Some time ago, you couldn’t find quality furniture in Ho Chi Minh City - there were fewer malls, fewer local furniture makers, and anything of quality was made for export only.
These days, finding furniture is getting easier. For example, you can find valuable items still left over from when the French were here. There’s about five to six great “junk shops” around HCMC that sell quality colonial French furniture.
Photo by: Jara D&B
Treasure at the Junk Shop
Junk shop brokers scout the country, pursue old properties and buy all the old furniture - wardrobes, chairs, and an assortment of other furnishings - then repurpose it and paint it. Basically, taking old bits of furniture and turning them into creative new domestic products. At these shops, you can get items like aged French pharmaceutical chests and redecorate them - these compartments are ideal for storing small things like jewellery, kitchen cutlery, or other personal items. You have the chance to piece together an assortment of selected items to create your own unique style of interior wooden decor. One such shop is Mr. Au’s, located at 122 Pasteur, across from Saigon Centre and past the rusting gates.
You can also easily attain old shipping pallets and, with a bit of creativity, turn them into attractive pieces of furniture. If you don’t want to spend lots of money to decorate your home, this is really manageable way to make your space look good on a budget.
The Overlooked Wood Street
There’s also wood street (on Ba Hat, stretching from D5 to D10), where you can give the carpenters a design and they will replicate it out of Vietnamese redwood. Most people that walk down wood street might think it’s nothing notable - like scissor street, boot street or safe street . But when you actually go in and visit these shops you can see everything, including laser cut wood with intricate latticework, big chunks of wood being repurposed into everything imaginable, old furniture being restored, and so on.
You can do things like take a nice piece of old wood and have them cut it to size, restore it and then make it into a proper table. You’ll find everything from giant slabs of wood to thin sheets here - and you can utilise them as you see fit. Most of it is Vietnamese redwood, which is extremely hard and sturdy. As you can see, all this requires a bit of work and imagination.
Finding Modern Furniture in HCMC
Quality furniture depends on the wood, as well as how it’s been dried. In the past, this was a big issue and wood was not dried well. This caused furniture to break apart over time. Nowadays, there has been much progress in this regard. There’s great furniture being made here, and although not prevalent, there are definitely stores to check out.
Photo by: Jara D&B
Reasonably Priced Furniture: For more reasonable prices, Nha Xinh (25 Tran Cao Van, D1; 111 Ton Dat Tien, D7) and Hoa Phat (121 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh District; 391 Dien Bien Phu, D1) are good options for those on a smaller budget.
For IKEA-style furniture in Ho Chi Minh City, visit Uma (428 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1) and Index Living (Vincom Mega Mall, No. 159 Hanoi Highway, Thao DIen, D2) at one of their many locations. Here, the pieces are cheap and cheerful, but made from lower quality materials.
Photo by: Jara D&B
Local Mid-High End: Saigon River Factory (Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, D2) is one of Saigon’s well established companies that make furniture out of alabaster and concrete. District Eight Design (E4/52 National Highway 1A, Binh Tan District) is also a delightful find. They craft all their furniture from reclaimed wood and produce tables and desks, seating, and games like foosball tables, pool tables, shuffleboard sets and other items. Gomo Shop (7/30B, Road 13, Binh Hoa Commune, Binh Duong) is one of the leading mid-high end retailers specialising in modern and trendy European style furniture. There’s also Linh Furniture (67 Xuan Thuy) and Decosy (112 Xuan Thuy), as well as Austin Home Interiors (42 Nguyen Dang Giai) - all in Thao Dien, D2.
Photo by Gomo Shop
Imported High End: Although it’s getting easier to acquire imported furniture because of new malls, you will bear the burden of the heavy import tax, as a sophisticated sofa can hit you for around VND200-300 million. The Times Square Building (22-36 Nguyen Hue) has several furniture stores on the ground floor that have some of Italy’s most well-known and respected brands - and probably the most expensive in Ho Chi Minh City.