We provide a guide to furnishing apartments in Medellín with tips for saving money, where to shop and an actual budget for furnishing a 3-bedroom apartment in Medellín.
We previously provided a guide to renting unfurnished apartments in Medellín and we looked at unfurnished apartment rental costs in five neighborhoods popular with expats in October 2017.
And we now provide a guide to furnishing apartments in Medellín. Since Medellín is a large city with a metro population of about 4 million, Medellín has a wide range of options available for furnishing apartments ranging from ritzy furnishings to budget furnishings. So, the cost to furnish an apartment can vary widely and really depends on your taste and budget.
While this guide to furnishing apartments is focused on Medellín, the tips and several of the store recommendations would apply in other cities in Colombia.
Note the above photo is furniture for sale at Fabricas Unidas.
Furnishing Apartments: My Actual Budget
The following is my actual budget for furnishing a three-bedroom apartment in Medellín, with one bedroom set up as an office.
Note that I brought some items from the U.S. such as two DVD players, pillows, sheets, towels and some kitchen items, so these aren’t included in my above furnishing costs.
Keep in mind that many of the above costs in the above budget are from about eight years ago. But costs have stayed similar for many items and I’m sure I could buy some items, like the TVs now for cheaper.
Also, when I first furnished an apartment nearly eight years ago my total budget was about 10 million pesos. Since that time, I replaced an initial uncomfortable sofa with a two-piece reclining TV sofa and reclining chair and also a reclining leather sofa.
Furnishing Apartments: Where to Find Furniture?
Medellín has many furniture stores. When I first furnished an apartment nearly eight years ago I bought some furniture on Ochenta (near the Floresta metro station). There are several small furniture stores on this street selling Colombian style furniture.
In addition, you can find some furniture in Homecenter. Homecenter has five stores in the Medellín metro area. But much of the furniture at Homecenter is low quality, particle board, assemble-yourself furniture. But they do have some nice patio/balcony furniture and some decent metal/glass desks and office chairs. I bought some balcony chairs and a desk and office chair at Homecenter.
One of the largest furniture stores in Medellín is Fabricas Unidas, which is located in on Autopista Sur in Itagüí. In this store you can buy entire rooms of furniture, which can enable fast furnishing of an apartment. They actually are located in two buildings across the street from each other.
I bought several pieces of furniture at Fabricas Unidas. And Fabricas Unidas frequently has sales. Also, they offer free delivery.
Jamar is another sizeable furniture store located in the Mayorca Mall in Sabaneta that also frequently has sales.
Another good place to buy furniture is in Retiro, which is near Rionegro. You will find many furniture stores in Retiro that have good prices for items like wood beds and dressers. Also, they will build pretty much any furniture if you can provide them a design/plan. In addition, they have catalogs of items not in their stores.
In just about every shopping mall in Medellín you can find mattress stores. However, these mattresses in malls in general are fairly expensive. However, you can find small mattress stores located near the Homecenter store near the Suramericana metro station that sell mattresses for about 40 to 50 percent cheaper.
Furnishing Apartments: Where to Find Appliances?
The big box retailers Exito and Jumbo both sell appliances such as wash machines and refrigerators and smaller appliances like microwaves. Make sure to look for sales, as both stores frequently have sales. Exito has 26 stores in the Medellín metro area. And Jumbo has five stores in the Medellín area.
I bought a wash machine and refrigerator on sale at Jumbo. And they had free delivery. Homecenter also sells appliances and frequently has sales. I bought a microwave at Homecenter.
Two other options for appliances are Alkomprar and Ktronix, which also frequently have sales.
Furnishing Apartments: Where to Find TVs and Other Electronics
Exito and Jumbo also sell TVs and other electronics. And Alkomprar and Ktronix also sell TVs and other electronics.
TVs in all four stores are frequently on sale. So, I would never pay full price for a TV. I bought two TVs at Jumbo that were both on sale at the time of purchase.
Furnishing Apartments: Where to Find Kitchen, Bathroom and Bedroom Items
For items like dishes, pots and pans, towels and curtains, I shopped at Jumbo, Exito and Homecenter.
You can think of Exito and Jumbo as being like Walmart and Target in the U.S. And you can think of Homecenter as being a mix of a Home Depot and a Bed Bath and Beyond in the U.S.
