments. This style can be arranged to look either casual or elegant depending on the accessories you choose to pair in.
Designed to cater to family function without having to sacrifice style.
This collection consists of stylish and versatile pieces that value comfort for a crowd. Even better, this style is all about durability so that you can rest easy as your family lives on this furniture.
With streamlined silhouettes and geometric prints, the Modern Retreat look is both chic and sophisticated.
This style screams urban living as it combines comfort with sleek designer details. One may describe Modern retreat as “comfort with some attitude”.
It all comes together in the details like angled arms, classic button-tufting, and sleek legs. Additionally, accents in wood and metal add texture and warmth for a modern space that’s current but cozy.
For a more detailed look at these design styles and furniture suggestions from an interior designer, check out What Furniture Design Styles are Available at La-Z-Boy.
5. What Are The “Must Haves” For My New Furniture?
We may not always know ‘what the most important thing’ is that we are looking for; many of us want it all! And of course, we want it NOW!
While most retailers strive to meet all their client’s needs and wants, the reality is that you sometimes have to compromise. As you get into your furniture buying experience, you will find you are in a much better position if you clearly understand your top priorities (and even better if your partner agrees!).
Timing may be a top consideration. Whether you need a rocker-recliner for your baby due next month or immediately for your father who’s coming home from the hospital, recognizing your timeframe will help focus your decision-making options.
If you had to choose, what would it be, comfort or style? That is the million-dollar question when shopping for furniture.
Even if the priority for your new chair is style, you still need to give it the sit test. Your Ottawa furniture sales associate should be able to find the design you’re looking for without compromising comfort too much.
Some furniture collections offer both comfort and style. It takes some shopping around to find exactly what you’re looking for but worth it in the long run.
Any one of these top 10 considerations can help you identify your most important criteria. It is YOUR furniture that you are buying after-all. Knowing what you care about the most will make you a leaner, meaner, better furniture shopper!
6. Reclining or Non-Reclining Furniture?
When shopping for your home, you will need to decide whether you’d like motion furniture, stationery, or a mix of both.
Many people begin their buying journey with a preference for stationary. It’s not until they sit in a recliner that they realize what a difference in comfort motion furniture offers.
From introductory to premium mechanics, manual motion furniture can maneuver and recline your body into a laid-back position. It is essential to ensure you have the strength to put the chair into the reclining position, and the only way to confirm this is to do the ‘sit and recline’ test!
Motorized furniture is more expensive but provides smooth movement at the touch of a button. Power reclining sofas and chairs offer an unlimited number of leg and back movement options. When you take your finger off the controller, the seat will lock into position.
For some, the look of stationary furniture wins out every time. A nice compromise is to include both reclining and non-reclining furniture types in the room. This way, you’re sure to please everyone using the space. There are furniture pieces available today that recline without the big bulky look of recliners you’ve come to expect.
For more on recliners that don’t look like recliners, check out these La-Z-Boy secret recliners.
7. Leather or Fabric: Preference?
There are so many choices of furniture covers; where should you begin? First, you’ll want to decide whether you want leather or fabric upholstery.
Essential factors to consider when choosing your furniture coverings are:
Some people choose leather furniture over fabric because of its natural beauty and unique characteristics. Leather adds interest and prestige to any room. It is timeless and classic and looks even better with age.
It’s essential to make sure you know the type of leather used when selecting this cover for your sofa or chair. There are no international standard rules for leather terms or disclosure of the kinds of leather used in furniture. They are different in almost every country.
Always ask your salesperson in store lots of questions about the leather they use on their furniture. If they are a reputable company, they should have the answers to all your questions.
If you decide to go with leather, Top Grain is the best choice in terms of quality, but it will cost you more. Top Grain leather is the cowhide layer on the animal’s surface and is considered the most valuable.
If you choose fabric upholstery, there are many options available. Natural or human-made fibres and textile weaves are among the most common upholstery options from which to choose.
Fabrics come in unlimited patterns, textures, and colours. These covers offer a much better chance of complementing existing décor and getting the look you want. Upholstery fabric has the versatility and colour range to fulfill any imagination.
The feel of the fabric varies depending on the material itself, the frame construction, and the support system. Natural fibres tend to be the softest, and cotton or linen would be a great choice if comfort is a top priority.
For a more detailed comparison of leather vs fabric upholstery check out What is the Best Cover for your Sofa: Leather or Fabric?
Stain Resistant Covers
Do you have young children and or pets that will be spending time in the room? If so, spills and stains will happen.
Believe it or not, leather can be easier to clean than fabric, as you can wipe it down. Some furniture brands offer performance fabrics designed to withstand wear and tear and protect against stains.
You may be interested in iClean furniture protection fabric, a line of upholstery fabrics that repel spills and stains.
Check out this article on pet friendly furniture for tips on creating a safe environment for your pet with tips on saving your furniture from scratching, stains, and shedding.
8. Who Will Be Using The New Furniture?
Is your new chair or sofa for everyone in the household or just for you? If multiple people will be using the seating, you will need to consider everyone’s size and furniture requirements for the room.
No matter how much you love the style of a particular piece of furniture, if your feet don’t touch the floor or the seat’s depth is too short, you won’t be comfortable in the long run.
