It’s all fun and games until you get lost in IKEA

Shopping for furniture, under any circumstances, is a bit of a pain. Shopping for furniture in a foreign country, when you aren’t entirely sure of the size of your actual apartment or what it will look like or contain (do we need an oven? curtain rails? we presume its tiled? etc etc) is particularly trying.

It all sounds rather trivial, but when you are intending on staying in one country for about five years, you kind of want your home to be nice.

We started off relatively successfully.. another delicious brunch at the Mall of the Emirates, looked at electronics and homewares and then took off on the metro to Dubai Mall. We saw our new apartment building from the metro – it looks relatively close, although I’m sure it would be sweltering in the summer heat.

The furniture shopping here is a bit random. There is really only high end and lower budget, with everything in between looking kind of cheap anyway. It’s a good thing we don’t have expensive taste, as I would imagine you burn through the dirhams pretty quickly. Some of the American stores like Pottery Barn and West Elm had some really lovely pieces, but it doesn’t seem worthwhile to spend $6000 on a sofa at this stage. We’re more about function over style anyway, which is a good thing, because I believe our new apartment is going to look like an IKEA showroom.

My favorite selection of questionable furniture was on the bottom floor of the Homes R Us out in Oud Metha. It is like something out of a nightmare. Luckily, we were only going there to look at a particular mattress, and upstairs yielded a much less gilded array of furniture. Even some of the more mainstream furniture stores that I’d googled were full of tacky gold accents. We definitely have a different idea of what we consider to be ‘nice’.

For clarification – this falls into the ‘not nice’ category. It also cost $11,000 NZD.

IKEA, despite being a total zoo, yielded some pretty good results. My old flat in New Zealand was full with IKEA style furniture. As long as its comfy enough, we’re happy. We found a few couches Matt was satisfied with, and snaked our way through the rest of the building picking out bits and pieces. Apart from a brief 20 minute period where we both gave up the will to live as we searched for a particular chair type to match a dining table, we came through our experience unscathed.

Armed with about 400 photos of various electronics, homewares and furniture items, I now eagerly await information on what to do next – which hopefully will come in the next few days. Or it might not. It’s that kind of place!


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