By Fiona Hurrell, Senor Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Anyone who has moved to Rio will have found that the choice between a furnished or unfurnished apartment both have their pros and cons. For many however, the desire to design their new home themselves is greater – yet this in itself poses a significant question of where to find good quality furniture – at affordable costs.
Anyone who has visited an Ikea furniture store in the U.S. or Europe will have found a huge variety of items all under one huge roof and for massive bargains.
In Rio’s Zona Sul (South Zone) area there is little to compare, however in Barra da Tijuca there is a large scale store called Etna which sells a large range of home and office furnishings.
Tok & Stok is another furniture retailer situated in a number of shopping malls including Rio Plaza shopping in Botafogo and in the Cassino Atlântico shopping center in Copacabana. Furniture is modern in design and bargains are slightly fewer but still well worth a look.
Jungle in Ipanema, on Rua visconde de Piraja 44, sells a multitude of furnishings from wardrobes and cabinets to beds and shelves to suit all tastes and budgets. Alternatively, SAARA market in Centro stocks a huge variety of things including light furniture such as shelves, draws and other storage items all at very affordable prices.
For those who prefer a more traditional style of furniture, Lapa has a number of antique stores which are great to visit just to see some of the beautiful ornate chandeliers. Prices are on request and depend on condition and value of the individual pieces.
Yet an innovative new option has arrived connecting sellers and buyers of used furniture and household items in Rio, a Facebook group named Gringos Buy & Sell. For many homemakers on a budget, or overwhelmed by the expensive and foreign process of negotiating furniture stores in Rio, this dynamic new resource solves a few challenges.
Christa Pickering is an expatriate who founded the solution dedicated to helping foreigners, and explains how her own personal quest prompted her to create the online group. “I set up Gringos Buy & Sell for selfish reasons after living in Rio for four years in fully furnished apartments we finally moved into an apartment we could furnish ourselves.”
She adds “Everyone has different tastes and there is also the language problem when you first get here, trying to figure out what Brazilians call a bookshelf in Portuguese. Also what are the names of the different stores so you can look them online before visiting them, that I found the trickiest!”
Pickering also explains, to be able to list items on the group’s page there is one rule which users must adhere to. She states “All communication is strictly in English so newcomers have the freedom to ask as many questions as possible and almost all vendors are very helpful with details and direction and so forth.”
As for the items people list, Pickering feels there are many deals to be had, stating “Most [sellers] recently have been selling stuff that they have only had for four to six months so why [buy something] brand new when you can pay two thirds to half the price for something that was barely used or not used at all.”