Isn’t it a relief that so many shops now opt to start their sales later in January which gives everyone a breather after the rush of Christmas shopping?
It also allows time to give careful consideration to pricier items like furniture which you’ve been planning to splurge on and, possibly, are in real need of after the mega wear and tear on our interiors from us all staying at home more.
Making a list of what you’re looking for in the sales is essential even if it’s for upcoming birthdays and special occasions, according to Rachel Morgans, buying director of Home & Living at Brown Thomas and Arnotts.
“Plan on how you will get your items home; cushions and duvets can be bulky,” she says. “Make sure to take measurements to ensure any furniture you’re looking to buy is going to work with the space you have. If you’re buying bed linen make sure to know the correct sizing.
“I’d recommend customers make a list of items they’ve had their eye on before the sales. If you have a key item that is top of your list make that your priority to shop for first. I’d recommend taking pictures of your rooms so when you’re in the store and spot a vase or cushion you like you can easily check to see if it will suit the rest of your room’s interior.”
Rachel also advises following social media and download store apps to be among the first to hear about sales and special offers.
But we’re all subject to the enticement of online shopping which you can plot and plan with laptop firmly planted on knees, the fire lighting and a nice hot beverage to hand, skipping the challenge of socially distanced shopping and the dreaded mask fogging up your glasses.
Tish O’Connor Nash, founder of Irish home interiors e-commerce site Stagers Lifestyle, has her tips for getting the most out of this shopping option.
“Sorry to take the fun out of it but organisation is key,” she quips. “Once you have compiled your list, start searching for online Irish retailers. Many can be found throughout directories in various Irish interior magazines. They generally list mentioned companies from the issue in the back of their magazine.
“Generally Irish websites are helpful when it comes to returns,” Tish adds. “If you have time, cross-reference similar products, then make note of these companies. Some retail businesses carry stock and others ask you to pre-order so that will often determine a sale price.”
But how do we mitigate the scourge of ordering online and taking delivery of an item which doesn’t live up to the photo?
“This horror story ruins it for genuine online businesses,” says Tish. “The first thing I do is look at the ‘About’ section, note where the company is based and look out for any reviews that may mention the product did not live up to its image. If you are unsure about a product because the image isn’t clear enough, get in touch with the company directly. Small online retailers like myself are happy to answer any queries.”
Tish also warns of websites that are constantly in sale mode.
“It’s not feasible for a business,” she says. “That cost is being absorbed somewhere and it’s usually the end user who unknowingly pays the price, so I often look out for websites that offer a good deal like free delivery at certain times or maybe send you a catalogue with a discount code.
“Another thing I look out for is a dedicated sale area. This is a great indicator that a company needs to make room for new stock so you can be sure you are getting a genuine bargain. If there is a particular company or brand that you like make sure to subscribe to their newsletter. Subscribers are often the first to know when a good bargain is to be had.
“If an offer on a home item sounds too good to be true,” she adds, “then it most likely is so always read the product description, double-check the price and delivery charge and watch out for lead times. It’s so important to check and double-check the dimensions – I learned that the hard way.”