First of all, in general, it is safe to buy furniture or home accessories online.
However, when buying online, consider the following:
(1) How safe is the specific site? There are several ways to know, but
basically you have to check the payment arrangements (is it with
credit card/paypal? If so - which is generally safe - is the site
secure? What kind of security signs does your computer show when
buying on the site? Is it protected by VeriSign? If you use the
Firefox browser - which is recommended in any case - I recommend to
download this feature that allows you to know exactly what kind and
level of security a site has got:
(2) Is it a well-known store outside the realms of cyberspace? What
are the reviews on the store in a forum like the one mentioned by the
commentator (also try epinions - http://www.epinions.com/hmgd?tab=1)?
(3) What are the terms of service? How much will shipping cost? What
about insurance? Is assembly included?
(4) If you're buying from eBay, Craigslist or otherwise from used:
- First of all, realise that the difference between these sites and a
newspaper is only in format. These sites are not much more responsible
for the sale than a newspaper, where a crook publishes their ad.
- Therefore, you have to be extra aware: what is the rating of this
seller (in the case of eBay)? Is it a shop or a private person? What
is the exact condition of the piece?
(5) What can you do if you're not satisfied and want to return the piece? How?
In order to find some good online offerings, you might want to try the following:
Amazon.com (please note, not the Canadian .ca) Furniture/Decor section
<http://www.straightlinedesigns.com/> (though I don't think that this
is what you're looking for)
Canada Furniture Mart
Furniture Toronoto .com
I hope this answers your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarification on this answer before you rate it.