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Furniture Shopping Advice

Tips to help you shop for furniture

According the the American Furniture Manufacturers Association, consumers should do the following when shopping for furniture:

Identify your personal style. Is it casual, contemporary, country, traditional or eclectic? If unsure look at the items around you to see how they reflect your personality – your wardrobe, your car, your magazines and favorite movies.

Examine your preferences. Make a list of your favorite colors, textures and patterns. Do you prefer bold colors or pastels? Solids, stripes or plaids? Soft, light fabric covers or rich tapestries?

Consider your lifestyle. Do you plan to have a family or already have children? Pets? Are you planning to move soon?

Prioritize your purchases. Decide which items of furniture you want or need most, and buy those first. Then build around them.

Determine your budget. No matter how much or how little you want to spend, you can find good values that suit your style in any price category.

Budget your time to suit your shopping style. Do you enjoy doing lots of research and browsing, or are you an on-the-spot buyer? Shopping for furniture can be as easy or involved as you want it to be.

Explore available resources. Look to home programs, books, magazines, catalogs, Web sites and furniture showrooms to provide inspiration. Keep a scrapbook of furniture styles you like.

Take advantage of free services. Many furniture stores offer such benefits as interior design consulting, room planning guides and product brochures.

Trust your own judgment. Buy what you like, and don't be afraid to be bold or different.

Have fun and enjoy the process. Furnishing your home to express your personal style can be one of life's greatest and most enduring pleasures.