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General Furniture Buying Tips

Things to do before you get to the store

  • Decide what you want to buy and measure the spaces where you plan to put the furniture. Space dictates which pieces will fit and where.
  • Measure any exterior door, staircase clearances, hallways, or any other tight spaces that your new furniture might have to pass through.
  • Think about why you are buying and what purpose you are seeking to fulfill. ex: Is this something you are buying for long-term or short-term reasons? Everyday or occasional use?
  • Decide on a tentative and reasonable budget amount.
  • Think about colors and/or finish stains on existing furniture or elements of your decor that you might want to match or coordinate. Bring samples and/or pictures of your room and furniture.

Things to consider when you are in the store and shopping

  • Measure furniture pieces you are interested in to see if they will fit the scale of your room and the spaces you have intended to place them.
  • The most important features you want to keep in mind are quality and comfort. Price is an important factor as a general measure of the quality of the item.
  • Look around the showroom several times. Ask for assistance. We have a large selection of merchandise, and it is possible to overlook the perfect item.
  • If you do not see what you are looking foor, we have an extensive library of our manufacturers’ catalogues for you to browse through covering different stlyes, finishes, and price ranges. ( browse our manufacturers on the web )
  • Take your time. Furniture is an important investment, and not something most people buy very often. Make sure you are happy with what you are buying.
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Futon Buying Tips

We strongly recommend that if you are looking for bedding for everyday use for an adult, that you opt to buy a mattress set instead if possible. Our futon mattresses are high quality, but for the money you will always be able to buy a more comfortable and longer lasting regular mattress set than you will find with a futon.

Most people want to purchase a metal futon. Here are 4 reasons why you should reconsider:

If one of the bars at the bottom or on the back bend or break, you can’t fix it or replace it.
Wooden futons are generally found to be more comfortable.
The quality of construction is generally much better with wood than metal.
Metal futons usually come with 4″ mattresses. But when you purchase a wooden futon from Earl’s, you can choose from either an 8 inch foam or coil mattress. One of our manufacturers also offers an 8 inch mattress that is covered with different fabrics and with optional throw pillows.***If you choose the 8 inch mattress (foam or coil), you could purchase a zip-up mattress cover but these can be difficult to remove and replace when cleaning. Some covers are dry clean ONLY. Instead, Earl’s suggests buying a nice Full Size fitted sheet and a couple of throw pillows to dress up your futon.
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Entertainment & Storage Furniture Buying Tips

Measure wall width and ceiling height where the item will be placed. Do not count window or door moldings, measure from outside of these. Also, when considering depth, measure along the floor from the edge of the base/shoe molding, NOT from the wall surface. If the unit is very tall, measure from the edge of the crown molding instead.

If you have wood floors, you may want to consider a contrasting color for your wall unit.

Buy the TV you want first and then find a wall unit to fit; else take the actual measurement of the TV cabinet first before shopping for a wall unit. (You want the actual width and/or height of the TV cabinet – NOT the screen size)

Most entertainment centers are made without doors now that TV’s are getting wider. Many have doors that open wide and/or wrap around the side of the unit. Be sure to allow clearance from walls, windows, doors, and other furniture to open the cabinet.

Make sure the proper connections are available on the chosen wall. (cable/satellite/antenna feed, audio jacks, sufficient AC power outlets, telephone jacks, etc.)

If you will also be storing video and audio components, measure width, height and depth of each to ensure a proper fit in the cabinet with enough clearance for wiring in the back.

Curio display cabinets come both with and without lights. Be sure to have an available power outlet if you want one with a light.

For books, measure the tallest and deepest books that will be stored on the shelves to ensure proper fit. Some units have adjustable shelves, some fixed, and some both.

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Dining Room Furniture Buying Tips

When measuring your room for fit, allow a minimum 36 inches around the table to have people seated and be able to walk around. For example: if your dining room is 9-1/2 feet x 12 feet then the largest table you can comfortably fit is 42 inches wide x 72 inches long. (If you want a hutch, then you will have to shorten the dimension of the table by the depth of the hutch for whichever wall you place it on.)

Standard Table & Seating Heights
Table Height Seating Height
Dining 30″ 18″ Chairs
Gathering* 36″ 24″ Counter Stools
Pub 42″ 30″ Bar Stools
*same height as standard kitchen countertops

Formal dining tables, if they have any leaves, will be removable and casual, gathering, and pub tables will usulally have self-storing leaves. (also known as “butterfly” leaves)

Most dining tops are built with MDF or other fiberboard/plywood for a flatter, more stable construction. (MDF being the superior choice) This is then covered with a real wood veneer. MDF additionally helps to prevent splits along the grain of the table top which is more common with solid wood construction. Solid wood table-tops are also subject to twisting and cupping of the individual boards needed to make the large surface. Very few tables are still made with all solid wood for this reason. “Butcher Block” style table tops which have the boards set on end and sandwiched together are an exception to this problem.

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Bedroom Furniture Buying Tips

Measure bedroom size including window and door placement. (also measure height from floor of windows)

If trying to match other furniture, bring in a small piece of the item (like a door or drawer, all of which are removable) or also, the original receipt of the piece you are trying to match.

Only pieces labeled as “solid wood” are truly solid. “Real wood” or “all wood” labeled pieces, as well as any piece which is listed as having veneers, can have fiberboard. The more decoration and intricate detail on a piece, the greater chance of the item containing fiberboard and/or resin. (intricate carvings are usually made of resin on lower price range items)

Beds are usually sold by “size name” based on the nominal size mattress they hold. The actual bed size will be larger in both dimensions and varies with construction.

WideHead to Toe

Common American Mattress Sizes For Beds
Twin 39″ 74″
Twin Extra Long (XL) 39″ 80″
Full 54″ 74″
Full Extra Long (XL) 54″ 80″
Queen 60″ 80″
(Eastern) King 78″ 80″
California King* 72″ 84″
*not available in Louisiana

When looking for Full size beds, consider Queen models also. The difference is a Queen is only 3″ wider on each side of the bed. There are only a handful of beds in Full size. Most beds are available in Queen with Full attachments. The actual bed is the same width Full or Queen, but the Full size is 6″ shorter head to toe. If the bed is a complete Headboard, Footboard, & Rails package, the Full size rails will be shorter than the Queen rails.

Furniture pieces vary widely in both size and construction, though most accessory pieces such as dressers, chests, and night stands tend to average about 18″ in depth from the wall.