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Provisional Furniture Research

If I had to move right now, here's the furniture I'd have to use: a comfy chair, a folding chair, five bookshelves, a set of CD shelves, a wardrobe, and an air mattress. That's it. I was very efficient about getting rid of our furniture back in Toronto.

At some point in the coming months, we'll be moving, and when that happens, we'll need more furniture. I'm familiar with Ikea and John Lewis as furniture sources. We don't yet know what styles or prices we'll want, but it couldn't hurt to start to become more familiar with our options. Where else would you go, and why, for any and all kinds of furniture shopping in England, or, in particular, Greater London?

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
taldragon
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
Argos seems to be ok. Siggy ordered furniture from Tesco, but it seems to be variable (some of the chests of drawers are good, some were really hard to assemble. however i'm not sure if that's just my DIY ineptitude).

edit: MFI seem to be ok for cheap disposable furniture.

Edited at 2008-03-13 11:04 am (UTC)
hawkida
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
Seconded on Argos. They have a bit of a reputation for being kind of chav-central (I recently heard a joke that claimed the reason they are run as they are is to keep clientele in a surrounding as familiar as the job-centre they're used to hanging out in) but they do delivery and they are well priced and the stuff I've had from them has been good quality and lasted well.
stormwindz
Mar. 13th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
Possibly not a representative experience but...
The bookcases we've had are all sliding apart (flimsy and only one book deep). The sofa died after less than 6 months (bits of sharp wood dig into your back and the springs have come out the other side). They once delivered all our furniture to a neighbor's house and then were unable to tell us where it was delivered (!) Mark was on his own and of course couldn't carry anything and they refused to come back. The rolling basket-shelf thing for the kitchen rusted within 6 months, not due to getting wet but I can only presume from steam? The above door hooks bent and flattened...

I would not recommend Argos for furniture. Small items like shower rails and batteries and extension cords, fine.
(Deleted comment)
ladymoonray
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
Yes, I agree on the pine warehouses; I got most of my bedroom furniture from Lincoln Furniture Warehouse in Maidstone and it's lovely, but you can probably find a more local equivalent. If you buy from Argos, go for the ready-assembled stuff and it will be a lot better than the price might suggest. Don't forget DFS for three-piece suites, but only go there if there's a sale on. If there isn't one on at the time you want to go, you shouldn't have to wait longer than a week for the next one! Remember that lots of suites have to be ordered though, and take about 8-12 weeks to be made.
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
I shall investigate. I know there's a Homebase conveniently located to the place we're aiming to move to. No idea what the local pine place would be yet though.
black_faery
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
I would avoid Argos/Homebase unless your budget is decent - for the same sorts of prices the furniture from Ikea is far better quality. I know this because Rich spent £120 on his bed, I spent £110 on mine, and mine looks about twice the price and is far sturdier.

As far as things like a chest of drawers goes, again I would stick with Ikea unless you can afford a good quality one from elsewhere - the amount of use they get means that buying cheap is just a waste of money. I have decent depth and width in my drawers, and that's far more useful. :-)
sioneva
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
I agree - we have a bookshelf from Ikea that was a tad bit more expensive than the one from Argos. The one from Argos was retired last year due to the fact that it couldn't hold anything larger than a paperback without a shelf buckling! The one from Ikea is still going strong!
black_faery
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
When I moved into the new house, I upgraded all my bookshelves (the remaining two Argos ones) to Billy ones - which are fabulous, and will take all the hefty hardbacks and art books I can dump on them! :-D
sioneva
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Bookshelves that can't hold big art books are the bane of my existence! I'm still sad that I had to leave my really *good* quality, hand-built wood bookcase in Austin when I finished my MA. It fit my art books beautifully and didn't buckle at all.
black_faery
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
I have a huge, amazing great chunk of a book on anatomy... http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anatomy-Drawing-School-Geza-Feher/dp/3895082899/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205421390&sr=8-10 it's too tall and too deep to sit on a 'normal' bookcase, and weighs a tonne - I had to have it standing on the floor beside my old bookcases. But it now sits happily on my Ikea one. *hearts*
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
All five of our current bookshelves are Billy ones - and we're going to have the space for MORE BOOKSHELVES! when we move. (Five really isn't all that many bookshelves. There are also a few ones built-in where we currently are.)

