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.
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 Suramercana 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.
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.
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.
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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