Foreigner's Guide to Buying/Shopping for furniture in Korea
Having just moved to South Korea, one major issue that many foreign families face when settling down is buying furniture. In any country, buying furniture is a long-term commitment, you definitely don’t want a couch that will only last 1 month, or a wobbly kitchen table with uneven legs. Most people want to take the time to visit offline stores to look at furniture that they want to be a part of their family during their stay in Korea. However, there are not many furniture stores that sell their products offline these days, most are moving online making it hard/impossible for foreigners new to Korea to navigate and finalize the payment.
This is why we wrote this guide for foreigners looking to purchase furniture in Korea. Wonderful can help look for nearby furniture stores, help handle payments and purchase furniture online, research and help with communications with the store and the couriers to make your experience hassle-free. We put together this guide based on extensive experience buying furniture for foreign clients in Korea.
Most online furniture stores do not deliver furniture immediately, due to the size of the items. Smaller pieces of furniture can be shipped using postal delivery so they would likely arrive within 1-4 working days. For larger items like sofas, tv stands, or wall units, they usually use a separate courier service to deliver items to you which costs extra and can take around 2 weeks or more. Nicer courier services would call a few days in advance to schedule the delivery time and confirm the cost, however, many places have tight schedules so they can call you a night before or sometimes in the morning. There is usually not much flexibility on delivery, but if we call the store immediately after the purchase, we typically can ask them to consider your preferred times when making their schedule. Most areas in Seoul or large cities like Busan offer free shipping for furniture, however, outside of Seoul they usually charge extra for shipping. There might be additional costs if your home has no elevator and they have to use stairs, and a higher cost if they have to use a ladder truck to lift the furniture to your apartment unit. Ladder trucks typically cost 100,000 KRW an hour so it is a good idea to budget properly when purchasing items.
With a simple English keyword search on a website like Coupang, or Gmarket, you typically can get good furniture options. It is always a good idea to read the full product specifications for details on the shipping costs and assembly fees. Giving the seller a call beforehand might help confirm some details too. However, if you need to browse a wider variety of options, we have listed websites that are focused on selling furniture and home styling/decor items for delivery in Korea.
Modern-House is famous for having a wide variety of furniture at a reasonable price. Most items have a minimalist style, for those looking for simple matching furniture for their home interior.
Hanssem is one of the most famous furniture brands in Korea with good quality and sophisticated design. They do have offline stores all over the country so you can visit their stores directly, or shop online.
Today’s house has grown in popularity in Korea as a one-stop online shop for furniture and other household goods. They provide a wide variety of furniture and are usually affordable with good quality. Being a popular shopping mall, a lot of products have extensive reviews with photos so you can get a better idea of how your item will look on delivery.
House Ggumigi offers a similar website to Today’s house. They also have a large Korean community that is active on the platform so you have no shortage of reviews and examples of complementary furniture pieces and sets. Would be a good source of inspiration for those redesigning their homes.
IKEA is known worldwide for their iconic Swedish designs and their DIY furniture. They have online and offline stores in Korea in both English and Korean. They do use local payment services so that might be challenging if you are new to Korea. When shopping online and offline, you can request for them to deliver and assemble products at your home for an additional fee.
One interesting thing to note is that because they have intricate assembly instructions, many third party handymen or assembly services charge a premium for assembling IKEA items so it is always best to use the original Ikea service people to assemble your items. Also reselling IKEA furniture is hard, especially if they are larger complicated pieces of furniture, due to the high assembly fee. You can check more details on their website.
Unbeknown to most foreigners in Korea, Costco Korea has an online Website where they sell some of their goods by delivery. However, like many other Korean websites, the payment systems they use are definitely not foreigner-friendly. They do not accept regular credit or debit cards which would be inconvenient for most. You also need a Costco membership to make an account. Lastly, not all the items at the store are available online. The food is usually only buyable offline. Wonderful can help set up an account for you and handle payments on your behalf.
There are currently 16 offline Costco stores in South Korea, and a few more stores are going to open soon. You can check out this link for more information.
Apparently, IKEA is one of the hottest dating spots for Korean couples. :) If you want to add onto your next dating idea, click here for a list of IKEA stores country wide. The offline stores are also known for their food and ice cream so lunch on your date is taken care of. 😁
Wonderful can help purchase IKEA Items that are only available offline too. We can send a courier to go and purchase the item directly at the store, and schedule for delivery to your intended address. Offline deliveries can be quicker than online deliveries.
Korean Brand Stores
If you are looking for local brand furniture stores, there are many department stores that have floors with various brands such as Casamia, iloom and Hansem. While you can shop on their websites you can also visit the nearest department store to check on the furniture section. That might give you a better idea for what you need. Local brands do offer good customer service and extensive warranty options for the products so you might want to consider them.
You might have already seen these but there are some streets in Korea that have stores that specialize in selling specific types of furniture. They typically offer generous discounts and you can look at the items themselves before you purchase them. Though they might not have large items such as sofas or wall units, they might be worth visiting if you have the time. Famous streets are :Jong-ro 13 ( Office chairs, coffee shop chairs), Hwanghak-dong ( Kitchen furniture ), Ilsan Gagu Danji ( Antique furniture, Imported furniture)
Interior Design Consultants
We do get some clients looking for a professional interior design service in Korea that can redecorate a home with a custom theme in mind. Contrary to what you might think interior companies (인테리어) in Korea do not really do private interior design consultations. They typically sell and install home interior items such as wallpapers, flooring, and kitchen tiles, but they would not consult with you to discuss design tips on matching decor. There are not many companies that offer this in English, though we have found some in the past and they were not cheap. Send us a message if you need help searching for one who can help you.
Wonderful can assist with making the furniture buying experience in Korea hassle free by researching on the details before you purchase the item, handling payments and coordinating on the delivery of the items. We have done so for years with thousands of clients and would be happy to help you too.
To make your request with Wonderful about furniture delivery or any other request, you may contact us on the following channels: Facebook, Kakao Talk or Email.
Regarding our pricing, we charge for the time taken working on your request at 800 KRW/min (There is a 15% discount for first time users), and you can get a refund on the remaining time within 3 months. There are NO processing fees when you pay us via bank wire transfer. (You will pay only the cost of the item(s)). When we charge your bank card, there is an 8.5% processing fee that goes to the payment processor for their services. We do NOT benefit from this fee. For more information regarding our pricing, please follow this link.
You might also find these links useful:
- How to report your change of address in Korea, avoid getting fined
- Tips for hiring a housekeeper
- 8 Services Expats need to prepare for summer in Korea
- Introduction to delivery service in Korea
- Foreigner's food guide to food delivery in Korea