Saturday, 2 October 2010

Buying Furniture for a Thai Villa

Once you have built your Thai villa either for residential purposes or for rental then you have to find some furniture to put in the villa. This can be a difficult process because there are so many furniture suppliers to choose from.

Naturally your choice of furniture supplier will partly depend on what style of interior décor you wish for your house. You might prefer a minimal look, a Thai look or a more traditional western style. Some people go for a Moroccan theme in their Thai villa. While a Moroccan style is attractive in itself, it is in my opinion, somewhat gauche and inappropriate in a Thai setting.

If you are buying furniture for yourself because you intend to primarily use your Thai villa for your own use then you will want good quality furniture that is going to look good and last a long time. If you are furnishing your villa primarily for rental purposes then cost is a key factor. While the furnishings in a rental villa should be attractive they do not need to be top of the range. Renting out a villa to the public means the furniture is probably going to get more wear and tear then if the villa is just for your own use. Also if you are going to rent your Thai villa you should consider going for a neutral décor that has a generic and accessible feel.

It is important to remember a few things when looking for furniture in Thailand.

1)    When you order the furniture it does not get sent out immediately. Normally furniture suppliers make to order. So don’t forget to leave plenty of time between ordering furniture and making plans to rent out your villa. On average furniture will take 2 months to make.

2)    You cannot always dismiss a furniture supplier in Thailand because they have a clunky website. Although Thais are very adept in putting up websites they often make websites that are lacking in design values.

3)    The biggest areas for buying furniture in Thailand are Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is famous for making heavy traditional pieces of furniture that emphasize the beauty of the wood. Chiang Mai is in the north of Thailand and has access to many rare and beautiful hardwoods. Furniture made in Chiang Mai is often cheaper than furniture made in other parts of Thailand. However, transportation costs can often negate any savings.

4)    Most furniture shops and suppliers will want a 50% deposit paid up front and the other 50% paid on delivery.

5)    If you are sending money to Thailand to pay for furniture then don’t send it in Thai Baht. 9 times out of 10 the Thai bank you are sending the money to will give you a better exchange rate than your local bank.

6)    It is very possible to negotiate with furniture shops. If your order is worth over $1,000 most furniture suppliers will be happy to offer a 10% discount and they sometimes throw in extras such as cushions and bed sheets to further sweeten the deal for you.

7)    Always get 2 or 3 quotes before committing. This will give you a much better idea of what represents good value.

8)    Good green options are furniture pieces made from renewable resources such as coconut, rattan and water hyacinth. Be careful, a lot of what is called ‘rattan’ is actually plastic in a rattan style weave. 

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