I'm finding it a bit of a challenge to find things for the house here compared to the U.S. or Manila. At first I thought it was because I was not familiar with the stores, but after reading a few home decor magazines that interviewed other expatriates, it turns out I am not alone.
For example, the department stores in Manila will have just about everything under one roof - it was just a question of which store carried the version or brand you wanted. Here, one store will have a few things and you'll have to go to other stores to find the other things you need.
And the same applies to grocery stores too - I visited five supermarkets before being able to find decaf coffee. I assumed that because this place is such a busy port, there would be loads of options. Turns out not.
So I've decided to list the few shops I've been to in case someone might find the information useful. I could not take photos though as picture taking is usually not allowed.
When it comes to the home section, it's a little smaller than the other department stores, but you'll never know what you might find so still worth going to.
There are many tempting things to buy here though a bit pricey compared to IKEA. They had a wooden magazine holder in aqua blue with inner yellow and white stripes for SGD 22.40.
Definitely worth a second visit as I found quite a few shops selling quirky decor pieces for the house. There's a store selling tablecloths from India - loved the designs (price range was around SGD 60-100 depending on the size).
You'll also find the Parisilk appliance store in this area. Based on the forums I've checked, their prices are lower compared to other stores found in malls. I inquired about the Canon Powershot S110 a few weeks ago, and they were selling it for SGD 70 less than Best Denki.
Howard's Storage World
This is where we bought our laundry hamper, shower caddy and kitchen drawer organizers among other things. I prefer this place over IKEA when it comes to buying things for home organization.
I had to restrain myself from buying most everything here otherwise the apartment will look like an IKEA catalogue. And if you want nice and affordable lamps, this is definitely the place to go to. We live next door to Jalan Besar where you'll find rows of stores selling light fixtures. But it was only in IKEA that I found something that I liked not only in terms of looks but also in price point.
Same as BHG.
Another interesting place to buy decor, table and kitchenware. Though in terms of style and more options, I'd go with Francfranc.
King & King Wong
Worth a look since they're similar to Iwannagohome and Francfranc and they seem to have more furniture pieces.
Lim's Arts and Living
If you're a fan of Asian decor or antiques, then this place should be on your itinerary. They have branches in Holland Village and City Square Mall.
Mega Discount Store
Almost all of our appliances came from here - vacuum cleaner, iron, dvd player, electric fan, etc. I compared them with the sale prices of Courts and Mega Discount was way cheaper for the same model and brand.
Tons of clocks, but only if you like modern design. The same goes for their furniture.
For the minimalists out there, they have plastic storage boxes, furniture, towels and bed linen.
As mentioned in a previous post, they have more options when it comes to bedsheets, mattress toppers, pillows, etc. And sometimes, they're cheaper too.
Looking for reasonably priced teak furniture? Then you'll have to drop by this place. If I remember correctly, they were selling a six-seater dining set for SGD 700+. A buffet table made of teak was going for around SGD 250+. The catch is they're only open in the afternoon on weekends and they don't accept credit cards.
Located in Tampines 1, this shop is smaller than the other stores (i.e. Francfranc and Iwannagohome), but equally as interesting.
A good, but sometimes pricey, all around department store. Generally, they have more on offer than Robinsons or Tangs. We got plastic soap dishes, microwavable containers and the water filter from here.
As with Takashimaya and Robinsons, you'll find everything from small appliances to kitchen items.
Anglophiles will love it here. They sell all things British including candy.
The Furniture Mall
I was expecting a huge mall filled with furniture and decor stores, but turns out to be a bit smaller than what I had in mind. We were able to find the dining set (table from UnikHome and chairs from Star Living) here though so it's worth a visit if you want to find more options. Unfortunately, I don't remember seeing a decor store...
The Good Things
I love their Newgate clocks! Takashimaya sells the same clocks, but at a higher price.
The Shop House
Their Tanglin Mall branch has a lot of cushions and soft furnishings.
Other Stores Worth Mentioning
These stores have everything from appliances and indoor portable clothes lines to outdoor supplies (e.g. airbeds). And generally, they are cheaper than everyone else. Need a rice cooker at 2 AM? Mustafa is open 24 hours.