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Online shopping

Shopping online has come a LOOOONG way from where it was in the past. In the beginning, we bought books online and that was pretty much it.

And since the pandemic, we’ve had to become experts at ordering everything from groceries to Q-tips to comfortable lounge wear.

It only took me until the other day to wonder out loud “Why on earth don’t we have a utility knife IN THE KITCHEN”, where most packages are opened. I’m always pulling open the scissors to open packages and that doesn’t work so well.


Also, do you agree that the WORST and most painful part of shopping online is having to RETURN the item?

How many items have you just kept it and shoved it into storage because you just didn’t want to bother with the hassle of the return?

I am currently writing a course about how to make sure you actually end up with the colour you wanted.

So today I want to hear from you.

What is the worst online shopping mistake you’ve ever made?

I’d also love to hear about the biggest online shopping COLOUR MISTAKES you’ve made.

How much time have you wasted ordering fashion or home decor only to end up with the wrong colour?

Colour is one of the hardest to get right online. Until now (stay tuned).

Scale is another thing you have to think about. It’s crazy hard to judge scale without whipping out the measuring tape.

One of the huge benefits of this online world is that you can order exactly what you want, and the challenge is also that you can order exactly what you want.

How many of you can relate to this; You spend hours searching for the perfect outdoor rug, only to find the exactly what you want, AND because you are so happy and relieved the search is over, you neglect to notice that it’s an INDOOR rug, NOT an outdoor rug?

This rug is BOTH indoor and outdoor 

Or after a long and lengthy search, you finally find the perfect console table. Again, you want this search to be over so you order it and boom. . . it arrives and the scale is totally wrong because you neglected to re-check the measurements.

One Kings Lane

Fit is one thing, colour is another when it comes to ordering fashion. It is also really hard to get a sense of the tactile quality and weight of the piece.


Pink Coat

For furniture the issue is colour, comfort and scale.

Mind you, it’s a common mistake not to measure for furniture, even if buying from a showroom. Which seems crazy, but it happens all the time. You sat on it and it was super comfy. But you didn’t bother to plan and measure, a sofa is as sofa right? Maybe you were just checking it off your list, or it was an impulse buy.

So you just live with the way-too-big sofa, or the dining chairs banging up the walls for a decade or two.

Because you’re not going to borrow a truck to bring it back. Would the store even take it back?

Milk Decoration

But returning furniture that you ordered online? It’s enough to make you live with the tattered sofa for another 5 years.

I’d love to hear about your victories and misadventures in ordering furniture online recently.

Now that we are ordering increasingly big and big ticket items online regularly, shopping has become a whole new kind of art.

Stay tuned for my course on ordering decor online and getting it right.

Please post your best/worst experience below, I don’t want to miss anything!

Related posts:

Stylish Women Don’t Wear t-Shirts; Yay or Nay

Your Home Should Reflect Who you Are; Helpful or Not?

Refresh Your Dining Room with Upholstered Chairs; Befores & Afters 

9 pins


  • I’m so picky but I actually go out of my way to only order things online if it’s possible to return them. After we rebuilt the deck on our house I was excited to take advantage of outdoor dining so I ordered four sets of outdoor tables and chairs from Target, because they were really affordable and all had free returns, but I eventually gave up and just said I guess we won’t be buying outdoor furniture that we can afford this year because every single table arrived dented and banged up from the poor shipping/packaging quality, and all of the chairs if undamaged were incredibly uncomfortable.

    I’ve definitely made mistakes about colour or scale though. But more than anything I’ve just sort of ignored the palette of something contributing to the overall design of the room. I would say another important one is making sure the scale of patterns with an online purchase will mix as well with your existing patterns! Also not looking at the repeat size for fabrics or wallpapers, especially for smaller pieces or in smaller spaces where the entire repeat might not even show if you misjudge.

    • To be clear, this was four sets one after another after I kept finding fault with each one, not four sets all at once 😂

    • I had a problem with Wayfair and patio furniture for my mom. She had gotten through chemo and surgery, and I wanted her to be able to enjoy her backyard. Some thing was low stock quantity at Wayfair, so I called to verify that they had it. They did, we placed the order over the phone with the guy who said they had it. Then then got a confirmation that said it was coming in three days or whatever. Then two days later, I got an email saying it was back ordered and wouldn’t be here until September. Then I got super mad and called them and said, “look I don’t know how much time my mom has to live and the whole idea was for her to be able to enjoy her backyard” and then they sent us two chairs so she could at least sit with their table that had come in. Then later when they were in stock, the original 4 chairs, we ordered came in and the finish on them was poor quality. You could cut your fingers on the sharp edges of the coating in some places, and then other places it was completely chipped off. Just such a disaster. A month later, we discovered the cancer had spread to her brain.

      • The patio furniture was white with green cushions so the colors weren’t the issue, but the quality and delivery time. The first two chais were less expensive but better finishing that the set of 4 chairs.

        • Tammy Camp Cianciulli says:

          We did a 2700 sq ft entire home reno over the past 3 years. WHILE LIVING IN IT 😳. Most of my small items and large items were purchased online. Thanks Maria for your color (colour) courses! My BIG items were also super heavy. Cast Iron Clawfoot tub custom painted at their warehouse in PA and shipped to me in Texas. I instructed them I live in a rural area on a narrow road with overhanging trees, don’t send on a huge truck. Yeah. They shipped in hi-top semi. 🤬. Luckily I had a flatbed trailer and truck to meet him on the state highway to get it. HE had a forklift to unload. WE then had to figure out how to get the 425 pound tub off the trailer and into my home. Did I forget to mention the sunken rooms? 2 to go through to get the tub into the bathroom. Luckily as part of our demo, we had to bust out the door frame and relocate. The tub was too wide to fit through a standard doorway. It’s there FOREVER!

          The other large items were vanities. The double with the granite top was 375 pounds. It arrived safely from Home Depot. The single vanity for my guest bath arrived with a broken marble top. Wayfair has amazing customer service. Gave us a few choices including buying us a new top locally but when we priced it, was cheaper to just send new unit out

          I will rave a bit on Vintage Tub and Bath in PA. Their quality is amazing. My daughter also does home renovations and she also got the cast iron clawfoot custom painted. Hers is black and white (stunning!!) and mine was painted Alpaca(SW) to match perfectly with a color in my bath tile.

          Don’t be afraid to order online. Just do your research and YES measure several times!!

  • Bonnie says:

    I have stopped buying clothes online. After five purchases that were the wrong colour, ill-fitting, or poorly constructed, I quit. I got a great deal on a vacuum cleaner that does an amazing job, but it weighs a tonne to drag around. From now on major purchases I will make in person.

  • Adeliade says:

    I’m not an on-line shopper, except for books. I have made two other purchases.I have only ordered one piece of furniture on-line – a floor lamp, and I am absolutely delighted with it. I did measure and also had a conversation with the supplier about how the cord was attached before committing. It was also returnable. The other item came only this week, a window screen wiper for the rear window of my car. It was delivered within 3 days. I could never order clothing or furnishings, I’m too tactile for that. I would not rely on the colour I see on the screen either.

