Years ago, there were not many options in Mexico when it came to finding furniture.
There was mainly one department store with low-end items from which to choose.
Luckily, things have changed. You no longer need to drive the four or five hours each way to a large city, or try to navigate the traffic in Mexico’s larger cities.
For those who have a higher budget, Mexico offers a plethora of interior designers. Interior designers generally charge a flat rate for their design consulting services. In addition to this flat rate, they mark up any items you purchase through them. This option appeals mostly to discerning clients and those who have large budgets. In addition to having someone with a design eye create your look, they also coordinate shipping and delivery.
There are department stores that offer some furniture and décor. Their offerings gear more towards the styles and budgets of most Mexican buyers – low priced, ultra-basic pieces. Ultra-basic pieces are focused on price point, not on comfort or quality of manufacture or materials. Although the prices are low, you will most likely need to replace it within a couple of years. One department store is known for pricing their items high so that they can have regular sales to attract buyers. Department stores coordinate shipping and delivery often free of charge.
Big box stores are a great place to get your household goods such as linens, kitchenware, small appliances and electronics. Most of their furniture is made from lower-quality materials and processes. Their items are imported primarily from Taiwan and China. Fake leather (tacto piel) sofas, low-grade particleboard dining sets and PVC outdoor furniture do not last in this climate. They will need to be replaced within one to two seasons. Some stores have on-site third-party delivery companies at an additional cost but do not offer delivery.
Carpenters offer the do-it-yourself option for furnishing your home. For some, it can be a great experience. For others, it is frustrating, especially when they need to chase to get updates and the work completed. Based on word of mouth, it seems to be a 50/50 toss up on whether the carpenter will do a good or bad job on your project. If you do go this route, always provide a detailed drawing with precise measurements.
The most significant downside is that many people do not receive what they envisioned. The upside is you could end up with a one-of-a-kind piece. Always get recommendations and referrals for carpenters. Be cautious of side-of-the-road carpenters who use pine wood and old car oil to stain it. Right now, there is a high demand for both carpenters and wood. This is problematic. If a carpenter who is usually known for excellent work is too busy, he brings on additional workers. This workforce tends to be friends and family. The person building your furniture may not be the same person who did a great job on your neighbor’s item. The high demand for wood means that even the best carpenter may be working with wood that is not completely dry. Unless appropriately dried, your wood furniture item is likely to crap, warp or bow. Carpenters do not generally offer any warranty. When it comes to delivery, most carpenters will deliver right to your home at no additional charge.
Online furniture stores are the newest and arguably the easiest, least stressful option available. You can browse and buy from the comfort of your home north of the border and have everything delivered before you set foot in Mexico. The downside is you may not be able to try out or see your items before you order them. Some online stores are setting up show stores where you can see sample pieces, covers, and finishes. Make sure the company offers a good return policy and check for referrals and references from previous customers. Online furniture stores handle shipping, generally to the ground floor of your condo or casa.
Today, there is a lot more to look at when it comes to furniture, and the prices are pretty much the same as in the larger cities. Save yourself the drive and support your local businesses.
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