When shopping for home furnishings, one of the best ways to save money and energy is the catalogue discounter. You can relax, browse through hundreds of catalogues, and come up with a price that is consistently 30% to 40% lower than retail.
The best procedure is to shop furniture stores or home furnishings magazines, note the manufacturer's name and the model number of the pieces you want, then visit a catalogue showroom. Many of these operations will even quote on the telephone and save you running all over town using up gas and contributing to the traffic snarls.
One of the better catalogue showrooms is Innerhouse, which will quote prices over the phone. Generally its figures will be lower than the major furniture stores at sale time. Recently, I was checking a Lane cedar chest that retails for $599.95. A major furniture discount store had it on sale for $449, but the price at Innerhouse was $390. So you don't have to wait for furniture sales if you shop the catalogue showrooms and you still get a better price most of the time.
The key to the cataloguers' very low markup is that their overhead is cut way down by the fact that they don't maintain costly warehouses. This also allows the cataloguer to represent a great many furniture companies.
Some of the manufacturers on the Innerhouse roster are Hooker (a pine entertainment center that lists at $1,274 is $897), American Craftsman (a five-piece cherry dining set that lists for $2,340 is $1,432), Lea, Nordwyn's, Universal, Riverside, Heartwood, Corsican, Dino Marc Anthony, Hippopotamus, Chair Factory, Kessler and Stiffel. A porcelain and brass table lamp by Stiffel with a three-way switch is $309 instead of $475.
The Innerhouse represents manufacturers of categories other than furniture: carpeting, window coverings, wall coverings, and accessories all at the same 30% to 40% below retail.
Delivery time ranges from three to four weeks depending on the location of the manufacturer. You'll save if you pick up the smaller items; an independent delivery service is available through Innerhouse and charges 6% of your purchase for delivery.
Innerhouse is at 382 N. Allen St. in Pasadena (818) 795-1143, and at 2041 Pacific Coast Highway in Torrance (213) 539-4002.
Floor samples are sometimes outrageous deals. Negotiate on them. It'll pay off.
It's cashmere sweater time, and for those who have scratched this high-ticket item off gift lists as being too costly, head for the annual William Kasper Cashmere Sale to be held Dec. 2, 3 and 4 at the Holiday Inn Westwood Plaza Hotel, 10740 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.
Prices will be dazzling, starting at $89 for a two-ply woman's sweater that wholesales for $139. This may be the last chance to get quality cashmere that's affordable.