  • dmiko5 says:

    During a full reno ordered a sectional sofa for upstairs bonus room. Contractor had to remove the window in the bonus room and 5 guys had to push the 2 pieces up a ladder. I was going to return it, but contractor said only the tiniest sofa would turn the corner in the stairwell 😱 That sofa is here to stay!

  • Trish says:

    Sitting here at this moment staring at a pile of bedding that looked so nice on line. However, upon boxing and unwrapping it all- the sheets that looked perfect with the bed set online are so far from coordinating, as to hurt the eyes. I don’t know where to start to get it all back in it’s cute cotton bags it was wrapped in so yeah, it will probably live in my linen closet until I donate it. Live and learn.

  • I am *very* interested in learning more about this new course Maria.

    I love the idea of being able to shop the world and expand my range of options. However, it is often a real pain, and shipping/duties can be wildly expensive. I’m in Canada and it’s so frustrating to not be able to purchase from the USA with confidence.

    My newest strategy is to shop local, so I can develop a relationship with the staff and do returns when necessary. That being said, I am keen to learn from you about how I might develop better skills for successfully shopping online.

    You are a fabulous style maven, and I’d be keen to know if you have been able to successfully shop for clothing online? Do you order from the US? I know you are all about the home, but in this case, please don’t ‘stick to your lane!’

  • Roxanne says:

    I buy a fair amount online and usually have success, but the biggest fail was one of my biggest purchases – a bathroom vanity. The supplier did not have colour swatches or a paint match to send out, but all of the photos showed the vanity looking a lovely mid-tone green-grey that would have been perfect. It was a huge risk and I knew it, but I felt confident after scrutinizing all the photos. The day it arrived and I opened it my heart sank to my toes. It was very dark grey and had no green undertone – it was actually blue and SO wrong for my space. Thankfully the unit was damaged (not by me – promise!) and the supplier didn’t want to take it back but rather offered a discount which I used to have the unit sprayed the right colour.

    • Jane Beard says:

      Oh gosh Roseanne.. we did the EXACT SAME THING. And I’ll never do it again. We installed it in a different bathroom where it wasn’t as bad with the time. But my lesson was “bad with the tile” is bad with the tile. There’s no continuum where it’s a “less bad.” It’s just bad. We have someone coming to paint it in MAY because that’s the first spot we could get. I feel you!

  • Lauren T says:

    I haven’t done much online FURNITURE shopping, but I do have a couple experiences o share. My victory was an Origami Computer Desk from HSN, with a matching computer stand. My blunder was two different office chairs, one was fully-upholstered and was a “safe” neutral that turned out homely and also uncomfortable (the cats like it, tho). The other chair was touted as ergonomic, and I went with a royal blue this time, but still not good back support. Would love to find something pretty AND comfortable/ergonomic. I’ll bet your new course will be a hit. Take care….

  • Michele says:

    I love shopping online, but I try to do as much research and read as many reviews as possible. My best suggestion when rug shopping is once you “think” you found the rug that will work; order the smallest size it comes it. This way you can see if the color and pattern will work in your space. Most of the time you can find a vendor that offers free returns, small rugs are easier to return and if returning isn’t an option you are only out a small amount.

    • DeniseGK says:

      Oh, this is a great tip. I love this. Most times, those small rugs are on sale too – sometimes they are the *only* size that’s on sale on a website advertising “Huge Rug Sale Going On Now!” Ha – that’s how they get us. l

      I don’t know if it’s a weird thing among the people I know, but we are frequently trading around doormat-sized rugs for the front entry or from in front of the kitchen sink. When one person gets tired of what they have, turns out someone else has been in love with it for a few years. People are way more open to buying a small secondhand rug than a huge room sized rug that they don’t have a pickup truck for. That’s something to remember too – even if you have to get rid of it, you very probably can at a yard sale (when those come back) or on fb marketplace/similar.

    • Amanda says:

      Excellent advice on rug shopping! I had heard it before but had forgotten. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Lisa says:

        Years ago I ordered a beautiful Asian rug that had a brown background, with some blues, grays, creams beiges, etc. I SAW the rug in person in the store before ordering and had swatches of my fabrics that I HELD UP to the rug. After the rug was in my living room awhile I noticed that the brown was looking pinky red! It turns out that my grayish green walls and my sage green and gray green upholstery were reflecting off the REDDISH brown, and turning it pinky red, since green and red are complementary and intensify each other. I moved the rug to a different room and PROBLEM SOLVED. The rug looked brown again and I still to this day love it. At the time I ordered the rug, I didn’t know enough to see the undertones of the brown. Thanks to your course, I do now!

  • Christine says:

    I have the biggest issue with rugs. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve bought and returned them! I try to buy from companies that have a local store where I can return it but it doesn’t always work out that way. The one I ended up with isn’t the best but I was so tired of looking that I decided that it’s “good enough”. Why are rugs in particular so different online than in person! And many stores don’t carry a lot of options so it’s one of those things that you’re stuck peering for on the computer.

    • Cynthia says:

      I agree! Many of my clients do not want to take the extra time to order small 🙂 but I stand my ground unless they want to facilitate the return of a large rug that does not arrive in the right color or the scale is all wrong.
      My biggest on line blunder are linen drapes. The undertones are not clear on line. I have learned to request samples or order one and quickly place the order if the sample works!

  • Tiffany says:

    Small children, small city and small budget means I do most shopping online. Even before the pandemic.

    I made all the mistakes with my first sofa purchase: bought matching love seat, didn’t wait for what I really wanted, messed up the scale and didn’t wait until I was in the space to order furniture.

    I’ve learned lots tho, successfully bought a bed frame, two kids rooms of furniture, a dining table and sideboard all online.

    Lots of delivery headaches and a sectional that was uncomfortable along the way.

    • This reminds of a piece of wood furniture that I bought in the 1990s when I lived in Manhattan from a Williams Sonoma company that’s no longer. It was a lingerie dresser tall and skinny for a Manhattan apartment. Supposed to be cherry. Wood wasn’t cherry. Stain wasn’t cherry but an ugly orange oil finish on birch it looked like. I kept it anyway because I needed that storage, but ugh, that color. LOL

  • Donna says:

    From a decor standpoint, I typically order only “returnable” items online. That would be items with free returns or that can be returned locally (Target, for example, as Virginia mentioned, also Lowe’s, etc) or that I can afford to ship back! I made an exception last year when doing our basement renovation, which included a powder room, and ordered the navy vanity and mirror from Wayfair. I wasn’t trying to match anything precisely so I had some flexibility in the color. I was also on a tight budget and was willing to take a chance. All turned out well — although it took 2 vanities and 3 mirrors to receive undamaged goods. Wayfair handled it very well, but there was a hassle on my part.

    In general, I’m fairly particular! This will likely limit me to buying mostly accessories online. I could never order upholstered goods (besides maybe a foot stool!) without sitting in it (or something similar) first.

