Furniture Shopping in Goa

I’ve maintained that Goa offers varying experience to its seekers. If some of our early trips were focussed on its beaches, shacks and food, there were work oriented elements on a couple of later visits – one when I went on my own to intern on a web design assignment didn’t allow me even one close look at the sea or beach. That visit helped connect with a group of young professionals but it could have been any small town witnessing frequent spells of shower. Then, a seven day recce of its various beaches and forests dispelled any idea of our understanding of the place. It showed us a variety in its landscapes that intrigued us to the extent of wanting to engage with it deeper. We invested our resources in buying a small place that, in turn, has helped reveal areas that would never have been noticeable to us if it wasn’t for our interest in making our place habitable.

Well, this aspect of Goa has been full of challenges for Delhites like us who’ve been used to multiple options in houseware. Arranging appliances led to much scanning of Panjim, Mapusa, Calangute, Porvorim markets. And, for furniture, we’re still looking.

Most locals have advised hiring carpenters to get furniture made. Several phone calls and some days of verification later, we did manage to get hold of a bunch who built us our kitchen cupboards. That exercise was fraught with anxieties and the cupboards, although usable, were only just about acceptable. So, we’ve found it safer to invest our energies into identifying WYSIWYG furniture! And, because our little place still lacks a wardrobe and a couple more small must-haves, we continue with our search for locally available furniture that fits our sense of aesthetics and pockets. My interest in educating myself, and others, on Goa leads me to share with the world the fruit of our labour this far – details of good and bad places we’ve unearthed so other wannabes have it easier than us:


Fabindia
No rude shocks with Fabindia – their quality and pricing are consistent. Also the fact that one can’t find everything one wants under their roof! But it’s been a huge relief to find its branches offering its known unobtrusive and friendly service in a region where otherwise any purchase leads to much haggling. The range of woodcraft includes futons, beds, benches, chairs, tables in varying sizes and also thoughtful ideas such as photo frames and shelves. The Candolim branch is smaller than the Panjim branch but it has the advantage of an efficient store assistant in the form of Sarfaraz who tries his best to meet his customers’ expectations. In my view, Fabindia rules the homeware shopping options in Goa.

CMM Arena in Merces
This group has multiple branches but the one in Merces is the biggest so gives more choice than any other furniture store. Most of their items however are imported from Malaysia or elsewhere and made of compressed or particle board. I find particle board unsuited to Goa’s moisture laden climate but sometimes aesthetics and availability become more important considerations than practicality. A lady store assistant who interacted with us was most helpful, followed up on our interest and had our Malaysian teakwood bed delivered in a professional manner. It was smooth and comfortable dealing with them.

The Attic in Camarcazana
This place has impressive signboards in places but its wares are old, unpolished and decadent and absolutely phenomenally priced. The place is owned by a brother-sister duo who have respect in Goa’s art circles but at best their furniture collection seemed just wide-ranging than road-side antique dealers but not of better quality to an untrained eye like mine. The prices were so prohibitive that I couldn’t even allow my mind’s eye the pleasure of imagining any items restored and mine.

Origins, Opp Hotel Manoshanti, Panjim
This shop isn’t so well known but I found it mentioned on a british expat website as one providing furniture packages! Looking for it meant walking around Panjim in circles but when we did get to it, we were impressed with some pieces. They were ruggedly finished, solid and almost handsome. But prices were a deterrent and so was the size of most pieces – they seemed too large for an apartment. However, we were comforted by their straightforward cuts and polished look after a lot of so-called still-to-be-restored antique pieces elsewhere.

Soto décor in Candolim
Pointed out to us by Max from the Tanta Tshirt shop (formally called Ferreira Leather) in Candolim, Sotohaus is an interesting place. Its swiss owners style their furniture, mirrors and lamps with natural leaves and mdf board. There seemed to be two main colours for all their products – one was dominated by beige so suited to most colour themes and another had a vibrant combination of magenta, orange and beige. The furniture pieces gave the apprearance of being long-lasting with its board and black metal look. They were priced high but not exorbitant. I’d like to consider their vibrant table @ Rs16,000 as it’d make a statement without even any objects on it. Then again, I could save Rs10,000 and buy a Fabindia table that would meet its intended purpose. Will think about that one further!

