Browsing sofas online is fun, but actually buying one can be a bit stressful. Even after you measure twice and click once, you might worry that the color won’t look as cute in person, or that you’ve missed some all-important detail you’ll regret later. Relax — just ask yourself the right questions in advance, and you’ll find that furniture buying can be a rewarding experience. Reading hundreds of real-life reviews can be insightful, but knowing exactly what you do (and don’t) want from your furniture will give you a plan you can feel confident following.

After measuring your space and answering a few short questions, your shopping plan will be ready to go. You can even find inspiration by checking out some of our picks. When you’re ready to buy, you can try Splitit: a flexible payment solution that can help you budget for big-ticket buys and even help you upgrade to more premium items. Because Splitit works with your existing credit card, you don’t need to apply for an account to keep earning points and miles. Plus, they never charge additional interest or fees!

Just shop at one of their select vendors and choose to divide your purchase into smaller payments that get charged to your card over time. It’s not for buying beyond your budget, but it can makes big purchases more manageable and accessible.

What kind of lifestyle will it support?

When you’re shopping for a sofa, desk, bed, or really any sizable piece of furniture, it helps to know if you’ll need it for the next 10–15 years or if it’s going to the Goodwill when you move. If you’re investing in a long-term piece, look for fabrics that stand up to daily wear and tear from pets and children. And if you work from home, consider how a sturdy sit-stand desk may benefit your work style. Natural materials can also make the space more inviting and support your environmental goals.

Start with: The Ergonofis Sway Desk is made of solid birch, walnut, or maple, and it uses an integrated touch screen to easily adjust its height while you work.

Upgrade to: The Ergonofis Alive Desk is a step up from conventional sit-stand desks. Made from maple or walnut, it boasts a live edge for a touch of luxury. Plus, it’s UL and BIFMA certified for sustainability.

Do you want something customizable?

You don’t have to hire a carpenter to get custom furniture, it can all be done online today. Even if you don’t need something fully tailored to your space, many major retailers now offer custom fabrics, a large choice of finishes, and add-ons that go above and beyond. If customization is important, consider the spaces where it matters most. Maybe built-in shelving could properly house your book collection, or a customizable mattress could help you sleep better.

Start with: The ReST Original Smart Bed uses high-tech sensors to detect your position and adjust for comfort. Plus, it comes with a 10-year warranty that gives you plenty of time to tell if this is the right mattress for you.

Upgrade to: The ReST Original Bed w/ Gel Grid cradles your body with an added gel layer designed to maximize comfort. You can also fine-tune temperature levels to your preference with the integrated app.

How much do you want to spend?

No matter what you’re shopping for, budget will be the first thing that narrows your options. But before you limit yourself too much, take cost-per-use into account. A pricier sofa might be worth it in the long run if it outlasts a cheaper option by 5–10 years. You can also use Splitit to make the purchase price more manageable by spreading it into a series of smaller payments over time. If you’re investing in a long-term piece, look for fabrics that stand up to daily wear and tear. Leather is a chic way to keep your family room kid- and pet-friendly — just wipe up spills and embrace the patina as it ages.

Start with: The Napa Velvet Sofa at Poly & Bark is reasonably priced below $1,000 but also features markers of quality, like a solid wood frame and legs. It’s affordable but durable.

Upgrade to: The Napa Leather Sofa at Poly & Bark is crafted with a kiln-dried solid wood frame for strength and upholstered in full-grain Italian leather for a high-style look that lasts.