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Furniture Buying in Singapore – Guide to Cheap and Affordable Options

buying furniture in singapore

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It’s hard not to get a little excited at the prospect of furniture shopping in Singapore, especially when HGTV has been feeding us with gorgeous visuals of what a little creativity and imagination can do for our humble homes.

Who hasn’t dreamt of flipping their houses, going a little Property Brothers on our properties or doing a Fixer Upper number on our rooms?

If you’re in the market for a little home-makeover (or a major one), come furniture hunting with us. We’ll tell you where to get the best bargains so you can fuel your dreams of that perfect home.

 

Contents

  1. What furniture to buy? 4 steps to take before starting
  2. Interior designer – yes or no?
  3. Where to buy furniture in Singapore
  4. Singapore furniture prices at a glance

 

What furniture should you buy? 4 steps to take before starting

What furniture to buy is the first question you need to ask yourself, because the answer affects your budget.

Every room has a specific function and along with that function comes the furniture you need. It’s pretty standard. Your living room is where your family congregates, so you need a sofa, a TV and a coffee table for snacks. A dining room obviously requires a dining table and chairs. A bedroom needs a bed. Duh!

But what about a side table for the living room? Shelves? Would a credenza for your cutlery and fine china be nice in the dining room? Should you have a stand-alone wardrobe or build a walk-in one? What about an armchair for bedtime reading?

Really, when you get going, there are so many pieces of furniture you can buy. And we haven’t even talked about accents items, decorative pieces, wall hangings and lighting.

So before you start shopping, you need to think about these 4 things and start making a list of specific items.

Step 1: Consider the size of the room

The size of your room will determine the size of your furniture. A teeny sofa in a massive room will look ridiculously dwarfed, just as too-large furniture in a small room will make it look cluttered.

Also, the size of the individual items should be proportionate to one another. For example, your coffee table should should be about ⅔ the size of your sofa to be pleasing to the eye.

This awareness of dimensions will guide your choices. So, if you have a small living room but want a big sofa, you essentially have 2 choices. Either get a large coffee table (proportionate to the sofa) and forgo everything else to avoid overcrowding. Or, forgo the coffee table to make space for other items.

Step 2: Allow for space between your furniture

As part of the balance of your room, you should think about the spacing between your furniture. And there are design rules for that, too.

For example, in your living room, there should be about 45cm between the sofa and the coffee table so you don’t bump into the table. Have about 9cm to 25cm between seats to allow for comfortable conversation, and place the TV at least 18cm away from the sofa.

In the dining room, there should be about 90cm between the wall and any furniture, and 120cm between the dining table and the entrance for easy movement. The light should also be at least 60cm to 80cm above the table top so it won’t block your view.

Once you consider the spacing and size of the room, you’ll know how much furniture you need to buy. And how much you can expect to spend.

Step 3: Think about the focal point of the room

Every designer will tell you to create a focal point in your room. What this means is that you need to find the one thing you want people to take notice of when they walk into the room. Then, design around it.

It could be a quirkily designed sofa, a feature wall, or even a gorgeously framed window overlooking the city. Once you have that, you will know what kind of furniture you need around the focal point.

Step 4: Apply design rules

Designers love the number 3 – it’s called the rule of thirds. We mentioned it above when talking about how the coffee table should be ⅔ of the sofa to be visually appealing.

For colours, follow the 60-30-10 rule for visual harmony. The primary colour of the room should fill 60% of the room, the secondary colour 30%, and accent pieces 10%.

When it comes to accent pieces and decorations, odd numbers tend to be pleasing too. Think 3 flowers, 5 wall hangings, 7 seashells in a bowl, and so on.

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Should you hire an interior designer?

Now comes the next big budget question: do you need to engage an interior designer?

In the first place, you might not know the difference between contractor and ID. The contractor is the guy who does the heavy lifting – renovations like breaking down walls, installing cabinets, doing up the wiring and plumbing.

The interior designer is the one who coordinates your renovation and creates the look of your home. He works with the contractor to actualise your (or his) ideas.

Do you want to fork out more to hire an interior designer? To help you decide, let’s do our calculations.

When deciding on the price tag of their service, interior designers looks at the size of the space, scale of the project (how much work needs to be done), and type of materials used. But how you are charged depends on which fee structure is used:

Fee structure Description Example of typical cost
Per square metre/foot Based on size of home $11,000 to $15,000 for 100 sq m (4-room flat)
Pre-fixed rate Fee based as a percentage of actual cost of labour and materials 20% to 30% markup
Percentage over cost When your ID orders furniture items, this is a markup for him to pocket (he might also get a referral fee from the retailer) 20% markup on cost
Hourly rate Fee based on no. of work hours put in $50 to $200 per hour
Combination Combination of above fee structures e.g. 20% markup on furniture + $100/hour for labour

As you can see, hiring an ID isn’t exactly cheap. But you’re paying for both their design expertise and the assurance that your project will go according to plan.

