Friday, November 22, 2013

Shopping for furniture in Barcelona





Before we came to Barcelona, I asked the readers of Apartment Therapy what neighborhoods we should move to and where we should go for furniture and home decor when we got here. We got a lot of great suggestions from the readers as regards where to begin our apartment hunt (which I wrote about here in a past post) but I don't think that the advice for furniture shopping was quite as helpful. Most people recommended IKEA which I'm not going to deny is your best bet for affordable furniture (and there are two of them in Barcelona!), but in the two years we've been living here, I've discovered some more resources for furniture and home decor and I thought I'd share them with you in case you or someone you know is moving here.

Okay, so here goes:

Let's start with the aforementioned and obvious choice: Ikea. Their stuff is ubiquitous for a reason. It's well designed and cheap. It's been our go to for the big stuff like beds, sofas, dressers and closets. The good thing about Ikea being so ubiquitous (can you tell I love using that word?) is that you can find tons of their stuff secondhand so you don't have to pay full price. In any second hand furniture store or flea market or even online, you can find good condition items for a decent price. Our sofa, dresser, and bed frame are all from Ikea but we bought them all second hand from people who were moving and selling their stuff online. Which brings me to my next source:

You can find such gems for cheap on loquo.com and segundamano.es.  These websites are like the Spanish version of craigslist and you can really find anything on these websites from baby clothes to furniture to a tutoring job. We found our dining room table (an antique) and a vintage armchair on loquo and paid 200 and 45 euro respectively. The upside to using these sites is that you can often negotiate the price down if the seller is desperate enough to get rid of something. The downside is that you have to be patient. If you're looking for a certain piece, you may have to check these sites everyday to find something you like a lot.

When I lived in the U.S. and devoured my imported, British home design magazines, I used to lament the fact that I didn't live in Europe and couldn't shop at Habitat. So many beautiful houses seemed to have stuff from there. When we moved here, I couldn't wait to visit this place which is located in Plaça Catalunya. The furniture here is modern and Scandinavian in style but not as affordable as Ikea obviously. BUT. They do have awesome sales now and again and I was able to buy our dining room chairs there for half the price and our dining room lighting fixture for like 15 Euro.

For accessories like throw pillows, baskets, vases, shower curtains, clocks, and other decor, you should check out some of these chains: Casa Viva, Natura home, Muy Mucho, Maison du Monde, Zara Home, A Loja de Gato Preto. Many of these places have some furniture like occasional tables, armchairs, etc but they tend to be kind of expensive and rarely on sale. But they have awesome stuff. I've bought pillows from Zara Home and the lovely Portuguese store A Loja de Gato Preto (which in addition to regular stuff also has adorable home decor with cat themes for the crazy cat person. Ahem).

And last but not least, and this should really be a post in an of itself, you should check out the flea markets. The biggest one is Los Encants where you can find anything from vintage clothing, vinyls, furniture, antique toys and more. This place is overwhelming in a good way and you can really find anything from anywhere in the world here. Even if you're just visiting Barcelona, you might want to visit this place especially if you are a collector of weird things, old things, or beautiful things like I am. If you find enchantment in typewriter keys, this is the place for you. Be sure to check out their webpage for hours of operation.

Well I hope this little piece was useful for someone out there. Get out there and explore my friends!

(Photo: Nuevo Estilo magazine)

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