Once you have bought a property in Italy, the next thing to consider is how to furnish it. But where to start looking?
Don’t wait until you get the keys to your Italian home before you think about furniture or you could end up spending your first night in your new home on an air bed – definitely not the dolce vita lifestyle you’re looking for! There are several options for you, with a wide range of costs.
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The cheapest option will usually be to bring furniture from your previous home – even with the transport costs. But will it fit in the space you now have and does the style look right in an Italian home? The benefit of bringing furniture from the UK is that it will save you time hunting around for furniture for a whole house, and provide you with the basics, while you search for something more suitable. If you have an old stone house you might find that the modern furniture sold in most Italian furniture stores just doesn’t look right against a stone wall.
You may also find other expats selling furniture on your local expat Facebook page or forum.
If you want solid wood furniture you might find it cheaper and easier to buy it from second-hand shops in Britain. Wooden tables, chairs and beds take up surprisingly little space in the lorry when you pack boxes around them.
To add character to your home it is nice to buy a few old pieces of Italian furniture. Otherwise, when you look at the room it will feel like you are still in Britain. Some of the big cities have a regular “Mercatini del Usato” (literally, used market) or antique market, but they can sometimes charge antique prices for quite ordinary second-hand reproductions. They are still worth a browse though, as occasionally you can find a gem of a bargain. We once bought a wooden Savonarola chair for just €15. Sometimes you will also find local antique shops and furniture stores taking a small selection of furniture to the weekly general market or monthly antique market. If there is something particular you are looking for it’s worth asking them, as they might have one back in their shop.
If you are ready to buy in Italy within the next few months, call our friendly Italy Resource Team on 020 7898 0549 or email [email protected] for help, contacts and advice.
Italians are sometimes reluctant to buy second-hand goods, especially online. Certainly, it is better to see the furniture in person before buying. Classified website Subito.it is Italy’s market leader for buying and selling all types of used goods and you can also find furniture on Italian Ebay. You may also find other expats selling furniture on your local expat Facebook page or forum.
Most large furniture stores sell modern furniture and you will find Ikea stores dotted around the country. Another popular chain is Mondo Convenienza, which sells modern furniture, for all rooms of the house, at reasonable prices. You will find their shops mainly across the northern regions and around Tuscany and Rome. Chateau d’Ax also has a few branches around the country. Large hardware superstores, like Leroy Merlin are another place to look for kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and rugs.
If you save a thousand or two on your home you can afford to go wild in the furniture shop! Read our guide to getting a fair deal on your property price: How to Negotiate Abroad.
If you need to buy a cooker, fridge-freezer, dishwasher, washing machine or any other home appliance take a look in TRONY: They also sell televisions, DVD players and PCs. Another specialist in electrical equipment for the home is Euronics:
By searching locally, you will also find one-off furniture shops that aren’t part of a big chain. If you’re lucky you may even come across carpenters and metal workers making quality pieces of furniture in traditional styles. They are often difficult to find, as they tend to have small workshops on the ground floor of their home, in ordinary residential streets. So, you will need to ask a local where to find them.