Two other good stores in my experience to find bedroom, bathroom and kitchen items are Home Sentry in Mayorca Mall and Lorito in Premium Plaza Mall.
I also bought some kitchen and bedroom items at the Falabella department store at San Diego mall. In Falabella you can find high-thread-count sheets that are difficult to find elsewhere. And Falabella frequently has sales for bedding. Falabella also sells TVs, furniture and other furnishings.
Furnishing Apartments: Tips to Save Money
The following are my three biggest tips to save money when furnishing an apartment in Medellín.
- Watch for sales and shop around – this is my biggest tip, as all the stores listed above frequently have sales. I don’t recall paying full price for anything when I furnished my apartment. I recommend looking at the online sites of stores where they list sales. And you can compare prices online, particularly for appliances and TVs.
- Look outside of El Poblado for furniture – I looked at furniture stores in El Poblado but found that I could find good quality furniture for lower prices in Fabricas Unidas in Itagüí and also in Retiro.
- Consider El Centro – while I didn’t furnish my apartment by shopping in El Centro, I have talked to several expats that have and saved money. But it can take time to look for items in chaotic El Centro. However, you can find everything including furniture, appliances, TVs; and bed, bath and kitchen items in El Centro.
Medellin Guru’s Guide to Renting Apartments and Choosing a Neighborhood
On the Medellin Guru website, we have a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to renting apartments and choosing a neighborhood in Medellín found in several articles, including:
Renting Unfurnished Apartments:
- Apartment Rental Guide: Renting Unfurnished Apartments in Medellín
- Guide to Finding Unfurnished Apartments in Medellín and Casas
- Guide to Overcoming the Fiador (Cosigner) Requirement in Colombia
- 2019 Unfurnished Apartment Rental Costs in Medellín
- 6 Inexpensive Neighborhoods for Unfurnished Rentals in Medellín
- Furnishing Apartments: A Guide to Furnishing Apartments in Medellín
- Apartment vs Casa (House) Rentals in Medellín: Pros and Cons
Renting Furnished Apartments:
- Furnished Apartment Rental Costs in Medellín – 2019 Survey Results
- Guide to Finding a Furnished Room for Rent in Medellín
- Medellín Real Estate: 2020 Property Buyer’s Guide for Foreigners
- Top 17 Mistakes Foreigners Make When Buying Real Estate in Colombia
- Current Costs to Buy New Apartments in Medellín – 2019 Update
- Rent vs Buy: Downsides of Renting and Buying Property in Medellín
- 11 Things Real Estate Agents in Colombia May Not Tell You
- How to Obtain an Investment Visa for Investments in Real Estate
Choosing a Neighborhood in Medellín:
Also, we have several articles that can be used to help foreigners choose a neighborhood in Medellín:
- What are the Safest Neighborhoods in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley?
- 5 Best Neighborhoods in Medellín: A Guide to Choosing a Neighborhood
- 8 Downsides of El Poblado: Living in Medellín’s Expensive Neighborhood
- Estratos: A Guide to Understanding Estratos in Colombia
- El Poblado vs Laureles: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?
- El Poblado vs Envigado: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?
- El Poblado vs Sabaneta: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?
- El Poblado vs Belén: Which is the Better Neighborhood to Live in?
- 2019 Unfurnished Apartment Rental Costs in Medellín in 5 Neighborhoods Popular with Expats
- 6 Inexpensive Neighborhoods for Unfurnished Rentals in Medellín
The Bottom Line: Furnishing Apartments in Medellín
When I moved to Medellín I didn’t consider shipping big items but I did bring many small items in suitcases like sheets, pillows, some kitchen items and electronics.
I discovered you can find just about everything needed to furnish an apartment in Medellín. Also, the furnishing costs can be similar to what you can find in the U.S. And quality furniture can be cheaper. However, good pillows and high-quality towels are challenging to find.
As my budget above demonstrates, it’s possible to furnish a three-bedroom apartment in Medellín comfortably for about $5,000 at the current exchange rate. I could have spent less but I also could have easily spent much more, as there is a wide range of options available. The bottom line is that the cost of furnishing an apartment in Medellín can vary widely and depends on your taste and budget.