If you want an ID to help oversee the entire project, but you want to source your own furniture (totally without the ID’s input or referrals) you can save a little – e.g. 10% discount off the package.

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Where to buy furniture in Singapore

If you’ve decided to hunt for furniture on your own, where would you go? It depends on the style of furniture you want. We’ve put some of our favourite picks into style categories for easy browsing.

Scandinavian (simple, sleek, minimalist)

If you love the simple, minimalist functionality of Scandinavian design but want to go beyond the Billy bookshelves and Kivik sofas IKEA has to offer, try Castlery. It’s Singapore’s answer to sleek, functional pieces that are pocket-friendly, and the range is mind-boggling – everything from the usual furniture to lighting, rugs, cushions and even mirrors.

Then, there’s Scanteak. It’s the go-to place for quality teakwood furniture that is stylish and sturdy. It’s not exactly cheap but considering the material is teak, known for its elegance and durability, the furniture is quite affordable.

Modern (clean lines, designer style) 

Clean, simple lines with the use of natural material like wood and leather, this is a look characterised by simplicity and unadorned spaces. To recreate the look, there’s Comfort Design where you can pick up designer replicas at prices regular folks can afford.

Nook and Cranny is another place for chic, modern pieces that is luxury minus the intimidating price tag (think leather armchairs for under $700). We love their modern take on fabric sofas and the fact that you can pick up Chinese antique pieces and Art Deco items there as well to mix and match with your modern rooms. 

Luxury (ornate, premium, loud)

Plush, bold and bling – luxury style living is all about ornate pieces, rich textures and striking colours. Finn Avenue offers premium material from France, Italy and Spain; and trendy items that take sophistication to a new level. True, they aren’t the cheapest but luxury style tends to be steeper. At least their prices won’t have you hitting the roof. You could, for example, get a two-seater for under $1,000.

Novena is a familiar name to most local households. Known for their leather sofas at reasonable prices, properly selected, their pieces can add to your luxury-style home.

Indonesian (teak, bamboo, rattan with ethnic accents)

Want to create a laid-back tropical hideaway in your home? Natural material – teak, bamboo, rattan – matched with bits of Balinese art and Oriental accents is the way to go.

oth Elements Concept and Originals incorporate Indonesian craftsmanship into their items so you can feel like you’re on holiday every day.

Vintage (retro, antique, eclectic)

Retro charm with an edge is how we would describe the vintage style of home décor. Scatter your room with furniture that harkens to a glorious era past and open shelves to display bric-a-brac you’ve collected over the years and you’ve mastered vintage style.

At sustainable furniture store, Knots Living, you can recreate the vintage style with antique-looking mantel clocks and wooden chairs and that will transport you back in time. 

Multi-styles (online furniture stores)

Online shopping is definitely one of the major perks of 21st century living. It saves time and the furniture tends to be cheaper.

The most popular are HipVan and FortyTwo. Both have impressive catalogues boasting a wide selection of items. FortyTwo is especially helpful because they categorise their products according to design styles. Shipping is free if you spend above $150 at HipVan and $300 at FortyTwo. To help you keep costs down, FortyTwo lets you pick up the smaller items at their warehouse.

FurnitureSG is another place you might want to try, if for no other reason than to buy two-seater sofas for just $88.

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Singapore furniture prices at a glance

Here’s a quick look at how much key pieces of furniture cost at the stores we mentioned:

Sofa

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $299 – $1,499 (single) / $599 – $2,999 (2-seater) / $649 – $3,891.50 (3-seater)
Scanteak $699 – $1,299 (single) / $1,059 – $2,199 (2-seater) / $1,299 – $2,347 (3-seater)
Modern Comfort Design $369 – $1,698 (single) / $339 – $1,368.53 (2-seater) / $348 – $2,048 (3-seater)
Nook & Cranny $527 – $940 (single) / $839 – $2,165 (2- to 3-seater)
Luxury Finn Avenue $348 – $1,290 (single) / $890 – $1,690 (2-seater) / $1,190 – $4,890 (3-seater)
Novena $399 (single) / $399 (2-seater) / $599 – $2,399 (3-seater)
Indonesian Elements Concept $245 – $690 (single)
Originals $680 – $1,350 (single) / $820 – $2,800 (2-seater) / $1,900 – $5,800 (3-seater & larger)
Vintage Knots Living $318 – $745.95 (single) / $960 (love seat)
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $199 – $2,999 (single) / $299 – $1,499 (2-seater) / $539.90 – $4,999 (3-seater)
FortyTwo $35.90 – $719 (single) / $159.90 – $980 (2-seater) / $299 – $4,999 (3-seater)
FurnitureSG $88 – $1,788 (2- to 3- seater)

