It's a fairly common syndrome.

May 7, 2019

For the first three weeks after a new piece of furniture is delivered, people often tend to absolutely hate it. It’s a fairly common syndrome. 

We don’t experience buyer’s remorse from other big purchases like cars, televisions or houses. Just furniture, and after we get used to our acquisitions, we are at peace with them. Sometimes it takes a friend to convince us that the furniture in question is not too big or too small or too-something-else for the room. A velvet sofa you initially hated because it was “too blue” becomes such a favourite that, some years later, you move it into your bedroom.

You have no idea other people also suffer from the same ailment. You might have a hard time getting used to a new coffee table. It’s just there, looking at you every time you walk into the room. Then you find a reader forum on remodelling website Houzz, where panicked people post photos of furniture (“I bought a new sofa and side chair…I’ve stayed in my bedroom all day so I don’t have to face my awful decision”). Other readers chime in to soothe, (“I like your sofa…come out of hiding”). Read more, ‘Finding the Perfect Sofa for Your Living Room.’

In fact, the worse your old sofa looks, the more likely you are to hate a new one.

People are uncomfortable with change. The more of a change the new furniture is, the worse the reaction,” said Ms. Dietrich, whose experiences prompted her to post an article on Houzz, titled “Why It’s OK to Hate Your New Custom Sofa.”

Buyers are most likely to freak out, she said, if the new furniture is upholstered in a bold colour or pattern. Other triggers include furniture that’s a different size than the piece it replaces and fabric that creates clashing patterns in a room. Interestingly, colours especially susceptible to changes in daylight—such as taupe or brown—are difficult to get used to. Read more, ‘The Essential Guide to Living Rooms.’

If you have a freak-out, you are like 99% of people.

Most people would prefer to skip the freak-out and embark immediately on the love-affair phase of their relationship with a new sofa.

After all, there are plenty of lucky people who don’t panic. We don’t tend to panic. Designers say this is because we are better able to imagine how a new sofa will look in a space, or they prepared better. With patterned fabrics, some customers order a few metres so they can see what the repeat will look like before they make a decision. Read more, ‘This Sofa Trend will Surprise You.’

But factors other than appearance can trigger a panic. Research shows as much as 10% of furniture gets returned when there is nothing wrong with it. It’s an emotional process, buying furniture, and people don’t always react logically. 

What panic-prone home-furnishers don’t realize, is that the delivery process itself can play a key role in determining a purchaser’s reaction to new furniture.

After analyzing the outcome of 250,000 furniture deliveries in New York, Florida, California and Denver, researchers came to a startling conclusion: Any problem during delivery can make a buyer feel as if he or she made a mistake.

For instance, if the delivery team arrives late, dings up a wall while trying to manoeuvre a sofa through the front door, tracks in dirt on their shoes, or makes a comment along the lines of “What idiot sold you this?” you will be more likely to have a freak-out.

The entire delivery-time window, we tend to feel stressed. What if the delivery truck arrives an hour early! “Where should we put the sofa?” one furniture mover asked. You point weakly to an empty spot in the living room. “It’ll look great there,” they say.

What happens next is a blur—within seconds, it seems, three movers, donn blue surgical shoe covers and carefully manoeuvre the sofa through your narrow front hall and set it down in the living room. Before you know it, they are removing its protective, quilted cover.

“Do you want to try it out?” you think one of them asks. “You first,”  They sit on it. “Comfortable,” they say. “Looks great,” another mover says. “Sign here.”

Then they are gone. It is a good delivery. You sneak a peek. It looks…just the way you had envisioned it: a low-slung, linen-slip covered Belgian-style sofa.  An hour later, you are lying on the new sofa. You love it.  Read more, ’10 Easy Pieces The Perfect White Sofa.’

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