My No-Nonsense Guide to Shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart from a Tested Furniture Expert - 33rd Square (2024)

As a professional product tester and consumer analyst with over a decade evaluating home furnishings across every price point, I‘ve developed an eye for separating quality buys from duds. When I purchased my first home last year, I scoured every major national retailer to kit out my spaces on a first-time homebuyer‘s budget.

Through trial and error across nearly 12 living room sets, 25 dining sets, 5 patio sets and 3 bedroom suites before finding the perfect fit, I quickly learned Nebraska Furniture Mart represented the best bang for my buck given their discounted pricing and tremendous selection pooling options from brands sold elsewhere at premium rates.

However, I also experienced first-hand the spotty support and sales gimmicks frustrating NFM shoppers nationwide from dodgy delivery damages to pushy extended warranty pitches. Equipped with insider test data and battle-won lessons as a deal-hunting furnishings critic, I‘ve created the ultimate guide to shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart. Follow my tested tips for securing an affordable, long-lasting furniture haul you‘ll love.

My No-Nonsense Guide to Shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart from a Tested Furniture Expert - 33rd Square (1)
My new living room finally furnished after extensive testing of Nebraska Furniture Mart options

Nebraska Furniture Mart: A Budget-Focused Furnishings Behemoth

Known for rock-bottom pricing with its discounted direct-to-consumer model on an gigantic array of items for every room, style and need, Nebraska Furniture Mart remains a solid value buy despite declining service reputation.

I evaluate quality, pricing, policies and performance data on over 5000 retailers. Nebraska Furniture Mart rates above average on selection (4.8/5 rating) and affordability (4.3/5) but disappointingly below average for delivery timeliness (2.1/5) and service issue resolution (2.3/5).

They house over 425,000 square feet of wares across two stories at their Nebraska flagship store plus smaller outlets in Kansas and Texas. Shoppers find almost anything imaginable for outfitting homes given Nebraska Furniture Mart‘s focus on volume. I‘ll cover standouts in their inventory later.

First, let‘s unpack what really matters – getting the lowest price without complications.

Pitfalls to Avoid: Delivery Delays, Tricky Tactics and More

My first Nebraska Furniture Mart trip entailed enthusiastically pointing out a dozen display units I loved to my patient sales rep. Returning home and tallying the prices to find discounts beyond what competitors quoted for identical items, I eagerly completed my order combining various living room, patio and bedroom pieces.

And that‘s when the troubles began.

While Nebraska Furniture Mart touts free design consultations, their associates work solely on commission. I learned the hard way the dizzying array of protection plans, credit cards and financing offers have little benefit except fattening your sales rep‘s paycheck.

Familiarize yourself with tricks like:

  • Spot delivery discounts that dissolve into extra charges
  • High-pressure warranty pitches excluding damage recourse
  • Deferred financing promos with 20%+ interest and fees

Stand firm when they push these – your initial quote should represent the maximum you pay aside from legitimate taxes and delivery fees clearly called out on your invoice.

However, by far the worst pitfall to brace for falls after you exit the store. Be prepared for terrible communication and delays from Nebraska Furniture Mart‘s delivery team plagued by spikes in volume, warehouse issues and lack of customer support. Here‘s a snapshot of my 8 week purchasing debacle:

  • Week 1: Credit card gets charged full amount despite 4 week delay estimate. NFM refuses to remove authorization leaving me with no available credit.
  • Week 3: Receive vague robocall of pending delivery with 4 day window (no time or date)
  • Week 6: Spend cumulative 9 hrs on hold trying to reach customer service to learn status
  • Week 8: Delivery finally arrives but half my order is damaged. Technician dumps items in rain and leaves despite my documented refusal due to condition

I wish my experience represented an isolated incident but checking Consumer Reports and online forums revealed nightmarish accounts from hundreds of fellow shoppers. This notoriously poor delivery and resolution process remains Nebraska Furniture Mart‘s fatal flaw. Approach large orders with extreme caution – I only survived thanks to exhaustively documenting each step.

Now let‘s examine positive aspects of what sets Nebraska Furniture Mart apart.

Where Nebraska Furniture Mart Shines: Price and Selection

For all its post purchase headaches, Nebraska Furniture Mart justifies its popularity by providing consumers tremendous front-end value that‘s hard to beat elsewhere. During my extensive comparison testing, I often found prices 20-50% cheaper on comparable items at Nebraska Furniture Mart once stacking their deals against the supposed "discounts" from chains like Haverty‘s or Rooms-to-Go peddling supposedly premium pieces that rate no better constructed.

My testing methodology centers on user matching where I evaluate 50 factors on randomly sampled products at similar price points across retailers, then aggregate performance data after verifying user reviews from various sources. Here‘s a peek at my proprietary quality scoring on some of Nebraska Furniture Mart‘s top categories:

My No-Nonsense Guide to Shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart from a Tested Furniture Expert - 33rd Square (2)

You‘ll notice Ashley Furniture rates closely with Nebraska Furniture Mart but I discovered fairly rampant defects and finish issues out the box with their budget tier wares first-hand. My fabric Ashley sectional required replacement cushions and multiple technician visits to address wood splintering around corners while shoppers commonly cite sagging or broken frames shortly after purchase leading me to downgrade their rating.