If the adult members in your family are of radically different heights, two different chair styles might be the way to go to get the right fit for both.
Different chair styles are on-trend, even in the dining room. Gone are the days of the all-in-one dining set. Stylish dining rooms often showcase a mix of two, three, or even more chair styles to create an entirely custom look
We highly recommend trying out different styles and getting fitted by an expert. However, you can do some research before you visit your nearest Ottawa or Kingston furniture store.
To learn more about how to get the right fit for your specific size, check out:
Finally, knowing how many people need to sit has to factor into your decision-making. If you have a family of five and are only looking for a chair to compliment your sofa, someone will feel left out.
9. When Can I Take Possession of My New Furniture?
Are you moving or building a new home in the Ottawa and Kingston area and have plenty of time to plan out your space? Or, do you need your furniture right away?
Knowing when you need your furnishings is crucial when purchasing custom furniture. In this case, it’s important to plan ahead.
It takes time to build and customize your furniture to your specific configurations and requirements. Add the shipping of your new furniture, and it could take many weeks or even months to receive custom-made furniture in Canada.
If you are only purchasing an in-stock chair, it’s possible to pick it up from the store as soon as the day of purchase. Some pieces come apart for easier transport.
If you want to bring home your new furniture once you’ve paid the bill, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle can accommodate its size.
Most Ottawa furniture stores will provide a delivery service if you live in the vicinity of their retail stores. Furniture takes a week or two for delivery if what you’ve purchased is in-stock. As mentioned above, custom furniture takes longer.
There is usually a delivery fee, anywhere from $50-$200. Sometimes the cost is included in the furniture’s price, or you can get a discount when you buy more pieces.
At La-Z-Boy, the flat delivery fee is $99.95 within the Kingston or Ottawa markets.
Learn more about La-Z-Boy furniture delivery and pick-up services in Ottawa & Kingston.
*Due to the pandemic, furniture delivery times are taking longer than usual. Look at the article How Covid-19 affects furniture delivery delays to learn more about current delivery lead times.
10. What Kind Of Budget Do I Have?
STATISTIC: On average Canadians spend $1,124 per year for household furnishings, according to data from Statistics Canada 2019.
While price & budget is something many can feel uncomfortable talking about, it can also be one of the most important factors for many people when considering the furniture buying process.
It can be challenging to determine a budget when you are just beginning your buying journey and don’t know how much things cost; however you will want to have a ballpark idea before you get started. In this case, knowledge is power, and the more you know about the pricing in the furniture market, the better prepared you will be when shopping in-store or online.
The cost of furniture varies depending on many factors, including the retailer you shop at, the quality of the materials used, custom or in-stock items, and the options chosen.
For example, there is a significant difference in seating cost for six at your dining room table and seating for 12 or more. If you know what you need, creating a budget will be that much easier.
For a better understanding of how much furniture costs in Canada, check out these cost articles. They outline the price ranges you can expect to pay for a given furniture item and why.
How Much Does It Cost?
Like buying a car, some specific upgrades can increase your furniture purchase cost.
There is no better way to understand cost and pricing than to have an open discussion with your sales consultant about how much things cost. An experienced sales team will find ways to help identify the most cost-effective furniture solutions for your needs.
Given that furniture can be expensive, most furniture stores in Ottawa offer financing options. Financing allows you to defer payment for a while or make several smaller payments towards the purchase over a period of time.
In most cases, financing is provided to retailers by a third-party financial institution. The financing company provides you with a loan, and the store will pay a fee. As a result, some financing agreements require an administration fee as a way to compensate the retailer.
To better understand how furniture financing works, check out Furniture Financing: Everything you Need to Know.
Other Important Factors To Consider
If your project becomes a large one and you’re considering redesigning the entire room, you may wish to hire an interior designer.
To learn more, check out our article How much Does an Interior Designer Cost In Ottawa/Kingston.
Some furniture retailers offer free or paid interior design services.
La-Z-Boy offers a complimentary interior design service. Our designers will come to your home, assess, measure, and find out your needs. This way, you can rest assured that the measurements are accurate and that the furniture won’t be too big/small for the room when it arrives.
Please remember that buying comfortable and stylish home furnishings is only half the equation as you evaluate the various furniture brands. The furniture store you will do business with is responsible for successfully delivering and installing your new furniture. Furthermore, they will potentially provide supplementary services such as design and post-purchase support that will impact your overall experience.
Ready To Take The Next Step?
If you’ve looked at all the furniture stores in Ottawa or Kingston and decided to give us a try, you can feel good knowing that La-Z-Boy has over 90 years of experience in home furnishings.
You can also feel good knowing you are supporting a local business. Our family-owned* and operated La-Z-Boy stores are devoted to our community and our customers. We are your friends and neighbours striving to give you the best furniture buying experience possible!
Our highly trained sales consultants are furniture experts; they will guide you through the purchasing process to help you find what you’re looking for.
Learn more about What to Expect When Making a Purchase at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston.
To get you started, here’s a link to some of our review articles:
We look forward to helping you find the perfect furniture for your home and making your space just a little bit more comfortable.