Comparable Shopping for a Household of Furniture

Comparable Shopping for a Household of Furniture

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Regina Yunghans
Jun 24, 2010

We're looking forward to moving into a new home in the near future and we've started research with regard to furnishing it. We definitely won't approach it in quite a one-stop-shop way as this, but we found this comparison helpful in determining the relative costs of two major home retailers:

We've always heard nightmare stories about IKEA's shipping costs. Because our home won't be in the vicinity of an IKEA, that is definitely an expense that would come into play in our scenario. On the other hand, we have experienced the reasonable cost of Room and Board's home delivery and wondered how it would translate to a household of furniture. Here's what we found:

We "furnished" the home in both scenarios with comparable models of the following, to cover a few basic pieces in major rooms of the home:

queen bed and mattress
twin bed and mattress
large dresser
small dresser
sofa
2 armchairs
coffee table
dining table
4 dining chairs

IKEA Price
$3,791 merchandise
$599 shipping
$4,390 total

Room and Board Price
$9,655 merchandise
$229 shipping
$9,884 total

Relative shipping costs:
IKEA: 16% of merchandise
Room and Board: 2% of merchandise

It seems the shipping costs would only become more favorable with Room and Board as you buy more and more, given the company's "unlimited flat rate delivery" policy. Yet, while the shipping in our scenario is approximately 2.5 times more expensive at IKEA, the merchandise is likewise about 2.5 times more expensive at Room and Board.

In the end, we think the choice between both scenarios comes down to a few factors: budget, expectations for the furniture's longevity/quality, and how many furnishings you are purchasing at once.

What do you think about these findings? Is there anything surprising to you here? Does anyone have firsthand experience with actually furnishing an entire house from one retailer, and did you see a benefit when it came to delivery costs?

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