Online shopping is a convenient and practical way to purchase furniture, bedding, and other home accessories. With the proliferation of online furniture marketplaces, it’s now easier to browse hundreds of furnishings without leaving your home.

But with so many sites to choose from, how do you know which one offers the best value? The same advice you’d give a friend about buying furniture in person applies when purchasing online: trust your instincts! If something feels too good to be true, chances are it is.

With that in mind, here are ten tips for finding a trustworthy and reliable online furniture store.

1. Ask for photos before making a purchase

Whether you’re buying online or in person is a good idea. A photo will allow you to see how the furniture looks in a real-life setting and determine if it meets your needs and aesthetic. You may find the item looks different or has more wear than expected.

If a furniture store is willing to send you photos, it shows that they’re confident in their product. It might signify that they’re trying to hide something if they don't want to provide pictures.

2. Check the return policy and understand how it works

The last thing you want is to receive a piece of furniture and find it’s defective or not the right fit. A good furniture store will have a specific return policy. Ideally, you should be able to return the furniture for a full refund within a certain period.

Some stores may charge a restocking fee for returned furniture, which is understandable. A bad store will make you jump through hoops to return an item or make it challenging to return.

3. Know the estimated delivery date before you buy

If you’re rushing to get new furniture, remember that the delivery date may extend your wait. Before you complete your purchase, find out when the company expects to ship it or if they have ready to ship furniture. If you have a specific date in mind, like an upcoming guest arrival, let the store know ahead of time to ensure they can meet your deadline.

If you don’t receive your furniture on time, you can contact the store to ask about the order's status.

4. Shop at stores with a strong reputation

Reputable furniture stores have been around for years. They’ve earned their good reputation through excellent customer service and quality furniture. If you don’t know where to start, try searching for “online furniture stores” or “online retailers that sell furniture.”

To narrow your search, look for websites that have been around for at least a few years. You can also check customer reviews to see what other people think of the furniture.

5. Don’t pay for shipping unless you know the cost upfront

Many online furniture stores offer free shipping, which is fantastic. Other companies will charge a fee to ship your furniture. Before you choose a furniture store, find out how much they charge for shipping furniture.

If they don’t specify the shipping cost upfront. You also want to know when your furniture will be delivered. If the company just says “soon,” that’s vague and unhelpful.