Shopping Guide

10 Things to Bring when Furniture and Appliance Shopping

Interior designer Michelle Dumlao-Pastoral reveals the things that every homeowner should have on a shopping trip

Photography: At Maculangan (main photo)

Buying furniture pieces, soft furnishings like curtains or throw pillows, accessories, and appliances for your home? If you want to find the right pieces with your preferred size, shape, material, and color, you should bring these home shopping essentials.

Click here to see more photos and view the full home tour.

Floor Plan

The floor plan shows the wall, door, window and furniture measurements, as well as where each furniture piece is located. You can show the floor plan layout to the furniture store's in-house interior designer or sales assistant so they can recommend pieces with the right dimensions.

RL Tip: No copy of your official floor plan? No problem! Just make a rough drawing of your home's layout. Make sure to take note of the positions and measurements of the walls, doors, and windows. 

Electrical Plan

The electrical plan shows you where the electrical switches and phone and cable outlets are located. The floor plan and electrical layout will help you find the right places and measurements for your furniture and appliances. 

Ceiling Plan and Sectional Elevations

The ceiling plan shows you how many lighting fixtures you need per area, measurements of the lighting fixture and specific wattages you need for these.

RL Tip: Before buying lighting fixtures, you should read about luminance, wattage and the different light colors like cool white, daylight and warm white.

You should also have a copy of the sectional elevations which shows the floor to ceiling height and the window, wall, door and built-in cabinet measurements. This comes in handy when buying wallpaper and window treatments like curtains or blinds. buying your main door and planning accent walls with paintings/ framed  pictures.


Once you have prepared your floor, electrical, and ceiling plans, you should make a list of the furniture, soft furnishings, accessories, and appliances that you need. Cut out magazine photos and print out design pegs from the Internet and keep it in a notebook.

You can also write down everything relevant to the construction and renovation. Rememeber to write down questions you want to ask the sales assistants and the important information you gathered from your conversation.

RL Tip: Ask questions such as "How do you clean this item?" "Do you have a service center?" "Are parts of this item locally available for replacement if it breaks?" and "Does this item come with a warranty?" 


A calendar will help you keep track of the progress of your home construction or renovation. You can write down all of your schedules for shopping trips, furniture delivery, etc. 

Tape measure

Before buying anything, you should always measure, measure, measure! Don't rely on the measurements on the furniture pieceit's better to double check everything. 

For the best fit, make sure that the measurements of what you are buying are same or only slightly deviates from what is projected on your design plans.

RL Tip: You should also know how to read and write measurements properlyusually it is length x width x height.


When picking out items for your home, you can come across pieces that have measurements in different units. Learn how to convert centimeters, meters, inches and feet so you can choose the right items. 

Paint swatches, wallpaper and flooring material samples

These samples can help you choose curtains, throw pillows, carpets or area rugs, and upholstered furniture pieces. Furniture pieces should also be properly coordinated with the color of your wall or wallpaper and flooring material.

Fabric swatches

When shopping, you can also ask for samples of every fabric piece such as curtains, upholstered furniture pieces, etc. These fabric swatches will also help you find other pieces for your home.


RL Tip: Keep all of your paint swatches, wallpaper, flooring material samples, and fabric swatches in your notebook to help you interpret your design concept. 

Michelle Angeli Dumlao Pastoral graduated BS interior design at Assumption College.  Married to Herbie Pastoral, husband and wife team  behind HMP Design Solutions Inc.  construction company. They have a  6 year old son Coby and one month old baby Javy.

She has tackled both commercial (bars, restaurants, apparel stores and accessories stores)  and residential (houses, townhouses, high end condos and mid range condos too.) projects in various design styles.

She is a constant speaker for  topics related to interior design and decoration,  the latest one was for Avida Land  regarding designing small, stylish condo spaces. She is also consulted for interior design services by hardworking middle class clients who, given the budget constraints want a stylish space with the input/ideas of a professional interior designer.

Her projects/works are featured  in  magazines and websites. She is  a  resource person for various magazine and newspaper articles as well. She is the first featured designer of respected lighting brand Eglo Philippines and has designed the Michelle Pastoral furniture line for Dwellings, the sister company of trusted  mattress brand Philippine Bed. 

For design-related queries, Michelle may be reached at:

HMP Design Solutions Inc.
18 Golden St., Gloria 1 Subdivision,
Tandang Sora, Quezon City

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