No matter where you're headed to bring home some new furniture — a retail store, Craigslist or maybe even mom's basement — you'll need bring along some basics before bothering to load up your finds.
Photos and layout of your room
I don't know about you, but I'm always sure I know every inch of my room until I need a specific piece of information (at which point my mind explodes from frustration). Make sure to snap a few photos from different angles of your room and sketch out a quick layout while you're at it. You never know when having this info on hand will pay off. Don't pass up a surprise steal because you're not sure you have the space. Prepare!
You should you measure all walls of your room, especially the spaces where you're looking to add furniture and jot these numbers on your layout. It's hard to gauge scale when you're not at home so remember to also pack a measuring tape in your purse so you can compare your item's dimensions with your wall. Don't trust the store's description or a craigslist seller, make sure to do it yourself to get the most accurate read.
Just like your layout, you will not remember the exact color and pattern of the paint or fabrics in your space, even if you've seen them a thousand times. You have your photos (right?) but if you can, try to bring swatches of the real thing. Especially important when color matching? Look at the tone. Even similar shades of warm and cool colors may not work together like you want, so accurate swatches are important to get a piece that blends with your current stuff.
An open mind
Remember, just because you had your heart set on one thing when you left the house doesn't mean it's the perfect item for your space. Don't put blinders on in a store! You should always be on the lookout for things that will work, especially if you're headed somewhere like a flea market. You just never know and keeping your eyes and mind open may score you more than you even bargained for.