  • jaxi says:

    Rugs are so expensive (bulky and heavy) to ship back as returns that I have ended up giving “wrong” online purchases away. And the chance of getting a rug wrong online is so high: we cannot feel the texture, and the color on the screens is different from real life. Thus, I order rugs online only if I can first order a swatch or a very small returnable size. Lamps and bedding and small items and clothing I buy in person or buy from online sites where I can return to local (up to 2 hours drive) stores. Bedding and clothing is not that expensive to ship back and some sites like Zappos offer free return shipping. I have had repeated problems actually receiving furniture items from certain online retailers: they say it has arrived, but not to me in my gated community where all trucks are logged in at entry; for example, this week I am supposed to get re-delivery of night stands that I ordered in 2020 and they say arrived in January- it will be April 2021! Unfortunately I live in a town with few national chain stores for home goods. But I have one or two here, so I start there to stage for size and color and style, and if I do not like, I return the items to the local store with a better idea of what I should order online. The sofa and upholstered chair issue here is solved by having it made to copy the ones I like online- only because I trust the local upholsterer to do a great job including comfy seating, since I have worked with them before. I also drive up to 2 hours in any direction to furniture showrooms to look at and sit in and touch pieces, and to pick up swatches- before I buy online or have my upholsterer make a copy- but I always call ahead to make sure the items I am interested in are actually on the floor.

  • PattyG says:

    Clothing, OMG!!!! I have tried, truly tried but I cannot buy clothes online. I don’t even try anymore! I am good at buying home items, including toilet seats, dishes/pans and patio furniture; anything that does not include fabric and detailed color. The worst mistake I made was buying a very large rug a few years ago. I thought the blue was a rich, vibrant blue but it turned out to be a grayish green/blue. It was depressing looking for my space. I gave it away and wasted a ton of money. Maria, please teach us how to shop online!

  • E says:

    I went to my local furniture store and sat on a variety of sofas until I found one that fit my body (and my husband’s body) equally well. The one I liked wasn’t in stock in the color I wanted, but the saleswoman reassured me they would “all be the same.” Wrong. When it arrived, it was supremely uncomfortable, and no, it could not be returned. Five years of hating that sofa!

  • Sandra says:

    I recently bought exterior lights online that were labeled “bronze”. When they arrived “bronze” was labeled on all four boxes. My mistake was not opening all the boxes to check. My contractor hung them all while I was out and when I arrived home they were definitely black. I am so disappointed but I didn’t want to ask him to take them all down so I could return them. I wish more places/manufacturers offered sample swatches for online orders.

  • Ellen says:

    I “depend on the kindness of strangers” 🙂 I’ve ordered love seats, chairs, stools, ottomans, rugs, pillows and cabinets, lighting….each with hundreds of reviews to guide with color, construction, comfort. With a dollop of luck, I was pleased enough to keep it all.

  • Lisa Guimond says:

    I am hesitant to order some things online unless the return policy is easy. Luckily, Amazon purchases can be returned simply a few miles from my house, I drop off- they ship. A few years ago I ordered a dining table from a furniture store that turned out to be way too large for the space. As soon as it arrived I knew it was a terrible mistake. I paid $200 to have it picked up and returned. Lesson learned! Now I am meticulous about measuring the room and more importantly, what furniture is currently there for comparison sake.

  • Kim says:

    I have at least 6 rugs sitting unused in my basement that I purchased over the years to go under our kitchen table in a dining nook that requires a 6 x 9 size rug (which is fairly difficult to find). Some of the rugs are the wrong color, others are much too high for dining chairs to slide over comfortably, others came in the wrong size and others were poor quality. I finally got it right after finding an indoor/outdoor low weave carpet that coordinates well with the other colors in my kitchen. It took a long time and multiple on-line orders to find the one. I gave up ordering rugs from stores that charge for returns because it’s much too expensive to return large area rugs and they rarely arrive looking as they were pictured on-line. Fortunately, Home Depot now carries a decent selection of rugs on their website and they can be returned directly to their store with no shipping charges.

  • Kari says:

    I have made a lot of mistakes ordering online. From measurement errors, to fabric snafus… it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. To combat these issues, I tend to order from stores where I know the quality will be okay and if I’m ordering clothing, I stick to my favorite establishments, where I know my size. I also read the reviews for insight. I never order anything that is final sale and I’ve never ordered a large piece of furniture, certainly not an investment piece, online. I’m curious to see what you have up your sleeve though. I love everything you do!

  • mrsben says:

    As to home goods on the most part have been successful, as had seen them in a store prior to purchase so knew what I was getting. i.e.: Two bathroom vanities, bedding and a desktop computer are examples. Whereas to clothing; it’s been a whole different story even though I read/filtered their reviews, thoroughly checked their description as well as their sizing chart. i.e.: For starters colour has been totally different from expected. Also I am a sewer so know my yard goods but more often than not, quality of fabrics and/or workmanship have been disappointing to me plus their sizing appears to be all over the board regardless of pricing and/or of the same line. In other words, its been a hit ‘n miss. ( In fact, some of my neighbours and friends really l-o-v-e me …. ha, ha … as I have donated things to them if it suits their purpose rather than have the expense ‘n hassle of return particularly during these times with our many lock downs.)

    To conclude; IMHO interior decor and fashion do share the same complexities so speaking namely for myself, ordering online is definitely a challenge thus your course will be very beneficial. -Brenda-

  • Julie says:

    Color is incredibly difficult to distinguish online. How do you know what shade of white the bedside tables are or if the console table is really a sage green? We bought a console table and did not realize until it arrived that it was artificially distressed. Rather than gracefully aged, it looked like someone had thrown it out the window a few times.

    Perhaps the most difficult items to select online are towels, bedding, curtains, and upholstered furniture. Is there a better way to tell if these items are the same shade as they appear on the computer screen? Will they match the other items in the room? You mentioned the tactile quality, and that too is so important when buying these items. Each should feel beautiful to the touch, but how can one distinguish this when shopping online?

    This is a great topic. As you can see, I have so many questions about how to make worthwhile online purchases.

  • Bonnie G says:

    I bought a very large painted canvas wall art online and was delighted that the colours matched perfectly. Upon inspection of the back I noticed it was very cheaply made and certainly not worth what I paid for it. The wood frame was so thin that they were unable to screw a hanging hook into it and opted to attach a hook into the cheap fabric backing. I reinforced with duct tape and hung it in the wall. 24 hours later the hook ripped out of the fabric back and the picture crashed down, taking several heavy items on the table below with it which left 7 dents in the hardwood floor. Fortunately the vendor said no need to return and they sent a replacement. This time I reinforced with way more duct tape plus staples…it lasted 7 days on the wall before the hooks came loose and the picture crashed down again. An enterprising friend devised a hook for the thin wood frame and it has stayed up 3 months so far….fingers crossed…

  • Kelly says:

    YEAHHHHH! sign me up! Cant wait for this course. I have been ordering too many rugs that are the wrong color. Thankfully I order a small one first before I ever order a large size. Still haven’t found the right one. Also ordered two chairs that Im living with even though I don’t like them very much. Didn’t want the hassle and waste of shipping to send them back so they”ll do for a while.

  • Maggie S says:

    Maria, Your classes are always SO informative….I’m looking forward to this!!

