5 Tips for Buying Home Fixtures Online

Posted by Ben Thompson on 07.30.11


I recently joined the iPhone4 revolution.  Last night I added 8 home related apps to it.  One of them was houzz (http://www.houzz.com/).  A client told me about it yesterday.  So last night I found the inspiration for this post in the flashing images in the palm of my hand.  iPhone reminded me of the endless supply of cool home fixtures available online.

Here are 5 Tips to remember when buying home fixtures online:

If you want a specialty fixture, buy it online.  Examples: A really small sink for a powder room or unique lighting fixtures.

  1. Prices are great on specialty items (+).
  2. Selections are unbeatable (+). (What isn't on the internet?)
  3. Wait times are long & unpredictable (-) If a source is a small company it is easy to overwhelm their production capacity.  If it's hand made...it has to be made by hand.  If you're worried about wait times or need a light fixture to get an occupancy permit, then get a cheap, temporary fixture to make wait bearable.
  4. Hard to return items and accountability for customer service can be low (-).  Bigger online retailers are better - like Amazon or a brick & mortar store that has online ordering.


Items we have bought for our projects online:

Soaking Tubs

Tons of Light Fixtures - pendant, hand made glass, unique metal

Range hood vent

Safe Doors (think bank vault)

Staircase parts

Spiral staircases

Library ladder hardware

Pull down attic ladders



Door knobs





When to buy fixtures from a distributor or retailer:

  1. If it's moderately heavy then it probably should come from a traditional distribution center.
  2. If warranty is of critical importance to you, buy it face to face.
  3. If being assured of the highest quality, buy from a trusted brick & mortar store.
  4. If low quality at a great price will do, buy from a big box.
  5. If you need it now, buy it off the shelf and know that you'll be able to  get another if you need it.



Topics: On the Radio, buying fixtures online, buying guide, hardware, iphone4, small sinks, specialty lighting