Home Furnishing Options:
London is expensive so many expats are happy to buy used furniture from the transient population of the city (see Gumtree below). People who want new affordable furniture, however, can find it and there are a few specific places to shop if you don’t mind assembling the furniture yourself. Contemporary furniture is popular and can be found in a variety of places.
Your first stop is John Lewis http://www.johnlewis.com/ This department store has built its reputation on very good customer service. Employees are also share-holders which make a difference when it comes to customers satisfaction. John Lewis has a very good range of home goods. There are several branches; the main branch is in Oxford Street with another good branch in Canary Wharf (Docklands). Goods can also be ordered on line.
This shop doesn’t really need an introduction. The good news is that Ikea UK finally delivers. This is a good option, as many expats and Brits don’t have cars in London, making furniture transport difficult. If you do wish to drive there, branches are located outside of central London in Wembley, Edmonton, Lakeside and Croydon. Prices are affordable and there is a sale in July.
Anyone who’s lived in London knows Argos. This catalog/online only shop carries a massive selection of furniture. Style is modern. Home electronics including televisions and computers can also be purchased from Argos. Argos is known for its low prices. Because there are no displays to view the products, prices are kept down. Obviously, it’s not always easy to purchase something you can’t physically see and touch but Argos is a bargain and an institution. You can order online but there is a fee for delivery. Many Londoners reserve their goods online to pick up in shop. Shops are in major neighborhoods. Try to get there weekdays, as queues can be heavy on weekends. The system of waiting, paying, getting a number, and picking up your stuff is an activity most Londoners will experience at some point at Argos.
Gumtree is the best place for used furniture. Contact sellers directly and bargain for the best price. It is a classifieds-style site and prices vary.
Habitat has branches around the capital. It is similar to Ikea but slightly more expensive. It is, however, easily accessible. Plates, cups, glassware and cutlery are good things to pick up at Habitat. Everything from standing lights to sofas to decorative wallpaper panels can be bought from Habitat. Prices are moderate.
Heal’s is a trendy, upscale designer furniture chain. In addition to furniture, you will find fancy dishes, plush towels and cushions, and cookware fit for the best of chefs. Visit the site for online shopping. Prices are high.
Marks & Spencer: http://www.marksandspencer.com/
Their larger stores offer furniture. In addition you will be able to find all the smaller items such as cushions, cookware etc mid range prices.
The Liverpool entrepreneur’s success story chain is worth visiting for smaller items, bathroom furnishing etc, they change their stock very often and prices are budget.
This extremely popular Japanese retailer is huge in London and there are branches everywhere. The shop offers classic and contemporary furniture, travel accessories, stationery and a huge array of household items. The look is one of simplicity. Prices are affordable.