Selecting the right furniture to buy

Home Stager with Shift Property Styling

It has been sometime since I have been on Active Rain, and wow, things keep pumping along in here. It is so refreshing to come back after an absence and see the committed writers still providing us with their learnings, their inspirations and their terrific ideas.

I have been spending time further developing my furniture inventory and attending trade shows finding the best deals on the new styles of furniture coming out here in Australia. I find these exhibitions the best place to find stock and to be able to purchase houselots the most cost effectively.

One thing I have found in recent times is ensuring the stock I am purchasing meets a few core criteria. What does that really mean? Well let me dot point some of the important issues for home stagers in purchasing stock:

1) It has to look good - this does not mean it has to look like it came direct from a millioniares lounge room, it just has to be functional, usable and provide ongoing income through its ability to be rented out to other properties in the future.

2) Non-specific - following on from the last point, don't buy too much stock that can only be used in one or two types of property. This is a quick way to ensure your stock will remain in the warehouse more than out in someone's home

3) Durable - when looking at furniture, check all the joining corners of the piece and see if there are any obvious fractures, particularly at the back. This will give you some idea of how the piece was built and whether it knocks easily. The last thing you need is tops coming off buffets or hall stands the first time you use them. Make sure the stock looks solid enough to survive multiple moves from your warehouse to various properties during its rental life.

4) Does it look more than it costs - properties benefit from having the right type of furniture in them. Buyers of homes emotionally connect with the house and then the way it is presented so the right furniture will create an atmosphere ripe to impress. But the right furniture need not cost thousands. Look for options that will allow you to spread your furntiture budget further. Sometimes this means buying quality second hand stock.

5) Can it be repaired or replacement parts sought - this is particularly important when it comes to more modern flat packed furniture that may be taken apart and put back together many times. After a while parts such as timber where screws enter may wear and degrade leaving you a piece of furniture that will not last its required rental cycle.

 6) Weight and size - in my opinion this is one of the most important factors to consider with furniture purchasing. How much does it weigh and how big is it. Everytime I go to a furniture expo now and I see a piece I like the first thing I do is bend the knees and try to lift a corner, if I cannot do this myself I walk away as this will limit my ability to move the piece in the property I am styling should the removalist guys have left and I am on my own. Also consider size for getting into tricky apartments with lift access only. I have found (and yes, the hard way!!) that most lifts only take a sofa 1.8 to 2.0 metres long on its end. Any more than this and you will be sitting in the apartment lobby on a nice looking sofa that is going no where!

I hope these points are useful to anyone considering having their own inventory or are in the process of starting one up.


Shift by Design are Tasmania's (Australia) leading property presentation and home staging experts specialising in vacant property furniture hire and setup.


Comments (13)

Marci Toliver
438-4642 - Mauldin, SC
Anderson SC, Spartanburg,Greenville SC, Home Staging
Adam- great to see you back in the RAIN!  How is the staging going in Austrailia
May 04, 2008 02:40 AM
Gina McNew
diva la difference interiors - Atlanta, GA
Host of Diva in the House - The Voice of Real Estate Staging Radio

Adam~All excellent points in the considerations of what to look for when purchasing furnishings. 


May 04, 2008 02:45 AM
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Adam..welcome back.  I was smiling throughout your post but particularly about lifting an edge.  That's my first criteria after seeing a piece that looks useful.  Lift..too heavy...move on.  Sometimes I think that the sales people wonder what I'm up to because they offer, "we do deliver" so I tell them my story and they too smile.  Thanks for the informative post.  I love the Aussie terminology "timber". 


May 04, 2008 04:15 AM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager
Hi Adam!  One of my criteria for furniture is:  will it fit in my SUV?  Thanks for the overview - and your blog looks great too!  Julie
May 04, 2008 05:27 AM
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
It is great to have you back playing in the Rain Adam! Your tips are great and also welcomed. 
May 04, 2008 10:33 AM
Sandra Hughes
Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia - Fairfax, VA
Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia
Adam - the weight is crucial as my criteria is can myself and another woman lift this without breaking our backs.  I am slowly buying inventory as well.
May 04, 2008 12:21 PM
Adam Luttrell
Shift Property Styling - Honolulu, HI
Shift Property Styling - Hobart, Tasmania

Thanks for your comments everyone, good to have cleared some space to be able to read others thoughts and make contributions again.

Marci - long time, no see. All is busy in Australia's southern most capital. Our business is taking off and inventory is growing. Good news in my books. Hope all is well with you.

Gina - thanks for taking the time to comment

Ginger - I have ordered too much stock now on spec WITHOUT lifting it. I have a table coming out of a property on Tuesday next week that needs 4 men to lift the table top alone!! BIG mistake. "No worries, mate" I'll keep the Aussie slang coming along!

Julie - great point, especially if you are doing the moving yourself without assistance, fitting in the ute is extremely important. Thanks for the positive feedback on the blog.

Yvonne - great to be back again thank you.

Sandra - glad to hear things are going well and that you are developing your inventory, great form of revenue.


May 04, 2008 12:38 PM
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells


I'm just waiting for someone to come up with gorgeous Styrofoam furniture. Good post! 

May 04, 2008 02:41 PM
Kathleen Lordbock
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Baxter, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Hello again  there Adam - Our inventory is getting to be huge and a pain in the back. I have a great portable bar with stone top, but.... it is sooo heavy.  Only for my high end properties.  Versatile and expensivo looking (but not) is the key.

Great tips - I will try to keep them in mind the next time I go shopping.

May 11, 2008 03:40 PM
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Hi Adam: Thanks for the tutorial on purchasing staging furniture. I don't warehouse any large pieces yet due to space and strength requirements. I have started using a moving (removals) company so purchasing larger pieces may be in my future. BTW, I love Tasmania (especially Federation Chocolate)! My husband and I have often thought that if Tasmania was a little closer to the US, we would chuck it all and move there.   Good on ya', Mate!

May 11, 2008 03:53 PM
Jackson West
Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Adam! I thought you got eaten by a Tasmanian Devil! This is an excellent post indeed. I hear you on the weight issue... I have a Noguchi coffee table that cost a fortune and is so beautiful but it takes 2 people to carry the glass. The imprint it leaves on an area rug is harsh. Great to see you in the rain... your website and portfolio look amazing... you have been busy!

May 11, 2008 09:41 PM
Adam Luttrell
Shift Property Styling - Honolulu, HI
Shift Property Styling - Hobart, Tasmania

Susan - image the mess styrofoam furniture would make when it chipped!! I uninstalled a job yesterday in an apartment complex and the removalists managed to get a block of styrofoam caught in the lift door and it went everywhere! Near impossible to pick up too!

Kathleen - Long time! Glad you are still going well and building up the inventory

Michelle - Warehousing is expensive, and you need to factor it into your job costs. Having your own inventory is a fairly big commitment but is easily grown over a number of jobs. You have obviously been to Tasmania and perhaps the Federation factory on the Tasman Peninsula? Great time of the year to be here too. We have just hosted 3000 US sailors on the USS Tarawa (which about doubled our population!!).

Jackson - hey there Jackson, how's things? I carry a big stick to beat the Tasmanian Devils off! I know the table, they are wonderful and fit into so many properties very easily. I had no idea the glass was so heavy though. I hate those impressions in floor rugs, has anyone figured out a quick and easy way to get them back to normal again after weight has been put on them for long periods?

May 13, 2008 11:58 AM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Wow! Glad to meet you...great post..  It is always nice to have light pieces that look GREAT...and you can't find too many sources, although Tasmania is a bit far for shipping. 

May 13, 2008 05:42 PM