Porteños are believers in hand-me-down and second-hand furniture. Furniture stores, or ‘mueblerías’, aren’t everywhere in the city, but there is a high concentration of them along Avenida Libertador in the Belgrano area. These stores tend to be more modern in style, and many give the option of custom designing. The preferred style now is rather modern, however many porteños and expats choose to decorate their homes in a more traditional old world style, with hardwood floors, large wooden colonial style furniture, and rich earth tones. You’ll have an easier time finding new furniture in a modern style than you will classic furniture.
Many expats use the ‘For Sale’ section of Craigslist to do their furniture shopping, as there are always new listings from other expats who are looking to purge their items after a stint in Argentina. Because many of these people are looking to sell quickly, a little wiggle room on price is normal and expected. There’s also Mercado Libre, a popular auction site used by locals and expats to buy and sell items including furniture. Keep in mind that items in Argentina are not cheap and inflation is causing prices to continuously increase. New furniture is expensive, and “budget” furniture stores don’t really exist. Also keep in mind, though, that you get what you pay for.
Most stores in the city limits of Buenos Aires don’t have websites, so like anything else here, ask around for a recommendation or take a walk around your neighborhood. All stores deliver, and keep in mind if you’re living in an apartment, how the delivery men will be able to get the furniture up to your unit. There are times when they’ll simply say it won’t fit, and they take it back – but you’ll still get charged a delivery fee, sometimes upwards of US$100.
Capital Diseño & Objetos in Palermo, at Honduras 4958, is a modern furniture store that also offers design consulting. It has very modern furniture with an aim of utilizing space. They also offer a bridal registry service. Price range is moderate to high.
Condorde Interiores in Belgrano, on Av. Belgrano 2087, is another modern furniture store. They have a wide selection, and a great website to view it. Price range is high.
If you’re looking for antiques, you have two good options. The first is the Mercado de las Pulgas (literally ‘Flea Market’) located at the western corner of Palermo Hollywood. This mercado has a plethora of vendors with all types of antique and second-hand furniture pieces, especially dining tables and cabinets, as well as decorative pieces like mirrors, paintings and chandeliers. After years of renovation, the mercado reopened at its original warehouse location (Avenida Dorrego and Alvarez Thomas) in June 2011. Open 10am-7pm, Tues-Sun.
Your other option is the antiques district of San Telmo, which is focused on Defensa street between Avenida San Juan and Plaza Dorrego (not to be confused with Av. Dorrego above). Prices in these stores are high, and most will be listed in US dollars, but don’t be afraid to shop around and bargain for a good deal.
Easy and Sodimac are two large department store chains that sell new furniture, appliances and hardware at relatively decent rates. Easy has several locations in the city, including Av. Bullrich 345 (next to the Jumbo supermarket) in Palermo. The nearest Sodimac is located on Av. Libertador in Vicente Lopez, just over the General Paz outside city limits.