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Online Shopping

Online Shopping | Style Stories

Darren PalmerDarren has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.


1.   Many people write off the idea of buying furniture or homewares online because it can be deemed too risky. What are your tips for making an informed purchase decision?

  1. The first key to buying online is to get clear on what your style is and make sure that you are purchasing a coherent look that all works together as a whole. Plan your project space-by-space on a document, placing in all the pieces you’re intending to use to make sure that they are going to work together.
  2. Next, check the scale and size of the items. Ensure they will fit in the rooms and work in terms of scale with the other objects within the space. Additionally, also check that the pieces can fit through openings, such as the garage, doorways, elevators, stairwells, hallways and any other impediment you might come up against.
  3. Check the cost of the items including freight and any other delivery or installation costs, such as unpacking and rubbish removal. These can be considerable if you aren’t aware that they are included in the total cost.
  4. Look into stock availability should you not be able to wait for re-stocking or manufacturing of the product.
  5. Make sure the colour you think you’re ordering is actually the colour you’re going to get. Occasionally, you can request fabric samples to ensure they’re a good aesthetic fit for your space.
  6. Be flexible with your choices should you come up against stock issues or discontinuation of stock. As long as the look is coherent and works to your brief then a replacement shouldn’t cause you too much drama.
  7. It’s always best to review every element of your design choices before you place your online orders. Finding out that your lamp is too small, or the table is too big once the room is put together is less than ideal.
  8. Comfort is something that you’re going to have to put some faith behind. It’s better if there’s a bricks and mortar store that you can sit on and interact with product if comfort is going to be a concern, but failing that, ask the sales staff, or the internet for recommendations on whether the comfort you desire is what the product is going to deliver.
  9. Buy from a reputable source. You can ask friends who have had positive experiences and read online reviews to be sure you are working with a business that is going to deliver.

2.   Are there any furniture/homewares items you would shy away from purchasing online?

Clients often have the most concern about buying sofas, dining chairs and mattresses online. All are common furniture items that get sat/laid on, which means they have to be considered comfortable by the user.

‘Comfort’ isn’t universal as some people prefer a firm cushion whilst others want something softer. Some will want support, others want to feel like they’re falling back into a cloud, so you need to satisfy yourself as to whether the item you’re buying is going to be comfortable to you.

3.   List your favourite online retailers?

  • Myer, the home of Darren Palmer homewares.
  • Globewest, which has a huge array of furniture with styles and moods galore.
  • Temple and Webster, which draws from suppliers across the country
  • Castlery, which has well-designed and well-priced furniture
  • The Block Shop is the best place to find the thing that you’ve seen on the show that you have to have in your own home.

Online Shopping | Style Stories

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