If you have an unfinished furniture store in your local area, or within a reasonable driving distance, I’d highly recommend using them, rather than shopping online. I say this because a trip through your local unpainted furniture store is as much a tactile experience as it is a browsing experience, and you lose that element if you make use of an online unfinished furniture store.
Having said that, I’m all too aware that not every area is blessed with a brick and mortar shop (the area I’m currently living in does not have a single one, but when my wife and I lived in the Atlanta suburbs, we had access to three unpainted furniture stores!), and if you find yourself in similar circumstances, then an online store can serve you well.
When shopping for a reputable unfinished furniture store online, the three most important variables are:
Price – Unfinished pieces typically run up to 50% less than comparable finished pieces, so do a bit of price comparing to make sure the store you’re considering has prices falling in that vicinity.
Shipping Cost – Admittedly, wood furniture isn’t the best thing to buy online because it’s heavy and bulky, so make sure your online shop has a variety of shipping options, and whenever possible, take the lowest cost option. It might take a few extra days to get your chosen piece from the online store, but cost advantage is one of the big reasons for choosing unfinished furniture over finished, and you don’t want to spend more than you have to!
Selection – Once you buy your first piece of bare wood furniture, whether from a brick and mortar shop or online, you’re probably going to fall head over heels in love with it and want more, and rather than having to test drive more than one online unfinished furniture store, better, from a standpoint of sheer convenience, to have one place you can go for all your needs, so if the online vendor you’ve stumbled across has a meager selection, you may want to continue your search.
Something else to keep in mind when shopping around for an unfinished furniture store is that they are excellent sources of advice, so if you need help with the particulars of your unpainted furniture project, or advice on staining wood furniture, a reliable resource in an unfinished furniture store is handy to have!
A final, though relatively minor consideration is the company’s return policy. Like so many other businesses, and unfinished furniture store lives and dies by quality and reputation, and wouldn’t remain long in business if they shipped out shoddy goods, but now and again, you might find yourself with a piece damaged during shipping. Just make sure your chosen online shop has a return/exchange policy and you’ll be fine. I doubt (and hope!) you’ll never have to use it, but always better to have the option and not need it than simply not to have it!