The chances are your new home in Portugal will be unfurnished. Even if you’ve struck a deal and furniture is included, you’ll probably want to put your own personal stamp on the property.
Portugal is well served with furniture and homeware stores, but before rushing out and filling a van, there are a couple of important things you should think about.
The most important consideration
The first thing you need to think about is whether your Portuguese property is going to be your permanent home, a holiday home that you may also rent out, or an investment property for short-term rentals. The answer to this question will have a huge bearing on what kind of furniture you should buy.
If your property is purely a rental investment, you’ll want to think more about practicality and durability than whether the furniture suits your individual tastes.
If, for example, your Portuguese property is purely a rental investment, you’ll want to think more about practicality and durability than whether the furniture suits your individual tastes. If you’re furnishing your “forever home,” you’ll want more personal items to give it a homely feel. You might choose to ship some furniture from back home for use in your new pad.
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If your property is more “dual purpose,” you’ll need to strike a careful balance between providing practicality for your paid guests, and feeling properly at home when it’s you spending time there.
For example, a rental home doesn’t need that much in the way of storage, because people will typically only be carrying enough to last them during a short stay. What many owners do is keep aside a fitted wardrobe or something similar for personal possessions, and leave it locked when guests are staying. This makes it possible to visit without carrying huge cases back and forth.
Where to buy furniture?
Portugal is now well served by IKEA, with people in the Algarve no longer required to trek to Seville or Lisbon for low cost furniture, thanks to the opening of a branch in Loulé. There are also plenty of Portuguese furniture stores dotted around the country, many of which continue to sell rather more traditional furniture, often involving plenty of dark wood!
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It’s well worth keeping an eye on the second-hand market too. People often offload furniture on Facebook groups or using classified ads, and some expats get lucky buying items from people who returning to Britain. In some towns, there are also warehouses selling second hand furniture. Ask around and you’re bound to bag some bargains.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that unless you’re moving in on a permanent basis, it’s best to make furnishing decisions with the head rather than the heart. That quirky piece of furniture you fell in love with may be ideal for personal use, but isn’t so practical for the rigours of a holiday rental property.