  • Wendy says:

    I’ve spent almost the entire past 12 months shopping and ordering online as, at times, it was the ONLY way to keep my interior design business operating. I live in Ontario and have been virtually working with a contractor to renovate an original light house in Nova Scotia. Challenging when you can’t physically walk a space and absorb its character and scale.
    So, here are a few of my tips:
    Only, only, only purchase appliances through a brand name company. Do not be led by false promises of lower prices and one stop shopping sources. Read their reviews. Then read the Better Business Bureau reports. If placing a large online order for appliance, do so through the store manager!
    Paint selections when wallpaper is involved – don’t even try to select paint colours until the wallpaper arrives. 75% of the time, the wallpaper colours are much different!
    Soft goods – order samples and more samples. Having a true colour monitor is only effective IF the item has been properly photographed in lighting conditions that don’t influence its colour.
    Can’t express how important it is to read customer reviews. Quite often you’ll see purchaser’s photos of an item too.
    Purchase a large 32”x40” sheet of white foam board from your local custom framing shop. This is close to the white on the reverse side of Maria’s colour boards. I pins or lean all my samples on and against these boards. Easy to slide it up to my monitor too. This helps to detect the undertone of an item online, but it’s not a guarantee.
    Best to only shop where returns are easy and inexpensive. Lastly, read the item description for COUNTY aid ORGIN. Don’t be fooled by shipping times…some countries take a really long time to ship and clear customs.
    Online shopping isn’t foolproof. Hopefully following some of the steps above will mitigate some frustrations. I’ve had many successes with my purchases….and some total flops!

    • Jennifer Johnson says:

      These are really great tips, Wendy!

    • martha deerman says:

      Thanks, Wendy! You’ve offered some useful tips and great ideas:–) I appreciate that you took the time to be specific about potential problems and offer strategies to address what is just going to be part of the online shopping process, no matter how experienced we are. Thank you:-)

  • priscilla says:

    Buying clothes online is not all that difficult if you buy from either a vendor who offers free returns or you are buying from a familiar outfit. I’m short, and have finally learned that if a piece has a waist, i need a petite. Period.
    I bought a sofa only but got fabric samples first. The sofa loooooks good, but is not all that comfortable to sit on.
    My biggest mistake was not purchased online but in-store. Who would have thought a bed would not fit up the stairs? Not I! But there it was, jammed in the stairwell. And no returns because… it was used just sitting in my stairwell??? Yeah, that was the worst mistake I’ve made.
    Another online mistake: I bought French provencial-ish dining chairs from Pottery Barn and they were very uncomfortable. After about 6 months of trying to like them, I gave them to a friend and bought THE best chairs from a seller on eBay!
    Ha on me, whenever I go to this friend’s house, I have to sit in the uncomfortable chairs!
    Can’t wait to hear what this new idea of yours is, Maria!

  • Jill says:

    At least for color, it seems like if there was a way to apples to apples match the white balance, between the actual product, and what you see on your screen, that would solve a lot of problems

  • Jennifer says:

    I do a lot of shopping online, especially because some of my favorite stores are not locally available. I recently splurged on some super cute curtains for my daughters room at Pottery Barn. It took me a couple of months to find the right curtain rods and when we finally went to install them they were the wrong length! My heart totally sank. There is no way I can return them now and no other room we can use them in. I suppose I can try to sell them on EBay. I feel like such a failure. I remember measuring over and over and still got it wrong.

    • Sheree L says:

      Jennifer, I’m assuming they are too short, since if they were too long, you could hem them up. Could you add some kind of border on the bottom? If you don’t sew, maybe someone can do it for you? I hope you can get them to work for you. And I get the “feeling like a failure” thing! Been there, done that! Best wishes :]

    • Bonnie G says:

      Jennifer, sometimes it’s the type of measurement that makes the difference…metric or imperial, and that’s easy to screw up. I bought a piece of small exercise equipment for my elderly parents that I was sure it said 12 lbs. online and I thought great, it will be easy for them to move. Turned out to be 12 kg…a big difference!

  • Sheri Schellhaass says:

    I really think this statement is incorrect! You hire a designer to help you love your space … in as many ways as possible … utility , comfort , beauty, etc . i think the first place to start is with things a client cherishes… do not include things you want to keep because you spent money on them and feel you must keep . Do not start with decor you own that no longer reflects you . In most of my homes , I started with furniture and the look I thought I wanted . In my current home ,I started with my art and objects from the many countries I have visited .

    I have a friend that was so bummed after she hired a designer who failed to comprehend how important family photos were to her . My response to her was that most people do not need a designer to help them put together a well designed room that could be found in a magazine . She was shocked at my response because she love how my house is decorated . Upon further probing … she really liked the fact that I had unique objects and nice art. When probed further , She loved the fact that the art and objects had a story behind them and reminded me of all the cool places I had been . My response … your photos are just that … they have their own story . I then found her a designer that understood that her job was not to create a room with white walls and navy blue accents (a perfectly ok design that may people will love)but rather to create design that provides comfort, utility , and creates ways for the owner to connect the beauty of design in ways that showcase things she cherishes not by talking her client out of what is important to her . Designers should not play the role of a stager when they are hired to figure what will create a space for THIS client that she will love .

  • Nancy Andreano says:

    Thank you! I am currently trying to determine which dresser to purchase for the master bedroom. I’ve spent months – even hired a decorator- with little accomplished. I am concerned about the wood tone described as “slate” which I want to coordinate with a tv cabinet from Ballard design that I ordered in a gray tone. It is also difficult to evaluate scale as the wall is lower! Using masking tape on the wall has helped! Just bought a sofa online – fabric samples were helpful but firmness of cushion is impossible to determine! Always benefit from your courses -looking forward to this! Nancy

  • Martha says:

    One of my earliest and most expensive on-line purchases was a nightmare. A ‘suite’ of a high-end brand of appliances was deeply discounted, and I was SO excited to finally have all SS appliances from the same reputable manufacturer. They looked beautiful, but I suspect they were all rebuilt because none of them was reliable. Never again!

    I don’t know how I’ve been so lucky with vintage rugs. I’ve bought two that were 8×10+ and a long runner. Each is absolutely beautiful! I did contact the (two) vendors first just to see what kind of vibe I got. Both were lovely to work with, both offered free returns, both sent additional photos. Still….could have been a disaster. I can’t imagine trying to rewrap and return rugs I couldn’t move by myself. I was so fortunate! All three make me so happy!

  • Lorie says:

    I bought some counter stools. The description said they were cognac colored leather. The picture looked like they would work but when they arrived, they were more orange than I expected. They were not real leather and the off gassing was so bad I had to put them outside 15 minutes after getting them unpacked. They sent me a label to return them but I had to pay the return shipping of $460. The shipping cost was more than half of the original price of the bar stools. I will never buy furniture again online without being able to see it. Learned my lesson!

  • Karen Streed says:

    I am going to love reading your on-line shopping do’s and don’ts as I do 99% of my shopping online. I have had mostly successful purchases from rugs, mailboxes, small furniture pieces, clothes and about 30 pairs of shoes. I have a very narrow shoe fit so online is my only option. My failures were a down coat that left a trail of feathers and a bedspread that was a totally wrong colour. I do read all the reviews, which have influenced my decision, and do measure carefully. My best success was ordering two leopard print floor runners that turned out to be better than the online pictures.

