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How to Furnish Your Home when Moving Internationally

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Furnishing your home after moving abroad is often an afterthought. Many homes that are sold or rented to foreigners come pre-furnished because it is difficult, expensive, and sometimes illegal to ship furniture overseas from your home country. However, your new home could contain furniture that is insufficient. How can you furnish your home after an international move?

Why you should not ship your furniture from home

The most obvious solution to an under-furnished home abroad is to move your furniture from home to your foreign abode. Unfortunately, this causes so many problems that it is rarely worth the effort and money.
  • International moving rates are based on volume. Furniture takes up a lot of space and will make the move more expensive.
  • Anything large or expensive may be held up in customs and/or taxed. If your furniture contains certain animal parts, like ivory, it may not be permitted in some countries at all.
  • International shipments take a long time to arrive. You probably won’t have your shipped furniture for several weeks--maybe even months. What will you do until then?
  • Many international moves are temporary, which means you will have to move all of your furniture back home with you when you return. That is an unnecessary, costly hassle.

Get new furniture

If you can’t use old furniture, get new furniture for your international home. Ideally, you’ll buy or rent furniture that can be delivered to your new home since you probably will not have the time, vehicle, or local knowledge necessary to visit a foreign furniture store to buy new furniture.

If you know the dimensions of the space available in your new home before your move, you could contact a furniture service before you arrive and try to have the furniture delivered shortly after you move into your home. Take some time to measure the space and doorways of your new home before committing to any new furniture.

Where do you get the furniture?

You have a few options for furniture services, especially if you’re moving to Europe. There are specialized furniture package companies that provide furnishing for homes in international locations. Fro example, a UK website called Furniture Overseas has a lot of packages available to a wide variety of countries.

Ikea is also an option. Ikea is a huge international furniture company that sells and delivers affordable furniture to a variety of countries. You usually need to assemble their pieces, however.

A more risky option is eBay, which is available in most countries. You can find a variety of furniture being auctioned off online. Be wary of misleading images and descriptions when purchasing from strangers. Also, remember that eBay is an auction site and nothing is guaranteed. The eBay process is not very fast, so if your new home does not have any furniture, you may want to choose a different option.

Dealing with the worst case scenarios

You are going to spend time in an unfurnished home unless you time everything right and know the correct dimensions of your space before moving in. If your home has no furniture at all, you may have to come up with a way to hold out until furniture shipments arrive.
  • If you have a bed, you're good for now. The only piece of furniture that is necessary for making a home livable is a bed. Tables, couches, and chairs would be nice, but they can wait. If your foreign home has a bed but nothing else, try to wait for your other furniture and live with just having a bed until shipments arrive.
  • Ask your landlord for furniture. If you are renting an apartment from a landlord, ask if you can borrow any furniture from other rooms until your shipment arrives. He may not have any since he is already renting you a room without furniture, but it is worth asking. Perhaps another temporarily vacant room can spare something for a limited amount of time.
  • Consider a hotel or hostel. If your home doesn’t even have a bed available to you, look for a local hotel or hostel while you are waiting for your furniture shipment. Unless you brought a sleeping bag and want to save money, sleeping without a bed is not an option.
  • Look for second-hand furniture. Although you are not familiar with the area or the culture in a new country, furniture is universal. Ask your new neighbours if they can part with any of their furniture and look for offers for free or cheap furniture in the area.

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on January 22, 2015 - Moving Expert
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