What is a Back Order?

A back order is an order for an item that is temporarily out of stock.


In the realm of interior design, a back order occurs when a desired product—be it furniture, lighting fixtures, decorative objects, or textiles—is not currently available for immediate delivery due to being temporarily out of stock. Manufacturers or retailers will place such items on back order, allowing customers to still place an order with the understanding that delivery will occur once the item becomes available.

Back ordered items might face delays due to various reasons such as manufacturing delays, supply chain issues, or unexpectedly high demand. This situation is common in the interior design industry, where bespoke or highly sought-after pieces often have longer lead times. Understanding back orders can help both professionals and enthusiasts manage expectations and plan projects accordingly.

For interior design projects, this can lead to adjustments in project timelines. Designers and clients may need to decide whether to wait for the back ordered items or seek alternatives. This situation underscores the importance of flexible planning and effective client communication in managing interior design projects.


For example, a designer planning a living room project may select a custom sofa that matches the client's desired aesthetic and comfort specifications. If the sofa is on back order, the designer must inform the client of the expected wait time and discuss whether to proceed with the order or explore alternative options that are readily available.


  • How long do back ordered items usually take to become available?

    The wait time for back ordered items can vary greatly depending on the product, manufacturer, and specific circumstances leading to the back order. It can range from a few weeks to several months.

  • Can you cancel a back order?

    Yes, most retailers and manufacturers allow for the cancellation of a back order, but it’s best to check their specific policies regarding cancellations and refunds.

  • Is there a way to avoid back orders when planning an interior design project?

    To minimize the risk of encountering back orders, consider selecting items that are in stock or have shorter lead times. Additionally, maintain open communication with suppliers about stock levels and estimated delivery times.

Practical Application

When dealing with back ordered items in your interior design projects, always communicate transparently with your client about potential delays and the impact on the project timeline. Consider exploring alternative products that can serve a similar purpose or aesthetic, ensuring your project stays on track without compromising the overall design vision.