  • Peggy says:

    My biggest fails have been ordering online rugs. My living room colors have been bossed around by a 10 x 13 rug I ordered about 12 years ago. It’s a perfectly nice rug, but just not the colors that I thought it would be. And, you’d think I learned my lesson, but over the past few years, I’ve bought a number of smaller rugs online, and many of those didn’t work out either. Thankfully, one site allowed me to order a sample, so that worked out better, but still not perfect because when the rug came, it was much darker looking than the sample. I’ve had only one win in the online rug category. And that time, I ordered the small 2X3 version and once I saw it was perfect, only then did I order the larger size I needed for my entryway.

  • Sharon says:

    OMGosh, I am a real estate agent who sometimes does a bit of design work for clients. During Covid lockdown, a client and I literally remodeled her entire home shopping online! The delays were a definite problem with shipping taking much longer. We used coral, blue and celadon green as the scheme to update her “Granny” look. The coral was the most difficult to order online as it has so many variations. Surprisingly, we really did not have any returns! One console table was a little different green shade than what appeared in photos but it still worked. We ordered the following: rugs, lamps, fabric, occasional tables, chairs, porcelain objects and console tables. Oh, and bed linens too. It was fun to do and gave us a creative outlet during the lockdown. The project was so successful that I sold her home to clients of mine and she is now moving to a wonderful new home!

  • Brenda says:

    There’s no way I would buy a sofa online. We bought a new sofa, love seat and recliner a year ago. We’re in our late 60’s and decided comfort and FIT counted for everything. We searched umpteen dozen furniture stores in Metro Vancouver and found maybe 2 that fit us. We wanted lower back support and something that fit our legs. We finally found it at Scan Design and the Stressless line of leather couches and they are amazing. They purposely give you lumbar support which is exactly what we wanted. We are the happy owners of an aqua green couch & love seat and linen coloured recliner. Then, we wanted a new area rug to pull everything together on our refinished old 60’s hardwood floors. We looked in stores but just didn’t see what we wanted. Then I started online and we took a leap on a colourful jute/cotton one at Crate & Barrel with big muted colours in large squares. It arrived and was perfect…my husband suggested it and it works. C&B also allow you to upload a photo of your space and they show it with the carpet…that was very helpful. As for clothes online…I shopped Olsen last spring, bought 5 things and they were all perfect, BUT, I’m a regular shopper of theirs and know my size. Anything else, forget it as I can’t trust things to fit although did do Land’s End a few years ago and was fairly successful for sun protection tops for me & hubby. As for shoes…no way online for my long narrow feet. We have, however, purchased a fair bit of other household stuff off Amazon mainly and it had worked for us but we researched everything fully to make sure it was the right one for us. I recently ordered a rechargeable Karcher vacuum online for both hardwoods and carpet, and it’s perfect. Same for greenhouse/seed starting lights…made sure to get the best of the lot and they’re great.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m helping a friend now that purchased a grey couch online that looks purple in her home. She can’t return it so, we are in the process of changing all her colors so that it looks like it belongs. She will probably own this couch for many years because she feels she invested too much in it. Hopefully once we get the rest of the colors right, she wont hate it anymore!

  • Ryan says:

    Guilty of the too big sofa! I was in such a hurry to get a new sofa for the family room that I bought the first navy blue sectional I found. I bought it from a showroom at Macy’s and thought it was perfect, minus the RV-like throw pillows. Once it was delivered, I realized how much larger and scratchier it was than the current one. The family dislikes the fabric and super deep seating- I dislike that there’s room for only a small chair and coffee table.
    Now my husband wants to get rid of it, yet hold on to the PINK BEIGE NIGHTMARE/sofa in the living room! I regret trying to “make it work.” Why did I do that?

    • Ryan says:

      Sorry – to clarify I actually saw it online and then in person, and STILL made the mistake of buying it!

  • Beth Cugal says:

    Recently I bought two green velvet chairs for my living room. When I opened up the boxes I was in love immediately! Comfortable! Beautiful color! Great style! So we put the legs on and threw away the boxes. As soon as I put the chairs in place though, I realized that the scale was all wrong. Even though I had measured my room before ordering and knew that they would fit, and that the dimensions overall would work in theory, because of their shape and style, they dwarfed the couch! I was devastated and moped around the house for a few days until I decided that one way or another they would have to go. I would either pay a bunch of money to have them boxed up again and returned, or I would sell them online and not get as much money as I paid for them. By this time though, my husband and daughter had grown attached to the chairs and didn’t like the idea of getting rid of them, so they convinced me to swap the positions of the couch and chairs. Since the chairs are a larger scale than the couch, it made sense for them to be up against the wall and for my couch to float in the middle of the room. Even though I thought that was weird, it did look a lot better, and now I do think everything looks pretty.

  • Janine Leitch says:

    Hi! I would never buy any furniture or rugs online as I need to see and feel the item for quality, comfort and colour like for sofas, chairs, tables, beds, etc. I think it is because I am not a risk taker in terms of buying big ticket items or furniture for my home. I wish I was, as there is so much more choice and variety than what is available in a showroom. Also the States has so many more home and furniture stores than here in Vancouver, Canada. So I have never had an online purchase or colour mistake in regards to furniture or rugs.
    I do order clothes online and have returned some as they are easy to return or take back to a store, ie., Amazon (returns are so easy) , Aritizia, etc.

  • Arlene says:

    I look on line a lot for ideas in home decor but always buy it local. I have found a store online that jeans and top fit perfect – I am petite so happy with that as this size is not available where I live. Once I bought a couch set. Put sheets on it and went to the lake. Came home and did not like it. Phoned the store an hour away. Yes they would take it back. Picked out another and they never charged me for bringing out the new couch and taking the other back. Clerk said they had never done this before. Not online but an experience. During Covid last year Local store never answered my call that I personally told them what I wanted so I ordered online. Happy with it. I am now in the market for new duvet cover set. Check inline but will purchase local. I have always been committed to local shopping and that won’t change.

  • Squeak says:

    I have been incredibly lucky with online purchases. I’ve bought several items from Wayfair, ranging from relatively minor purchases to several major ones – a blue and white porcelain vase, 2 different blue and white porcelain garden stools, 2 wicker chairs, an outdoor birdbath/fountain and a bed. The bed is due to arrive next week. All of the other purchases have been awesome- the right colour, the right size, good quality … and free shipping. I buy most of my clothes from Eileen Fisher and have had only 2 items that I had to return. I buy artworks from Artfully Walls and everything has been perfect. And I buy jewelry from Aureum – stunning! So my online experience has mostly been a good one. My only bad experience has been with Restoration Hardware and it was very bad.

  • Margaret says:

    My most recent mistake was ordering blue recliners that I liked. The problem was that I was decorating my daughter-in-law’s home, and I didn’t run it by her. She was very sweet, but clearly, they didn’t work. I was so fortunate that West Elm (part of Pottery Barn) took them back, even sending a truck to pick them up. The shipping cost me about $200. I now get her okay on everything before I purchase!

