By Oprah's interior designer Ellie Cullman
1. Call the organizers in advance and ask for a map of the fair's layout. Locate favorite vendors and plan to visit them first.
2. Arrive at the show before it opens, even if you have to wait in line for admission. You want to be one of the first visitors to each booth. There's nothing worse than seeing a sold tag on a piece that you love.
3. Bring accurate measurements of your rooms so you can check whether a table, chair or painting is the right size before buying it.
4. Bring a pen, paper and a tape measure. Write down the price, description and size of the pieces you are considering so you can remember what your options are as you go through the show.
5. Bring a digital camera to take pictures of the things you are interested in but not sure about.
6. Get the dealers' cell phone numbers. After you've gone through the show once, take a look at the digital pictures, descriptions and prices of pieces you liked. When you're ready to buy, you can call the vendors to see if the pieces you'd like to purchase are still for sale.
7. Bring a checkbook and photo ID. Many dealers don't take credit cards.
8. If you're looking for big pieces, ask if they can arrange for shipping and how expensive that will be. Renting or borrowing a van may be a better way to get your pieces home.
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