Procuring furniture in Budapest can be a bit of a head-scratcher if you want to keep it interesting and avoid chipboard and melamine. But there are alternative sources to the mass-produced, poor quality new items that we all know where to get hold of. Although in Hungary second hand items often hold their value well in comparison to western countries, by keeping a keen eye out you can furnish your apartment cleverly without breaking the bank.
Here are a few ideas on where to look for quirky used furniture:
- Vatera.hu – the Hungarian ebay equivalent; this is where I found a lot of my furniture. For newbies to the site, try browsing under search terms such as “szék” (chair), “könyvszekrény” (bookcase) and “asztal” (table). There’s no Paypal facility so payment on collection is most common.
- Flea markets such as Esceri market (Esceri bolhapiac) are also a good source (tip: be prepared to haggle hard – know what things are worth and start low). Find this one in district 19 (Nagykőrösi út 156, Budapest 1194).
- Potto Antik – run by a cool guy called Ottó, this reasonably priced second hand furniture shop that’s well stocked with a good selection (Cserhát utca 14, Budapest 1078). He also sells the stock on Vatera.
- The lomtalanítás days. These happen once in each district every year and are spread throughout the year. Basically people throw unwanted household items onto the pavement and the local authority comes around to collect it a couple of days later – perfect for upcycling and mix-and-match styling. Search on www.fkf.hu for a list when each district’s unwanted-stuff-on-the-street-day will be, then go along and check out this unique spectacle for yourself. Here’s the 2015 list as an example: http://www.fkf.hu/portal/page/portal/fkfzrt/hulladekkez/lomtalanit/eves_ingyenes
- Facebook groups, such as “Used stuff for sale in Budapest” and “Used furniture for sale in Budapest”. Note that often you need to be very quick to secure attractive well-priced items. Join and start browsing to get a feel for these groups.
- Jofogas.hu – another marketplace website selling anything and everything; but it’s not a bidding site, sellers place adverts with pictures of the item for sale and an asking price. Jofogas.hu works just like Gumtree in the UK.
- Antik Bazár (Klauzál u. 1, Budapest 1071) – great mixed bag treasure trove to dig around. Also walk around district VII as there are other “antik bolts” like this where you can pick up decorative items. Always haggle!
- Oh, and there’s also now a Szimpla “design” shop that sells some furniture in a basement on Sip utca. It houses some pretty cool stuff, but be warned they ain’t cheap (Sip utca 24, 1073 Budapest).
Negotiation tips – get yourself a deal with these:
- Set your attitude to this: Don’t pay full price. To haggle or not to haggle… that is not a question you should wrestle with – always haggle! 50% off quoted prices isn’t that unusual if you get into this good habit and apply persistence.
- Request for something extra to be thrown in; for example, ask a Vatera seller to deliver the item to you for no extra charge.
- Smile and always be polite, yet stay firm on your price – you’ll more thank likely be respected for it and sellers prefer haggling with people who are friendly about it. Keep yourself in good spirits; avoid getting frustrated if the price isn’t moving down as quickly as you’d like. And don’t be quick to take no for an answer (at least the first few!)
- Remember the seller’s name – note it down and also how to contact them in future, as they may be selling further things of interest.
- If you can’t agree a price, motioning that you’re going to leave or actually walking away may prompt the seller to drop their price rather than lose the sale.