  • Diane K. says:

    Hi Maria! Boy, this is HUGE issue for me with home decor. I have had pretty much luck with clothing when I order it online but when it comes to decor, I once ordered a medium sized area rug 4 x 6 Which was the correct size, but I did not like the design or color once it was in my home. So I had to roll this heavy thing back up, loaded in my car, and take it to a local UPS store to ship it back. Talk about a pain in the butt! And now I am looking for a very comfortable sitting chair for a very small room just to watch my large screen TV with and I’m scared I’m going to find something that is uncomfortable, let alone have to return it!!

  • Diane K. says:

    Hi Maria! Boy, this is HUGE issue for me with home decor. I have had pretty much luck with clothing when I order it online but when it comes to decor, I once ordered a medium sized area rug 4 x 6 Which was the correct size, but I did not like the design or color once it was in my home. What a pain to return! Now I am in the market for a comfortable chair to watch television in a small tv room – And I’m so afraid of making a mistake!

  • Paula says:

    My biggest online fail was ordering barstools from Wayfair. The shipping to me was free, but when I took the large box to the UPS store, it cost $99 to return! Never order anything that doesn’t have free returns! I look forward to some tips for ordering clothes online. I am searching for a replacement for jeans after a year of working at home in sweatpants. It’s hard to go back to jeans, but I really need something other than sweats!

  • Sandy says:

    I found a T-shirt online and wanted to pick it up at a local store, so called them. I had the item number but to verify it was the right shirt I said, “It’s the navy and white one.” The store consultant hesitated. “No…,” she said, ” It’s ivory and ink.” (quiet chortle from me, but I was thinking “ivory, that’s even better”) “I’ll pick it up tomorrow,” I told her. Flash forward. I just got the shirt. It’s navy and white.
    I guess that sometimes they just want to romanticize the color names.
    At least it wasn’t something like sea-breeze and pebble.

  • Jennifer Johnson says:

    I am so stressed out by the thought of buying a new sofa online that will turn out to be uncomfortable, that I just keep telling myself that I will be fine with the one I have, which is espresso leather and 12 years old!!

    All the local shops here have super UGLY furniture so I can’t buy that, either! I have NO big chain furniture stores nearby.

    I am fine buying something wood, like a bed frame, online. I figure if the color is wrong I can always paint it. But anything upholstered is a definite NO!

    I, too, have started only buying online from Target, Costco, or places that I can return in-store. (Or Amazon if it is small enough to easily mail back).


  • Lori A. Thompson says:

    Actually, stay tuned! My home is getting an interior painting as we speak! I’ve spent HOURS and hours online looking at Agreeable Gray vs. Mindful Gray, vs. Renew Gray, vs. Etc, etc! Finally landed on Worldly Gray, since it leans warmer but has green undertones, rather than violet. The problem is my permanent fixtures are both gray and earth tones of brown ro orangy-rust. Not my choice! That’s what was here…So here’s hoping Worldly Gray won’t clash with my Honey Maple cabinets…

  • Amanda says:

    Rugs. Just awful images and descriptions. I am in the stage of life that I prefer to spend more on my hard surfaces and less on my rug choices as we have young kids, dogs, cats…all the leaking things. The less expensive options, which can be great, tend to use “influencers” for their marketing. They all use those dang filters and nothing looks true to color. Saying this, I realized screens and monitors have a huge color drift, but these filters either make everything look peach/beige or completely washed out. They need to do a better job of taking clear product shots using actual photographers. Sorry for the rant, but the filters used on anything interior design related drive me absolutely insane.

  • PursuitofPerfect says:

    On line shopping for furniture and housewares is indeed an adventure. I once ordered a rug from Wayfair which, when it arrived, was so thin and fake it looked as if it had been created on an 8′ x 10′ paper printer. The return didn’t cost anything but it was a pain to re-wrap and take to the UPS drop off center.

    Going forward, I’ve learned to really pay attention to the measurements provided for any item and I read all the reviews, paying particular attention to the negative ones.

  • Anita says:

    Yup, staring right now at a HUGE chair. Perfect color, perfect shape, but it’s way too large. I even measured before I bought it — but I’m not a professional designer and did not understand how huge this chair was.

  • Lorri says:

    The only time I ordered an area rug online, it looked exactly like the photos.

    However, I’ve noticed that many rugs can look different in different photos. Or if all the photos look the same, the reviews say that it’s more muted or more vibrant, or the color skews differently. Sometimes the reviewers don’t even agree with each other!

    Not color-related, but the funniest online order I ever did was to order kitchen tongs from a restaurant supply site. I thought I was ordering TWO TONGS, but I was ordering two boxes of 12. I ended up with 24 TONGS. 😂

    • Caroline O'Hara says:

      I have had mixed success purchasing home items online, but I do enjoy it and think it’s a terrific resource, especially as I live in a small town. I have gotten several rugs on sites like Wayfair and Overstock, and I’m usually pleased with them, especially the wool rugs. I like a fairly colorful and pattern-filled home, and I think that that preference makes matching or not less of a problem. I do read many, many reviews and look at all of the photos buyers provide. I currently have one synthetic 6×9 rug to get rid of, as it turned out to be too big and dark. But it only cost about $65, and I anticipate I’ll get most of that money back by selling it, or I may give it to my daughter.

      I also bought about 20 light fixtures online last year, and while I felt quite successful in finding more current styles for low prices (I often buy open-box items at a discount), I managed to get the size/scale/light output wrong with two of them. Scale is hard! I’d be very scared to order a sofa!

      I’ve also ordered lots of curtains, and while the lengths aren’t all perfect, overall I’m pleased. I think that there are terrific online sources for curtains and drapery that fall between the low-price options in local stores and big-box stores and the high-end custom draperies that I could never afford.

    • Jennifer Johnson says:


      I actually love using tongs… have about 8! But 24!

  • Keira says:

    Great topic! I’ve ordered rugs, throw pillows and a bed online. No problems with any thanks to measuring and re-measuring, reading a bazillion reviews, image-googling to check consistency, etc. I only order wool rugs and only order the actual size I need. What bugs me is some products appear on multiple websites though it’s not always straightforward to do apples to apples comparisons.

    If you have items you aren’t going to return, may I suggest Craigslist, FB Marketplace and local Buy Nothing groups on FB? I get rid of so much stuff, large and small on Buy Nothing (and get some good stuff myself).

    Questions: When you’re starting your search, how do you reduce the number of options and choose which item/vendor to go with? There are so many options and vendors…

  • Sheree L says:

    As others have noted, rugs can be particularly challenging to order online, so early on I decided to only order rugs that I could return for free (or to a box store). Pretty much the same criteria for any home decor or clothing that I buy online! I’ve purchased about 8 different types of bed coverings before landing the right one. I almost exclusively purchase online or used pieces through FB marketplace and Craigslist (where I can see the piece before buying it). I rely on reviews, so I always try to leave a review (with photos) after I’ve purchased something. I’m getting ready to reupholster an accent chair for my living room that I purchased on FB marketplace and am looking at fabric online. You’d better believe I will be ordering samples beforehand! I do like the suggestion for ordering a small sized rug before ordering the larger size that you actually need. I will do that in the future!