Elegante Interiors in Porvorim (Near O’Coqueiro) and St. Inez (Near PWD office)
Another place mentioned by Max as one with potential, the Porvorim branch was useful to visit as it turned out to be a Godrej dealer. Not that we were keen on Godrej steel almirahs, it was just useful to know them as dealers for any Godrej wooden furniture we wanted to order. They didn’t have much stock but were willing to take orders based on their catalogue. Their staff was friendly, and some non-Godrej furniture items of their own manufacturing seemed to carry a honest price tag – esp a rocking chair @ Rs6,000. Most other furniture was staid but we were happy to have got to it from a new route discovered via Mapusa, so were generally happy to know about it!

Sangolda and Saudadesh on Chogm Road
Sangolda was mentioned by Anna Sharma who’s from Goa and settled in Gurgaon. She’d referred to it as a foreign tourist oriented furniture store and that’s how it appeared. Interesting for its multiheaded Hanuman sculpture but not for usable furniture. It felt like a Crafts Museum gallery with large urns and pieces that looked comfortable where they were.

The next door Saudadesh, however, had usable furniture ideas but not at their advertised prices. The encouraging aspect of this place though was that it had the Attic kind of old furniture but all of it was polished, buyable (when not carrying a ‘sold’ tag) and quaint in its look.

Damien de Goa in Porvorim
At an early stage of our survey, it was useful to scan this store. Its USP of providing a complete solution to its customers is good to be aware of — its ground floor displays appliances and upper concentrates on furniture. But like other readymade furniture stores, Damien also mostly stocks imported beds, wardrobes and tables, and little of their own making. Prices of these imported products are high and even though they are well-finished, they look way too canned. They’re also large for apartments.

Casa Goa on Baga Road
This place is nice to breeze through to take in its kerala rattan loungers and small artefacts. Prices are high but the place is accessible and worth a visit.

Antique furniture dealers by road side
Several small shops appeared on our drives to Mapusa, Calangute, South Goa that showed largely unclean chairs and study tables but also a couple of polished pieces to give hope to passers by. Their designs and range used to be similar and prices high – loungers Rs8,000 upwards.

One on Candolim called Indo Portuguese always showed off a tantalising rattan chair or bench but with prices like above.

If I must pick up a piece or two from one of them, I’d prefer the place in the Mapusa Sub-Registrar building that has had the largest collection to its credit. Their cupboards had fussy mirrors and tiles, but there was one with a quieter feel @ Rs15,000. Its shelves didn’t appear well-finished so we’d dropped its idea. We’ve seen worse cupboards for double that price since then so have built some respect for the Mapusa shop. We may go there for another look.

Goa Cane Corporation, Fatorda, Margao
I’d understood this place to have rattan cane products. It turned out to have Panchkuian Road sort of fat cane at rather fat price tags. It was useful to visit it for its array of baskets but little else.

The Living Room and other shops in St. Inez
The quality and style of furniture at the Living Room belie its reputation among people and certainly its slick website. This store and most others in St. Inez give a weary feeling much like one experiences with Kirti Nagar shops in Delhi.

Locally made furniture in Mapusa Friday market
A couple of guys were selling orange polished tables and stools but they clearly looked like bad wood. I’d be keen to see more locally made pieces with better wood. Our neighbour mentioned feasts as the best time to see the local produce of most kind – would look out for one such feast for more reasons than one.

The ones that remain unseen on my list are Crystal in Verna and Fusion Access in Panjim. If anyone is able to add any more names for us to scan, please do write in.

16 thoughts on “Furniture Shopping in Goa

  1. i m a antique dealer in goa .our showroom and workshop is located at novo portugal moira bardez goa. ppl frm outside goa come at our place and takes away all the goan antiques except for the few goans who are rich and knows the value of antiques buys them keep it at their houses so that when next generation comes will atleast come to know the portuguise style of living , otherwise mostly we have customers frm outside goa.

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  2. I bought my entire set of home furniture from CMM Merces. But the wooden stuff they sold me started rotting in a year’s time. When I contacted the shop, they said that warranty was out and I should get local repairmen take a look at it. The lady in charge, one Judy Rego was extremely rude, in contrast to how helpful she was at the time of purchase. I would really advise people not to buy things from CMM because their service, products and assembly are seriously bad. The men who assembled my bed broke a part of the headboard when trying to assemble it, and Judy said it was not covered under warranty.

