Does this ring a bell?
- You inquired the price of an orange bench, and upon hearing the answer, had trouble keeping your jaw closed.
- You are an expat and don’t want to spend a fortune furnishing a house you may stay in for just a couple of years.
- You want to replace an aging sofa, but every time you see the price tag of a new one, you think it is better to just stick with the saggy old thing.
We’ve all been there – wanting something gorgeous but completely unable to accept the economics of it – especially in Singapore, where price tags of furniture are much higher than in any country around it. Even Hong Kong, our constant competitor in the list of highest-priced cities of the world, supplies tables and chairs and the whole house-works at lower cost!
Is there is a way to acquire something tasteful and fill up your house in Singapore without resorting to Ikea?
Well, we have an answer… actually five! Here is our line-up of where to buy furniture in Singapore without breaking the bank. No – this is not a guide to buying cheap duplicates and knock-offs. We’ve rounded up places where you can buy good quality, used furniture at prices that range from (depending on your luck!) from “it’s a steal!” to “it’s worth every penny”!
We at Secondsguru love the pre-loved movement and how it stops things from prematurely reaching landfills. Isn’t it awesome when you can buy something at a lower cost to your purse and the environment?
01-01 Citilink Warehouse Complex,
102F Pasir Panjang Road
[Editor’s update: Expat Auctions has since closed down, and the business has been taken over by HotLotz. ]
If you are looking for high quality furniture, this is perhaps your best bet on this list. Expat Auctions, as you may guess, derives most of its furnishings from expats downsizing their apartments or leaving the country. The items are sold as-is in an auction held (usually) every second Saturday. I have visited their Pasir Panjang warehouse and was impressed with the quality and condition of the items that were on offer at the time: vintage cabinets, carved benches, teakwood dining sets… you get the picture!
Expat Auctions keeps an online catalogue, plus you can inspect the items a day before the auction. They welcome both live and absentee bids to make life simpler for all involved. To keep tabs on what’s flowing through their coffers this month, sign up for their newsletter or FB feed.
One of Singapore’s favourite start-ups, Carousell is a classifieds site to buy and sell, well, anything. It is not restricted to used goods – but given its popularity, it is a great place to find used furniture. From garden benches to rosewood dining sets, bunk beds to salvaged side tables, the range is wide and new listings keep appearing.
I love that Carousell has a rating system, so you can assess the sellers you deal with. You can also communicate easily with the seller for further information before confirming your interest [or scroll through the public comments]. And best of all – prices are often negotiable and you can use the system to make counter offers.
2 Turf Club Road, Singapore 287988. Tel: 97912607
You can judge this shop by its name! The massive warehouse, close to turf city (5 minutes drive from PasarBella) is home to a forest-full of wood. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you find rotting rickshaws and an assortment of mossy garden sculptures lined outside an old building. Inside, furniture is piled and stuffed with no thought of orderliness, and if sunlight could stream through, you would probably see a galaxy of suspended dust in it. But I suppose that’s the charm.
As you squeeze through the narrow aisles, you will find non-functional jukeboxes nestling next to art-deco side-tables, vinyls half-a-century old, and if you look carefully and long enough, perhaps you will also find the piece you are looking for. Must-visit for vintage hunters and people who don’t mind putting their carpentry skills to test!
I visited Junkie’s Corner when looking for a wooden garden bench that I expected to paint. As I had never painted furniture before, and didn’t know how well or badly I’d manage, I wanted to spend as little as possible. But all I had found so far were $200-$400 pieces, not including transportation.
So when I found a $150 piece at Junkie’s corner, all inclusive, I jumped at the deal. I’d expected to spruce it up, but as it turned out, it needed nothing more than a good cleaning to look great in my balcony! (Sadly, that means I still haven’t tried out painting furniture yet!).
If you know basic carpentry, you’ll love Junkie’s Corner. Even you know nothing of carpentry, I’s still recommend it if you are looking for something unique, or something very cheap or something to try your craftsmanship over!
With more than 10,000 listings under furniture, Gumtree is the site you must visit to cover all bases if you are looking to buy second-hand. It is a bit annoying to sift through all the ads that are prioritized atop, but if you know what you are looking for, this is a great place to search through the vast pool of classifieds.
I’ve used Gumtree several times to sell items, though not (yet!) to buy. Still, it is often my first stop when looking for things, as well as getting a sense of benchmark pricing.
As in all online markets, I’d advice you be cautious when dealing with sellers: use cash instead of online payment systems as I have heard of scamsters operating on the site.
Hock Siong & Co
153 Kg Ampat, Singapore 368326. Tel: 6281 8338
This is a true blue second-hand store. Located at the back of a building in the MacPherson Road neighbourhood, its big hall houses furniture collected from residences and even hotels. But unlike a lot of second-hand stores we’ve seen, (thankfully!) Hock Siong is not a haphazard maze where you have to diligently separate trash from treasure.
Last time I visited, I found paintings and silverware in addition to lots and lots of tall cabinets. Almost all items were in good condition and needed very little sprucing up (if at all) – the owners have a separate warehouse and display only those pieces that are in usable condition and can be salvaged. That translates in to a much easier and faster shopping experience for buyers (translation: you can drag your hubby here and he won’t have to dig his heels too long!).
Keep in mind that stock varies widely in style and condition and changes over time; so do have look at their FB store to get a sense of what’s currently there.
Happy furniture shopping!
P.S. Before you head out to shop, however, do have a look again at what you already have. Can you renew it – like we restored this teak day bed? Or can you give it a new look, as we did with a simple metal table? Sometimes all it takes to refresh your home space is a day of DIY!
Tips for buying used furniture