Most rental properties in Beijing come furnished, although if you’re staying for a while, you may want to refurnish a bit, as your tastes are likely to differ from the landlord. There are several European furniture stores in Beijing, and their prices will match their pedigree as imports. Locals tend to shop at furniture centres that cater to Chinese consumers. Some of these shops can make excellent tailored furniture at a reasonable price, in which case bring a catalogue with photos or illustrations. ‘Antique’ furniture is easy to find in Beijing, and a few reproduced pieces can certainly add character to a room. Carrefour and Walmart both sell household appliances, in addition to the listings below.
Having recently expanded to a bigger location in the hip 798 Art District, InRetro features European furniture, lighting and glassware from the ‘50s to the ‘70s. The showroom recreates contemporary styles, including a replicated ‘60s sitting room. These high-quality imports aren’t cheap, and include items by noted designers Charles and Ray Eames, and Egon Eiermann.
Ceramic First Street, Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang
(010) 5975 9312
This international chain specialises in Scandinavian modular furniture for children. Items here cost significantly more than at IKEA or local retailers, but the quality and durability of the pieces are considered worth the price for parents who intend to keep using their children’s furniture for multiple kids. Play pens, desks, shelves, linen and beanbags are just a few of the popular items here. There are five locations in Beijing.
Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm
3/F, Red Star Macalline, 193 Dajiaoting Qiao, Chaoyang
(010) 8795 1515
B2/F, Cofco Plaza, 8 Jianguomennei Dajie, Dongcheng
(010) 6524 2726
IKEA is a staple of the expat population in Beijing. This mega-store sells Swedish-style products for every room in your home, and also carries household goods like pots and pans, plants, candles and more. The Beijing IKEA is similar to any other IKEA, but it also serves as a kind of recreation centre for Chinese families who come to lounge on the furniture and marvel at the inventory. IKEA is also the most reasonably priced furniture store catering to Western tastes.
59 Futong Dongdajie
(010) 6479 2345/800 810 5679
Dara is a trendy store that’s very popular with expats for specialising in Asian and European furniture and homeware designs. Besides selling all sorts of furniture, dishware, lamps and other accessories, Dara also offers a small collection of antiques. Prices are higher than IKEA but less than other Western-style furniture stores.
Inside the 798 New Art Zone, 2 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Lido
(010) 6434 5382
3, Phase1, Central Park, 6 Chaowai Dajie
(010) 6597 0650
Lily’s Antique Furniture at Gaobeidian Furniture Street
For custom-made furniture, head to the Gao Bei Dian street, which is lined with stalls and shops of different craftsmen that sell reproductions of classic Chinese furniture and can quote you a price for your own design as well. Browsing all of the designs and watching the skilled craftsmen is worth a trip in itself. Most vendors speak limited English so bring a translator and be prepared to bargain down at least 20 percent off the quoted price. A good place to start is Lily’s, which features a 6,000 sqm showroom that offers a variety of traditional and modern styles from various countries: Pakistani rugs, Indian trunks, Italian sofas and Brazilian coffee tables.
Gaobeidian Showroom, 69 Gaobeidian Furniture Street, Chaoyang
(010) 8579 2458
Ethan Allen (Markor Furnishings)
Markor sells high-quality American-style furniture and accessories. Many of the pieces are retro favorites, such as the black leather sofas and Victorian four-poster beds. The dining and bedroom sets are also popular.
108 Isihuan Dong Lu, Chaoyang-Sanyuanqiao
(010) 8483 1330/800 818 6337
1-3/F, Bldg A, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang
(010) 5869 2323
Gome Household Electrical Appliances
Gome is a national chain that sells a wide range of standard electrical appliances. The staff is very capable and many of them speak English. There are also locations in Haidan.
Shuangjing Qiao West, Chaoyang
With 41 stores across Beijing, it’s easy to find a branch of this reliable chain, which stocks domestic and foreign brands of household appliances, TVs, DVD players, PCs and the rest.
200 metres west of Dawang Qiao, Jianguo Lu (across from Wanda Plaza, near Chaoyang Park)
800 810 9110