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Furnishing your Belgian home
You’ve arrived in Belgium, congratulations! Should you have found a place to live, the next question is: How do you furnish it?
Finding the perfect appliance or piece of furniture is heavily dependent on individual preference. Price, style, utility, comfort and ‘can I get it here without a van’ are highly selective values.
Here, therefore, is a variety of useful tips and resources to help the decision-making process go more smoothly. Almost all of these offer delivery services for large items, but service fees vary widely.
They may not be that original, but they certainly have everything and come at incredibly reasonable prices. For new homeowners or renters on a limited budget, these major chains are the way to go
IKEA: The largest chain of furniture shops in the world has eight outlets in Belgium. The Brussels store is in Anderlecht and there is also one in Zaventem. Sofas, tables of every sort, bookshelves, wardrobes, tableware, bedding, storage boxes and fitted kitchens.
You can rent a van to get it all home or even ask them to bring it to you and put together anything that needs assembled. Fair warning: The prices for this kind of service are not as cheap as the furniture.
Carrefour: If you thought this chain only sold groceries, think again. The hypermarket outlets sell homeware, some simple furniture, small and large appliances and electronics.
MediaMarkt: Belgium's biggest electronics chain, MediaMarkt sells large and small appliances, every kind of electronics known to man and enough digital devices to induce choice overload. There are outlets all over the country, including several in Brussels.
Krefel: Chain with small and large appliances, electronics and full kitchens. Shops are all over the country, and there are four outlets in Brussels. Delivery and intallation are available.
IHPO: If you're into locally owned, this warehouse full of appliances has six locations across Belgium, including two in Brussels. Good prices, including for delivery and installation, and solid service, too. Look out especially for the fin de serie models (end of stock). And they'll happily haul your old appliances away.
Brico: Although known as Belgium’s largest DIY retailer, Brico also sells home decor items like lamps and other lighting, bathroom accessories and furniture you put together yourself. Its garden centre is the place to go for terrace furniture. Moreover, you'll find all the tools here you need to assemble and mount your new purchases. There's also a massive selection of paint.
Blokker: This chain offers a variety of small appliances, cookware and tableware for very reasonable prices. Shops located throughout the country, with several in Brussels.
More design, but still a little Swedish in terms of price
For those who would like to graduate from Ikea, but need a sofa for less than €5,000
Maisons du Monde: Located smack dab in the centre of Brussels on Boulevard Anspach, Maisons du Monde is the perfect fusion of high-quality and reasonable prices. The French brand offers all sorts of original pieces of furniture, tableware and home decor and is committed to sustainable development practice.
You can get an idea of the collection on the website. And once a piece is in your home, you can still return it within seven days if you decide it's just not working.
Vastiau-Godeau: An independent retailer with a large showroom and some very nice pieces. It’s located just south of Brussels in Beersel, but check out the designs online, and you might decide its worth the trip. Bonus: It’s open on Sundays.
Heylen: This locally owned outlet offers more traditional pieces at prices that are generally within reach (especially during the sales periods). Two locations in Belgium include one in Kortenberg, between Brussels and Leuven. Conveniently open on Sundays and holidays.
La Vaisselle au Kilo: Located on Rue Haute among more expensive antique shops, this is a hidden gem for quality tableware and kitchen accessories at prices similar to IKEA. Also open on Sundays.
Zara Home: The ever popular Spanish clothing chain's home furnishing line has an outlet right on Avenue Louise. A variety of beautifully designed accessories such as carpets, tableware, bedding and curtains. Online shopping available.
The sky’s the limit
You cannot put a price on design. If the piece fits, you’ll buy it
Flamant: Design so beautiful, it makes you want to melt. With outlets across the country, including one in the Sablon area of Brussels, it's the perfect place to splurge, or just get inspiration. The entire collection is also available online.
Sablon – Marolles District: Lovers of antiques, art objects and ultra chic shops, this is the district for you. If you enjoy searching for the objects of your dreams, come here and tour the many designer outlets and boutiques.
Sometimes an old table just needs a bit of sanding and staining, or a worn bookshelf a fresh coat of paint
Les Petits Riens: This chain of second-hand shops across Brussels and Wallonia offers a wealth of furniture, homeware, tableware and large and small appliances, much of it still in great shape. Its workers test and repair donations, so you know that blender will work once you get it home.
Delivery service is available for large items, though if you want them carried above the ground floor, you might be on your own. Should you want to donate items to Les Petits Riens, there is also a pick-up service. But be aware that they can reject items if they so choose.
2ememain.be: is Belgium’s biggest buy-and-sell site. You can find anything and everything here, sold by private parties. Buyer beware, of course, and most things you'll have to pick up yourself. But prices are often rock bottom – or even free.
Place de Jeu de Balle flea market: Right in the middle of the Marolles design district is this popular daily flea market. All sorts of unique second-hand objects are on offer. Prices range from incredibly cheap to over-the-top, so bartering is encouraged.
While vintage items are used, they are usually hard-to-find pieces from the 1950s through the 1980s and cost much more than in your average second-hand shop. Aside from its antique shops, Brussels has a couple of stand-out vintage markets
Brussels Vintage Market: You’ll find both vintage and second-hand furniture and objects on the first Sunday of every month at Halles Saint-Géry.