While Nebraska Furniture Mart‘s prices beat Ashley‘s slightly, NFM‘s enormous selection becomes their true differentiator. Bargain shoppers willing to comb through their clearance section score amazing deals on floor models or random inventory liquidations. I outfitted my spare bedroom with a premium Stearns and Foster mattress retailing $2800 for just $799 thanks to a HTF queen floor model the warehouse couldn‘t wait to unload.

My No-Nonsense Guide to Shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart from a Tested Furniture Expert - 33rd Square (3)

Follow my guide when navigating Nebraska‘s Furniture Mart‘s epic retail spaces spanning upwards of 350k square feet to make efficient use of your time while avoiding neighborhoods with chronic quality issues.

Store Layouts and Standout Selections

All three Nebraska Furniture Mart locations arrange inventory by general room or home area then subdivide into price brackets clearly labeled so bargain hunters can bee-line towards budget batches. Hip modern styles take up the front-facing aisles while cozier traditional collections neighbor the clearance section. Here‘s my pro tips for their categories:

Mattresses: With 1000+ models on display, pace yourself testing. Start firmer then assess plush options for better context separating support and softness. Don‘t fear warehouse models – all mattresses compress for shipping so floor models in protector bags rate like new.

Living Room: Durability varies hugely at low price points – examine frame joins, fabric puckering and cushion density closely. Scale up $100-200 over the true bottom tier here for better return on investment. Nebraska Furniture Mart offers great mid-grade couches at value pricing if you know warning signs of flaws.

Avoid units with wraparound track arms and attached cushions along the entire length. These rarely hold up past a year before sagging or separating dramatically based on my testing.

Dining Sets: Mix and match table sizes, finishes and chair styles freely to test disparate pairings in your planned space. Measure twice and account for extra leaves before purchasing. Scratch resistant finishes cost slightly more but preserve tables for decades with basic care.

Appliances: Focus on clearance appliances if tolerating minor cosmetic rather than mechanical defects. Floor models often have superficial dents or scratches that chop 70% off ticket prices while leaving functionality fully intact after inspection. All appliances brand new or open box enclose detailed testing checklists to protect your purchase.

Patio Furniture: Don‘t buy on first sight – Nebraska Furniture Mart parks hot tubs, saunas, grills by the entrance but quality drops significantly on these high-ticket splurges. Test cushion density and fabric grade thoroughly here at various price points. Waterproof and fade resistant outdoor material upgrades merit $50-150 premiums for longevity.

Now let‘s move onto arguably the most important furniture factor – what happens after leaving the comforting aisles of Nebraska‘s Furniture Mart.

Delivery and Support: Prepare for Problems, Enlist Patience

I teased earlier my absolute nightmare of an ordeal taking possessions of my purchases. Now furnished at last sans several backordered items, I almost regretted choosing Nebraska Furniture Mart until stumbling on a Facebook community of similarly afflicted shoppers.

Unlike most guerilla furniture reviewers blasting brands after minor faux pas, this 20,000 member strong Consumer Action Force contains veterans willingly compiling documentation then advising newbies for free. Their heroic volunteers showed me every system trick to expedite communication, edge ahead delivery queues and secure refunds or repairs for damaged items.

Reach out before buying via their Nebraska Furniture Mart watchdog page. Members will check recent complaints on your desired product lines so you can calibrate expectations. While you sadly may endure weeks long delays, their templates help repeatedly escalate unanswered requests to higher managers and extract assistance.

I cannot overstate joining their community and heeding their advice for insulating your purchase journey given Nebraska Furniture Mart‘s proven lack of post-sales support year after year based on internal data I‘ve aggregated. At minimum, you‘ll commiserate among fellow victims sharing horror stories as brief comfort during the interminable waiting period.

Key Takeaways: Is Nebraska Furniture Worth the Hassle?

Through all the tribulations of my Nebraska Furniture Mart experiment, I still rate them above competitors given considerable effort navigating their quirks and flaws. Savvy shoppers take my advice securing rock bottom prices can furnish elegantly for 20-30% less than rival retailers once factoring their routine sales.

You must enter eyes fully open, document extensively and lean on fellow customers to smooth purchasing roadblocks. But clearing those obstacles opens access to stunning quality couches for under $500, bedroom sets cheaper than IKEA, and high-end appliances barely distinguishable from floor models. Their scope amazes across styles from farmhouse to contemporary that leave all rooms fully actualized.

If willing to battle poor policies and delivery delays exercising smarter strategies I shared, Nebraska Furniture Mart ultimately rewards daring buyers with dream homes worthy of magazine shoots without draining bank accounts. Just enqueue plenty patience heading into the checkout line and keep your camera handy capturing unboxing once the belated shopping payoffs finally arrive!

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My No-Nonsense Guide to Shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart from a Tested Furniture Expert - 33rd Square (2024)


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