  • Lindy Lawrence says:

    Ordered a leather recliner from Costco in Ontario. Took a month to arrive, but the legs were missing !!! Could have returned it, but a huge hassle for me due to it’s weight, and would have to borrow someone’s truck to get it to their warehouse. They would also pick it up, but my experience with the delivery truck driver left a bad taste in my mouth. He came with no equipment suitable to move something of this weight, and due to Covid restrictions, I had to drag it up the stairs to get it inside. This was a huge effort! I am now waiting for the legs, which won’t arrive for another month. Sooooo frustrating. Already tired of looking at this chair, and praying that it’s comfortable. Also, Wayfair has a bad habit of letting you order, then emailing you a few days later to tell you the item is not available. I ordered a Daybed from them, and it came in 2 shipments, 3 weeks apart!!! I am so done with all this online shopping!!

  • Lisa says:

    I have a cautionary tale about breakage. I ordered a chandelier from France and Son. At about the same time I scheduled an electrician. As these things go, it was about a 6 week wait for the electrician, we’ll outside the rather short window for reporting damage. The chandelier is metal with some alabaster panels to shade the bulbs a bit. The box was in perfect shape, and I didn’t unbox each piece to check for damage. One of the alabaster panels was cracked and they were absolutely unwilling to bend. It was a clean break and the repair with crazy glue is all but undetectable. When policies for reporting breakage are an issue, pay attention!

  • Linda Trammel says:

    I do not like to order big items online because of the possibility of having to return it. However I went against my intuition and ordered a coffee table. I loved the top which was round and made of solid wood but the legs were little spindly things and only measured 16 inches high. After looking at it for two weeks I decided to mail it back. It just didn’t work. I managed to package it up and Fed-ex picked it up at my door. I lost $20.00 for shipping it back but to me it was worth it. The other day I just happen to be shopping at a department store and found a table that I really like and it’s all assembled! This was a long time in coming as I had been looking on line for ages. No more big items for me. I’ll just try to find something I can see in person.

  • Sonja says:

    I’m on my third bathroom renovation with most items purchased online including vanities, tubs, lighting, faucets and accent tile. I’ve also successfully purchased rugs, custom blinds, kitchen hardware as well as second hand items from Marketplace including a blue velvet couch that I love. Here’s what I learned.
    Anything green does not translate well in photos. Beware of that colour or any possible shade of green including blues and beiges. Green tends to look beige in photos.
    Read the reviews! Look at the photos that people have posted of their projects. Learn to recognize paid reviews.
    I purchased a vanity from Home Depot. It was made from solid wood, not fibreboard. Good thing since it had to be turned every which way to get it up the stairs including on its end. I loved it for the years that we lived there. The freestanding tub from Costco was also great. Make sure you pay extra to get the heavy items in the house or they’ll drop it at the curb. A vanity weighing several hundred pounds is worth the extra $30 to get it in the door.
    Wayfair is a fabulous site. I desperately wanted a gold faucet to be a different shade so I ordered it. Two seconds after I opened the box, I had to acknowledge that my first instinct was correct and it was completely wrong. I completed the return paperwork online, printed off the UPS label and dropped it off at the UPS store. It was only $5 to return across the country. Easy and inexpensive. So impressed.
    Watch sites like Overstock. I’m in Canada and was charged duty and taxes on the hardware that I purchased for my kitchen. It was worth it because I loved it but be aware.
    Overall, I’m completely impressed with purchasing online.

  • Jody says:

    I have ordered and returned SO MANY sets of curtains! When you’re ordering anything neutral the undertone is never accurate in the photos. Colours seem to be easier to get right than neutrals so I’ve had much better luck with carpets and pillows. I like to take my laptop and stand in front of wherever the item I’m ordering goes and see how it would look “in the space”. This trick has saved me from many wrong purchases!

  • Hi, about online shopping I would like to give a positive experience (I did have some bad ones though). I purchased online a pair of lamps, I did get exactly what I was expecting with the added benefit of an usb charger inbuilt into them, which I wasn’t expecting, I probably didn’t read the whole description. I used it every day to charge my phone. What a clever idea!

  • Cynda says:

    After several disasters, I try to buy on line with businesses that are near me for convenience of return.


    I recently ordered a rug for our farmhouse. I had it stored in my garage for 3 weeks before we were able to transport it. (it was 8×10) so it wouldn’t fit in my car. When we finally got it unrolled at the farm…I hated it. The website description stated
    “Colors: Black, Black/Dark Brown/Cream/Medium Gray” I took this to mean the main colors were the ones listed first….black, dark browns, creams…which is what I was looking for. If it had some medium gray included…that would be fine. Once the rug was unrolled…it was every different shade of GRAY that you can think of. No black, no dark brown, no cream. UGH Now, the process of returning this rug begins. I hate this part. Your blog post about choosing items online can not come quick enough!

  • Barbara S. says:

    I ordered a Hinkley light fixture for our powder bathroom. When it came, one of the three glass shades was broken . I called the store and was told they would order a new glass shade, and it would come in a few days. I made the mistake of having the light fixture installed. Five months later, I still had not received it. It was continually on back order. If I had ordered a new light fixture and returned the broken one, it would have arrived in 3 weeks. The store told me it takes longer to get parts. Of course, they didn’t tell me that upfront.

    • Nitza says:

      Just thinking that maybe you can buy a new light fixture. Then keep the glass shades you need. Return the set with the broken shades. Let them deal with having to wait for the parts.

  • Pam Ferentchak says:

    RUGS! I had sworn off ordering on line because color was never right…even after reading reviews and trying to enlarge picture. I recently ordered a smaller kitchen sink rug and it actually was as depicted and the colors are correct for my kitchen. The weight and comfort are also hit or miss to judge. I’d prefer to see in person.

  • Liz says:

    Decor-wise I’ve only ever ordered lighting fixtures online and issue was usually with colour (looks white or off-white, described as white; showed up w a taupe undertone).

    On Marketplace a couple of wk’s ago, they did a segment on ‘where do all the Amazon returns go’. It was disconcerting to say the least 😔 Warehouses full of returns that end up being shredded by industrial shredders (can u imagine a brand new juicer getting shredded? it happens) – so they can be garbaged or recycled more easily.

    Our ‘try this’ by mail-with-easy-returns culture is an environmental travesty so u helping us to get things right will be very welcome, Maria! 💕

  • Ann says:

    Oh boy… You are so right about returning online purchases. My examples: 1. After searching for nightstands with specific dimensions and drawers, I found what I thought was the perfect pair. They have a taupe stain that tilts green. The problem? My walnut investment ($) dresser and linen headboard lean warm. I’m considering my options: paint the nightstands, move them to another bedroom and start over…. 2. Not an online purchase, but still relevant. Years ago before online shopping, I found and ordered what I thought was the perfect dining room table and chairs from an upscale manufacturer’s catalog. This was a budget-stretcher, and so imagine my surprise when they were delivered and I saw the heavily grained oak had a strong orange tilt. Oh, and the chairs were uncomfortable. We lived with it for 20 years before donating it to the Salvation Army. Lessons learned: wood tone, stain, and grain are important to know. Your color work is so helpful here. Also, never buy seated furniture I haven’t been able to sit on.
    Honestly, it makes me very hesitant to buy anything online. I am afraid of making expensive mistakes.

