Buy furniture in India or Ship from USA before R2I?

Furniture shopping in IndiaFurniture shopping in India: Study Table for $225/Rs.9,900Furniture shopping in India: Bed frame for $850/Rs.38,000

I don’t actually know that if there is a ‘furniture mafia’ but how else can you explain such astronomical prices? Furniture costs roughly twice as much as they do in the U.S. and are half as good in quality. If I had known, I would have shipped the big items from America (except the mattress).

Furniture stores to check out in Delhi/Gurgaon, India

Fab India and Lifestyle were 2 decent stores. They have multiple stores around the city but each location has it’s own selection so you’ll have go drive around the city to find the right pieces. Additionally, many stores don’t put the price on the item and usually don’t have them in stock. Before you start falling in love with anything – ask them to find out the price, if it’s available and when they can deliver. Be prepared to wait for 10 minutes to get an answer since they’ll run up to their office, make a few calls, ask a few people, look up something on the computer and finally consolidate an answer. You’ll have to pay the full amount in advance.

Should you get it custom made by a carpenter?

Getting it custom made will not only guarantee really good quality but will also save you a lot of money. It will, however, require you to be personally involved every step of the way. Sometimes the carpenter won’t show up. Sometimes, they’ll screw up. Go this route if you can get reliable recommendations from your network and have the patience for it.

Major wood types

Teak is considered the best but it only makes financial sense if you get it custom made by a carpenter. In the market you’ll find Sheesham, Mango and Rubberwood.

Furniture shopping in India: Bed frame for $850/Rs.38,000PHOTO: Bed frame for $850/Rs.37,950 (does not include side tables or mattress). This store (Lifestyle) is comparable to an average furniture store in the U.S. When we visited an upscale designer store in a mall in Gurgaon, we were quoted $2,800/Rs.1,25,000 for the cheapest bed frame. I smiled awkwardly and left.

Furniture shopping in India: Dining table for $850/Rs.38,000PHOTO: This dining table in Fab India was for $850/Rs.38,400 with 6 basic chairs. We ended up paying roughly that much for a different set we bought. I still feel ripped off.

Furniture shopping in India: Study Table for $225/Rs.9,900PHOTO: Study desk at Fab India for $225/Rs. 9,900. I didn’t have better alternatives so I bought it. Argh.

Furniture shopping in IndiaPHOTO: Yes, we visited stores next to dug up roads too. This store owner politely said that the store may be too expensive for me. The lowest rung of stores are shacks near Gurgaon and they were priced like IKEA for fairly shabby stuff.

Carpet shopping in IndiaPHOTO: HANDS on MG Road between Delhi to Gurgaon carried the best selection of carpets starting at $300/Rs.13,500 after a steep discount. We ended up getting our carpet from another store for $250. 3 months later, its showing serious wear and tear.


3 local comments so far.
  1. Gautam,

    This blog was helpful. We’re having a near-identical experience in Gandhinagar-Gujarat. Furniture costs are sky-high and quality is not certain. We bought from Fab India with the hope of purchasing good standards (ideally long-lasting items) and feeling the price is perhaps as good as it gets for real-wood.


  2. margo wilson,

    This is a great blog site. I am moving to India next week. I am somewhat emotionally paralysed with anxiety on what to bring, ship, give away.
    I called a cargo shipping company, and have been in shock ever since. I have large pieces of art that my sister left behind when she died. I can do without a lot, but not her work. Several pieces are so big and I was crushed when I heard the price. I will check out the name you listed for shipping. Also, I was so concerned with the water thing I was going to buy some elaborate machine for a ton of dollars. I will definitely go with the water tank. Much cheaper and no fuss.
    Catch you later!!

    • Margo,

      Depending on how long you are moving for, if you are emotionally attached to the art pieces, I’d put them in a good storage in the US instead of shipping it. A lot can and does go wrong with shipping – especially internationally. You can pack a small art piece in your carry on to remind you of the rest.

      Good luck.

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