Young couples and families seeking to revamp their home at minimal cost usually find themselves roaming the winding paths of Ikea’s showroom.
But apart from the Swedish furniture store, there are many other places to minimise the cost of your home furnishing drastically. Thanks to the internet, many furniture retailers can take their business directly to consumers like you and I via different online and e-commerce platforms, which reduces prices significantly. GoBear, an online comparison tool for home loans and financial products, has put together a guide to how you can leverage on this shift in the furniture market to reap the biggest savings.
A popular site for home furnishing on the cheap is FortyTwo. Of its wide array of popular designs, especially noteworthy is the designer furnishing. Pieces inspired by Eames, Herman Miller and even Le Corbusier are on sale at a small fraction of the original prices. As an example, the iconic plywood moulded Eames lounge chair and ottoman are listed as a pair at close to US$5,000 at the Herman Miller store, but will only set a buyer back S$800 for an aesthetically indistinguishable model sold by FortyTwo. Aside from a spot to rest one’s posterior, the site covers the entire range of home furnishings from lawn chairs to wardrobes.
Another online resource is Qoo10. Like a virtual bazaar, its furniture department houses a large number of brands from a wide selection of vendors. The site essentially creates a market in virtual space, providing vendors with a place at which to set up shop and display their wares. With a sufficiently large enough vendor base, competition inevitably sets in, and prices are forced down to competitive levels. Although the selection is more generic here, the prices are guaranteed to elicit smiles.
A bargain hunter’s favourite is the warehouse sale. Typically, these are advertised in the local newspapers or on banners along the roads in industrial areas. These are some of the best deals that one can come across, as the main aim is to clear out the warehouse and the mark-downs can be significant. To keep abreast of such sales, keep track of forums that are especially catered to this interest group. Try the Singapore Warehouse Sales Facebook page or Singpromos.
Fire sales or liquidation sales may have a relatively limited range but are worth a look for some gems. Again, these are would be listed in the newspapers or online classifieds like Gumtree (www.gumtree.com) or Locanto (www.locanto.com). In most cases, small businesses, offices or hotels would be the ones to succumb to challenging economic conditions, so if conversation pieces for the living room are not available, it is almost certain practical furnishings for the home office can be found here.
It is a well-known statistic that about a quarter of Singapore’s population comprises non-residents temporarily working in the country. When they leave the country for good, a bounty can be had by swooping in on the inevitable garage sales and scooping up some bargain finds. The best way to come across these sales are by taking a walk around residential districts where expats tend to congregate, or by checking on the notice boards at grocery stores. Classified websites like Craigslist and Gumtree are also popular places where these sales are listed.
Why buy new when one can “adopt” and give old furniture a second life? Thrift shops and curio shops are open to the needy, as well as those looking for a unique piece and who like to leave the perfect find to serendipity.
Great places to go on the hunt are Junkie’s corner at 2 Turf Club Road, thrift shops at Salvation Army outlets and at certain churches. The shop space at Junkie’s is a large cavernous space filled to the brim with all sorts of eclectic items. Even if not on the lookout for anything in particular, a visit there is always an adventure.
Thrift shops, on the other hand have a much smaller inventory. On most days, finding anything worth buying would be pure good luck. However, there are those wonderful days when one does come across hidden treasure.
With some elbow grease and creativity, no budget is too small to put some individual personality into the home, so get out there and let the hunt begin.