  • Nitza says:

    Buyer beware.
    A few months back I purchased a small 2′ x 3′ rug with the intent of later buying the larger 9′ x 11′. I wanted it to be fully returnable, just in case. So I purchased it from Walmart online. The page clearly stated that this item could be returned to the store. It was a Savehiah rug. Super nice but the color wasn’t right. When I went to return it, they didn’t accept it and said I had to mail it out myself. The little rug cost me $25 but mailing it cost $17!!! So imagine if I had purchased a larger more heavier rug and had to return it. The expense of mailing it would have been outrageous. People please be cautious. If free returns are important to you double check before you press “checkout” button.

  • Heidi says:

    I’ve made plenty of on line decor mistakes that were a major pain to send back. You are right that once you find what you think is perfect after years of searching, it’s easy to overlook something essential that you would never even think to check.
    A bathroom vanity painted the latest dove gray (of course) that ended up not being made of wood. Who would even think that it wouldn’t be made of wood. Cheap piece of crap.
    Painted nightstands I waited 2 years to justify ordering because of the expense. To this day, they smell so horrible of whatever varnish they coated them with, I swear I must be getting brain damage sleeping next to them. I kept them because they are so beautiful, and I thought the smell would fade.
    Stinky, smelly, antique rugs that had to go back because the color was not as pictured, and I didn’t want to stink up my new house. They were SO HEAVY to roll up and send back. After the second one, my husband said “no more rugs!”
    Gorgeous, second hand Kittinger sofa from a consignment store! Down filled cushions in perfect condition! A steal at $600, I could not believe my luck!
    No one ever tells you that when goose down feathers get old, they stink really bad. I could look into having them re stuffed, I suppose, but I have developed learned helplessness syndrome in the stinky home furnishings department. A theme with me, apparently.
    The beautiful new rug I bought at Home Goods in the usual grey trend. I bought it because of the grey day bed with a trundle. Nothing looked good with it, absolutely nothing. I searched for two years for art and pillows, returning countless ones. I practically memorized your blog post about how to make your grey sofa look good. Why, why, why, didn’t any thing work? Turns out, I had a clean and dirty problem, which I could not see. I was so focused on putting color with gray, color with gray! The walls were white, and the background of the grey, aqua, navy rug is cream, not white. Art and pillows in ONLY the colors in the rug was the only thing that made it not look like a mistake. Walls will be painted later, but I’m worn out.
    That’s all I can think of right now. I’m sure there are more.

  • KNJ says:

    Can’t wait to hear all the troubles people have had since the screen is only 2D and items are 3D. My almost biggest mistake had to to with a wallpaper. I searched for days and finally found one which appeared to have the correct colors, motif, scale, etc. I was thrilled and ordered a sample…I’m not one to order samples first since I’m uber convinced I found the right item but thought since I had time, order a sample. When it arrived, the sample size was great, so were all the things I mentioned above BUT the darn wallpaper had considerable shimmer which was not visible on-line. When viewed flat, it truly resembled on the on-line photos. Wasn’t until I tacked to the wall, walked back and forth and noticed it. Back to square one since shimmer wouldn’t have worked in this application. Wondering how shimmer should be photographed for on-line purposes?

  • Deborah says:

    I buy all my clothes & shoes on line. I am tall so I buy from JJill and Chico’s my size is usually consistent and I depend on reviews. When it comes to shoes I walk a lot so I always purchase from the Walking Company. Again always the same size.
    I also am the area rug buyer for my store where we have a rack of 40 area rugs on display. Most companies of area rugs don’t ship to Hawaii residences so we do sell a lot of rugs. All of my purchases are online. To be fair I do have samples of the 2 manufacturers I purchase from. I also have been purchasing for several years so I know what to expect. Sometimes quality does change and I let the manufacturer know that. When purchasing area rugs it’s important to go with a company that gives you several views of the rug. Height, fiber etc.
    In Hawaii tropical rugs are very popular so one of the vendors I purchase from has 3 series that cater to that.
    I work at a flooring store and our sales are 70% vinyl planking, which is hard on bare feet and people in Hawaii go bare foot in the house so I also purchase area rugs that are soft.

  • Jeanine says:

    I would caution about the amount of assembly required on some purchases. I have ordered from Ballards Designs and my side tables came in completely assembled although the packing was an incredible amount and disposing of that is another issue. I recently ordered outdoor lounge chairs from Wayfair for the pool. They are Trex brand that must be completely assembled. The instructions were good but it was a little difficult and took two people. I love the loungers, very strong and weather resistant. But I don’t always check about the assembly before ordering and I should.

  • Lisa D says:

    I’ve read through and agree with many of the comments about buying on line horrors but I haven’t seen my biggest peeve mentioned – the horrible filters that many sites use that rarely “filter” a search to anything meaningful. Many sites have just the basic colors and minimal other options for filters that results in hundreds and hundreds of little pictures to scan through, page by page! Many items are misclassified for filtering as well (Amazon is notorious for this). You ask for blue rugs and you get black and white rugs interspersed for instance. The best site I’ve used lately is Spoonflower for fabric – very specific colors for searching but still hundred and hundreds of pictures to scan because of the quantity of patterns they offer.

    I hate spending hours and hours at my computer doing a futile search!! I often just give up! I am excited to have Maria address this in a course!!!

  • Kristin Weigand says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with online rugs. A surefire way to annoy my husband is to say, honey, I bought another rug and it’s going to be delivered so heads up. When we bought our house, we had the opportunity to paint the walls in our open space SW Comfort Gray and replace the outdated tile with lovely medium brown hardwood floors (just like Maria suggests) but we had to make do with our existing furniture and artwork. In the living room, we have a charcoal gray l-shaped sofa and a bossy charcoal, red, pink and white five-panel art piece of a cherry blossom branch. I originally tried to coordinate with the red in the painting in the rug and throw pillows on the couch but it was overwhelming and not at all peaceful. I would purchase a rug, put in in place, realize I didn’t like it and then have to repackage and sent it back, again and again. I actually contemplated getting rid of the artwork, even though we love it, because I was so frustrated with it all. Then I re-read Maria’s blog post about the pink in her living room and how she used it to pull everything together and I was inspired. I just purchased a blush pink, beige and offwhite oriental style rug and some blush pink throw pillows and it has totally transformed the room. I still have splashes of red in the room but they are not overwhelming and it all seems to work together.

  • Candice Hill says:

    I bought a sofa, online, at Target. It was kind of a pretty filler for my bedroom. Thank goodness, it wasn’t for comfort, cause it is hard as a rock. After I had ordered it, and it was on it’s way, I was in Target, I decided to ask, that if my purchase wasn’t the right color, etc. Where should I bring it, to the front or back of the store. Oh no, they said you can’t return that item to the store. I swear it said I could return it, to the store! It must have been a general statement in the beginning. Watch for that. I kept it.

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