Edited at 2008-03-13 03:55 pm (UTC)
black_faery
Mar. 13th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
I now have five full height Billys, and two half-height ones. And am wondering where I will put number eight... ;-)

I am also wondering where Rich will put anything he wants to put on bookshelves...like books, DVDs, CDs, etc... umm..... :-S

Edited at 2008-03-13 04:14 pm (UTC)
rjw1
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:36 am (UTC)
there are quite a few furniture stores on tcr.
i do recommend Mutliyork. they had the style we were looking for. I hate sofas which have no back support.
http://rjw1.livejournal.com/38523.html


owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
I like sofas with back support too. Thanks.
a_d_medievalist
Mar. 13th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC)
Craigslist? childeric was just getting rid of a bed, and I think someone took it for the purpose of tarting up a house for sale, but may be getting rid of it after that. (Not that you need to get used stuff -- I'm just thinking of additional options)
ms_cataclysm
Mar. 13th, 2008 12:53 pm (UTC)
We have a very nice plain Welsh pine wardrobe and matching tall chest of drawers which we bought for our tenants and turned out to be a duplicate. It is still in its flat packs . Would you be interested ? (Cheap of course).

We got some very nice stuff from ebay but you do need a friend with a van or a roof rack.
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you, but it's way too early in the process to do more than scout out furniture options. I don't want to actually acquire anything else until we've completed and thus have somewhere to put the furniture.

We may well go furniture shopping this weekend - but we're not going to buy yet.
sioneva
Mar. 13th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
I've been told by my boss that you can get incredible deals on NEW furniture from auctions. She's an inveterate auction shopper.
miramon
Mar. 13th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
It depends what you're after. You might want to consider looking at Heals or Habitat if you're after a couple of nice or stylish things and are prepared to pay for them. New Heights also looks likes good stuff, though we've never bought from them so I don't know what they're like as a company. Lombok if you're into the ethnic look. The other place we've bought stuff from recently is BackInAction (for when it suddenly makes sense to spend a thousand quid on a chair that definitely won't leave you with back pain).

If you're buying in bulk, I'd go to IKEA.
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Several stores I haven't heard of! Excellent - I'll investigate them. We're not entirely sure what we're after yet, but are certain that we should do more research this time than we did last time we bought lots of furniture (in Toronto). It would be nice to have some slightly more coherent rooms than we've had in the past.
sam_t
Mar. 13th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
I'd go to IKEA before either MFI or Argos - Argos is OK if it's got exactly what you want (and you're not expecting it to last a lifetime) but MFI seems like similar quality for more money. On the other hand, I find IKEA sofas rather uncomfortable: my Argos sofas have been fine for about 6 years but are getting to the point of needing new foam and probably new fabric. I've been fairly happy with them but will probably aim for something a bit more lasting when I eventually replace them.

There are usually good options for pine furniture, although you may have to look carefully to avoid the bright-orange-excessively-cottagey sort. A lot of towns have shops of the pine warehouse sort, and I've got a pretty reasonable set of bedroom furniture with solid wood and actual proper joints that came from one of those places. I've started noticing a few more pine workshops in villages recently, so it's probably worth trying google and/or the Yellow Pages to see if there are any in your area.

Second hand options are various, and can be a good bet for something that is supposed to last, like solid wood tables or cupboards or bookshelves. Oxfam occasionally has furniture shops, there are all the usual locations for small ads, and businesses that specialise in house clearance can be interesting places to browse if nothing else.
owlfish
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Useful suggestions. Thank you for opinion on where MFI rates in all this too. I suspect we will be investigating whatever our local pine place is.
targaff
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
If you're going to be up here again any time soon and have transport back home we're likely to have some pieces we can dispose of in your direction. Still not entirely sure what yet, though.
owlfish
Mar. 14th, 2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for offering, but until the purchase goes through and we actually have a house (i.e. somewhere to put things), I can't commit to anything.
targaff
Mar. 15th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
Well it's nearly 3 months until we leave anyhow, so there's time yet.
ext_36350
Mar. 15th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
Used
We moved a lot, and I had great luck with used-furniture stores and auctions. Partly it depends on you and your tastes. We liked older stuff, and used is a whole lot cheaper than new, and there seems to be a lot of it around. Craigslist, even Goodwill type stores - yard sales - you never know where a good piece will pop up.

We also have had a lot of Ikea bookcases; they come apart for moving, even. They are amazingly sturdy. Kids storage cabinets we bought for our son are still in use, countless moves later. There is also an Ikea table we buy, very cheap, it folds down to about 1m x maybe 80 cm, and then folds out and twists double in size. They also come apart for moves; I have three, one as a hall table, one as a couch table and one in my work room. When I give a dinner, they all come together and can seat 14. Pretty cool and very flexible.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )