Buying furniture abroad

Furnishing your second home

Buying furniture abroad

So, you have finally bought your dream holiday home in the sun! The legal paperwork is done, the flights are booked and there's just one obstacle before you can start the first of many holidays - the furniture!

In fact many properties abroad are sold on with the existing furniture which, may or may not be to your taste. Even if you have a new build or you are inheriting furniture you will almost certainly want to make the place your own.

Buy locally or ship?

This decision will often depend on the range of furniture available locally and how mature the local marketplace is. In southern Spain for example, the Costa Del Sol has many furniture stores and the choice is relatively wide, whereas, a second home in Thailand, for example will offer a much more limited range.

Buying in your home country certainly means you will most likely know where to look. By fixing transport costs you can also tie down the budget carefully and certainly manage the move relatively easily if based within Europe.

Typically, most European countries have a wide choice of international removal companies who have weekly scheduled runs to the more usual expat destinations and this mode can also be useful if you have a typically overstocked home and want to divert some special items to your new home abroad.

If you are inheriting furniture, the second hand market is notoriously poor in terms of cash value, so shipping extra pieces from home is attractive and makes life easier.

Your options abroad

Research your market and work with a specialist. Remember this is your second home and you need to think seriously about how you are going to use it. Will it be your own special place abroad or is it going to pay its way with holiday rentals? These factors will affect how you furnish your new home.

Mad About Furniture  is based on the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain and have been experts in this field for more than 10 years.

Furniture packages are very established in this part of the world and offer many advantages. You can control all your furniture, the style and the budget all from one store and you will be looked after from start to finish. Although this is typically done with a visit to a store it can be handled via the Internet.

Mad About Furniture are specialists with years of experience and offer the following benefits:

  • a wide range of Style and budget options available for immediate delivery
  • dedicated staff to look after the client from purchase onwards, this includes a free survey of the new home to make recommendations of what will work and what will not.  After installation there is typically a free layout service where everything is unpacked, the kitchen items bought and installed, the TV sorted and the beds made. Your only task is to arrive and enjoy!
  • furniture designed for the local market - this is discussed more below but the furniture is typically designed to look great and suit the lifestyle of the area. 

More tips

Buying abroad will often mean lifestyle changes. Living in the sun will mean spending more time outdoors than you would do at home. Suddenly sunbeds, outdoor dining and relaxing become important features in your furniture considerations.

A local specialist like Mad About Furniture  can advise you on what will look great, what will be practical and how to spread your budget sensibly across your home.

A home which needs to generate income from rentals will need different types of furniture. Beds could well need to be separated to accommodate families one week and groups of same sex golfers the week after. Therefore zip beds could be a good option here. Leather sofas and leather headboards are also worth considering as your guests may not be so considerate after red wine and sunscreen are brought into the equation.

For the other end of the scale where money is no object and the home is yours alone you could enlist the help of interior designers. Locally these will offer the same benefits as Mad About Furniture, knowing the local market and what works there. Most people however do have a budget and, whatever the size of the project, a good company will work within the budget to get you the best deal.

Style tips

Don’t think that furniture abroad has to be bright and sunny or, indeed rustic! Most furniture companies know their customers and want to offer them everything within and of course, (if required) outside their comfort zone. That's why companies such as Mad About Furniture have 'White Zones' for their northern European customers (and many others of course) who love the clean lines of white high gloss furniture.

Always give your furniture supplier a brief and go beyond a budget....tell them what you like and what you don't!


Traditionally there's a more relaxed attitude abroad. This means a reputation for untimely deliveries and lots of planning. Delays still of course happen, especially as much of the world's furniture comes from Asia, but, this fact alone means that some companies, including Mad About Furniture, do hold a very large amount of stock for immediate delivery.

Remember if you do want a special item it’s wise to allow 4 - 6 weeks for delivery as they are made just for you! Most established companies use tried and tested suppliers so, yes, as anywhere, delays occur, but don't make it a negative part of your decision to buy furniture abroad.

What about further afield...I've just bought in Egypt!

So, we have talked about the pros and cons of buying in your own country and shipping by truck but, if your new home is not so close by and, you’re not happy with local furniture, there's always another option. Some furniture package specialists are happy to put the furniture inside a container and ship it....literally...anywhere! This is particularly interesting for those more unusual destinations like Thailand, Cape Verde but also, surprisingly closer destinations such as Egypt.

Mad About Furniture have shipped full home packages as far afield as the U.S.A. and Thailand and are happy to assist in the logistics of getting your container of furniture to your new home.

Payment advice

Companies abroad can come and go and the last years have been tough for many. It’s nerve racking making a deposit for a large item and not knowing if your cash is safe. If paying cash, get a sales receipt, or pay with a credit card and ask around locally for an established company.

Remember, furnishing your new home is fun! Choose a great company and enjoy!

This article has been submitted by Mad About Furniture - Atalaya Park, Estepona, Spain

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