TV console

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $379 – $919
Scanteak $599 – $1,599
Modern Comfort Design $199 – $898
Nook & Cranny $480 – $999
Luxury Novena $999 – $1,399
Indonesian Elements Concept $1,250
Originals $950 – $2,895
Vintage Knots Living $954.45 – $2,273.04
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $299 – $1,279
FortyTwo $89 – $1,728
FurnitureSG $135 – $635

Coffee table

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $159 – $549
Scanteak $329 – $1,199
Modern Comfort Design $79 – $555
Nook & Cranny $182 – $569
Luxury Finn Avenue $499 – $960
Novena $399 – $799
Indonesian Elements Concept $309
Originals $580 – $1,900
Vintage Knots Living $504 – $1,099.53
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $39.90 – $799
FortyTwo $49.90 – $888
FurnitureSG $55 – $678

Shelf

Interior design style Furniture Store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $339 – $899
Scanteak $329 – $1,199
Modern Comfort Design $399 – $1,399
Nook & Cranny $449 – $859
Indonesian Originals $1,340 – $2,095
Vintage Knots Living $565.95 – $1,352.40
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $39.90 – $799
FortyTwo $49.90 – $888
FurnitureSG $125 – $1,188

Dining table

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $419 – $1,089
Scanteak $999 – $1,999
Modern Comfort Design $85 – $1,399
Nook & Cranny $371 – $1,359
Luxury Finn Avenue $1,890
Novena $599 – $2,199 (set)
Indonesian Elements Concept $375 – $1,099
Originals $1,395 – $2,695
Vintage Knots Living $616.22 – $3,682.60
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $199 – $1,799
FortyTwo $86 – $3,488
FurnitureSG $98 – $898

Dining chair

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $99 – $479
Scanteak $69 – $269
Modern Comfort Design $99 – $199
Nook & Cranny $41.90 – $449
Luxury Finn Avenue $348 – $2,190
Indonesian Elements Concept $225 – $256
Originals $390 – $560
Vintage Knots Living $340.20
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $29.90 – $379
FortyTwo $24.90 – $388
FurnitureSG $27 – $265

Bed

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $329 – $2,269 (double)
Scanteak $369 – $899 (single) / $1,299 – $1,599 (king)
Modern Comfort Design $459 – $890
Nook & Cranny $816
Luxury Finn Avenue $3978
Novena $499 – $4,299
Indonesian Originals $1,850 – $2,890
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $299 – $1,199
FortyTwo $95 – $419 (queen)
FurnitureSG $110 – $335 (queen)

Side table

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $229 – $399
Scanteak $179 – $499
Modern Comfort Design $119 – $235
Nook & Cranny $280 – $449
Luxury Finn Avenue $498 – $795
Indonesian Originals $400 – $850
Vintage Knots Living $261.45
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $54.90 – $399
FurnitureSG $95 – $228

Cushion

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $29.90 – $39
Scanteak $14.90 – $50
Modern Comfort Design $19 – $29
Nook & Cranny $17.90 – $21.90
Luxury Finn Avenue $39 – $368
Indonesian Elements Concept $49 – $66
Originals $80 – $145
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $12,90 – $58
FortyTwo $16.90 – $127

Decorations

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Modern Comfort Design $10 – $199
Nook & Cranny $5.90 – $373.90
Luxury Finn Avenue $8 – $359
Indonesian Elements Concept $21 – $316
Originals $8 – $880
Vintage Knots Living $10.75 – $1.325.10
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $6.90 – $149
FortyTwo $19.90 – $1,288

Lighting

Interior design style Furniture store Cost
Scandinavian Castlery $69 – $269
Modern Comfort Design $41.73 – $85.50
Nook & Cranny $63.90 – $149
Indonesian Elements Concept $66 – $175
Originals $280 – $430
Vintage Knots Living $102.80 – $1,999.20
Online stores (various styles) HipVan $39 – $700
FortyTwo $130 – $568

There you have it, all you need to turn your home into your very own palace and you don’t even need a king’s ransom to do it. Enjoy!

Do you have a preferred furniture retailer? Tell us why in the comments!

 

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