I was renting furnished apartments for about $1,000 per month. And when I started renting unfurnished my cost dropped to less than $650 per month for a three-bedroom unfurnished apartment including utilities. So, ultimately my cost has dropped dramatically for unfurnished rentals compared to furnished, even when factoring in the initial cost to furnish.
In addition, “How to furnish an apartment?” is a common question asked by expats moving to Medellín. So, we included this question in our list of Medellín frequently asked questions (FAQ).
What other experiences do readers have in furnishing apartments in Medellín?
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Thanks for another well detailed article.
As you mentioned bringing sheets from the US and that you bought queen sized mattresses here in Medellin I thought I’d bring up a point which I just experienced.
Queen sized here is not queen sized in the USA. A queen mattress in Colombia is 160 Cm X 190 Cm. In the US and many other countries it is 153 Cm X 203 Cm. So not sure about sheets fitting properly if you have the sheets for the 153 Cm width found in other countries.
In my case I shipped a queen sized bed and bought a mattress here in Medellin. Once it was delivered I found that it wouldn’t fit in to my frame! Who’d have thought?
I was, thankfully, able to have the mattress picked up….at my expense….and got a full refund of the price paid. I then special ordered a mattress through Comodisimo’s and it was delivered within 4 days, and 2 of those were a weekend. Price was the same as I’d paid for the first mattress from Falabella.
Maybe my experience can save someone else the hassle of this situation.
Hi Steve, thanks. Yes, I brought some oversized queen sized sheets for tall mattresses from the U.S, which ended up working. But if you want sheets that fit more perfectly you should buy them here.
Interesting article. Jeff, I’m surprised after all these years in Medellin your best advice is watch for sales and shop around. what about buying some things used? any reconditioned furniture outlets around?
Hi Brian, thanks. There is a market for used furniture. For example, I sold an old sofa when I upgraded via some Colombian friends.
There aren’t many stores selling used furniture that I have seen – one is El Callejon – https://www.facebook.com/elcallejonmueblesusados/. Also some used furniture is advertised online on https://listado.mercadolibre.com.co/ and https://medellin.olx.com.co/. Look for “muebles usados medellin”
And you can sometimes see used furniture being advertised in the local El Colombiano paper. Also, I have seen posts on bulletin boards in some local grocery stores. And there are sometimes posts on the big Medellin Expats Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/159461177529433/
Thanks for another great article. I am going to check out Fabricas Unidas tomorrow as I need a few pieces of furniture.
Fabricas Unidas has another store right across the street from the larger one which has some more upscale stuff. I guess you could say the furniture there is a little more design oriented. Prices can be higher yes but they do have some things reduced at times. I bought a large console for my entertainment center, a coffee table and one end table and they were all reduced by 70% at the time.
It’s worth checking out while you’re there. They have a designer working there if you need assistance with that. Antonio is his name.
Hi Steve, thanks for the info and I love finding stuff on sale.
Some very nice furniture can be had at TUGO’. I furnished my place with ease shopping there. I went on a recommendation but just stumbled in at the right when moment they had some of my important items on sale.
Thanks to this article I went to Fabricas Unidas and found all the furniture items I was looking for and everything was 40% to 70% off. And they even have free delivery!
I am enjoying reading your articles. Thank you! However, this is the second article about renting a furnished apartment, and so far they are not actually about renting a furnished apartment. The first was about furnished rooms, and this one is ultimately about renting an unfurnished apartment and then furnishing it. Can you point me to an article that is actually about renting a furnished apartment?
And again, thank you so much for your informative articles.
This article is about furnishing apartments and we have another article about renting furnished rooms. We don’t yet have an article about renting furnished apartments, as it takes a long time to research current pricing. It is in work but not complete yet.
Jeff, Here in the US, I have furnished my house mostly with high quality furniture purchased at estate sales and 2nd hand stores. I met a girl and was invited by her mother to have lunch at their home. There was no dining table. I have made friends with a driver and asked him to take me shopping for a table. What I saw was all junk. I asked him about second hand stores and he told me they didn’t have such stores in Medellin. However, I googled it (in English) and found several. I bought a beautiful modern heavy durable table with 6 chairs for the equivalent of 300 dollars. delivery was 60 dollars. I can’t remember the name of the store, but it and others should be easily found online. My impression is that you can buy quality used furniture for less in this fashion.