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  3. Hi Suchismita,

    I agree that most furniture items that seemed affordable at CMM Merces also seemed fragile. But they haven’t broken yet. We bought a double bed and a cupboard from them. Both were installed efficiently and without charging us separately for cartage. The cupboard however did have one side unmatched from the rest which the workers realised only on opening the packing at our place. They took another day to swap the wrong with a right piece to assemble the cupboard. Also, the bed headboard had a thin film of mold when we opened the apt after 6 months (and a bout of Monsoon) but then pieces from Fabindia had more mold. A polisher, hired separately, put a coat of polish on it so I’ve to see its state on the next scrutiny in a couple of weeks.
    I don’t recall the name of the lady customer care we dealt with. She appeared polite in all our interactions. But I don’t disbelieve the rudeness — it’s a common after-sales phenomenon in our country!

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  4. I’ve had some very bad experiences with FabIndia furniture. In Goa, during the monsoons, almost all drawers jam as the wood swells up. Repeated calls for their carpenter to come and take a look at it (I even entered the complaint in the register at the Panjim shop last year) have gone unanswered. The dark wood sheesham table. bed and chairs have got termites, or whatever the borer that leaves a whitish powder behind is called. This is around 50,000 bucks gone down the drain. On the other hand, some antique furniture that I picked up from one of the roadside shops in Madgaon has seen two monsoons with neither the wood nor the polish being affected. I have vowed to save more and pick up fewer pieces of good quality rather than need based bulk buying of what seems to suit the pocket but also decays soon…..

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    1. Hi Smita,

      This is an interesting view for me to remember…Fabindia’s stuff turning out poorer in quality than that from roadside sellers. Do make it a point to post this feedback on Fabindia’s website as it’s important for businesses to hear from dissatisfied customers. I do have to pick up a bed and I’ve been wondering if I should head towards CMM or get hold of the carpenters I’ve used before. I know that I won’t go for it to antique dealers. Their tables/chairs/benches look more worthwhile to invest in than cupboards or beds.

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  5. Try Ashlores at Porivorim , they are on the Highway ,opp. Dominos pizza, I bought from them and the furniture is good worth the price as its lasted for ten good years .
    Take a look and judge for yourself.

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    1. Hi Sunita…it’s surprising that this place hasn’t come my way on many drives up and down the main Porvorim road. You must mean the complex with Farmer’s Choice. I’d even bought beans for our bean bags from one of the shops there. I’ll take a closer look next time I’m there. thanks.

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  6. hi. have just bought an apartment near baga and need to furnish it. would be great if i could get in touch with you. i also am in delhi and my mobile no: is 9717813222
    thanks.

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  7. Hi Jyoti,
    Your website is very informative,many thanks.
    I have just bought a villa in Colva & am looking thru various websites to furnish it.I have time on my hands,so would it be better for me to choose furniture from Mumbai & transport this to Goa?

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    1. Hi Clarence, happy to see yet another entrant into Goa benefitting from my experience of furniture shopping.

      Most non-Goan Goa-settlers have advised us to get it all from Delhi or Mumbai’s chor bazaar (old, refurbished furniture market) instead of struggling our way. Since you’ve time on hands, I’d suggest your having a look at options in both the cities and then making an informed decision about it. I don’t know Mumbai at all but a new settler in my complex has moved from there and brought lovely almirahs, chairs and curios from there more cheaply and with more wares to choose from. If you intend to survey Goa based options in any case, recently a lady mentioned Crystal near Panjim as a useful place. Crystal’s website gives a Verna address so that will be more convenient to you. Do let me know what you finally did. Also, I’ll be in Goa later this month if you’d like a chat about any of the places included in my post. All the best.

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  8. Hi Jyoti,
    I have made a recent move to Goa and googled for antique furniture in Goa and landed up on this page. firstly, you just cut my tasks in half by putting up the information and it will certainly help me in deciding. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    My views to some comments above:
    I agree with the FabIndia comment by Smita. I had almost all my furniture in office taken from FabIndia, cause I wanted a very traditional/ethnic look for my ad agency setup in Mumbai. And as Smita explains, within one monsoon, we see white dust falling from the MDF boards. The seesham/mango wood used in FabIndia furniture is only on the outside, but almost all inside shelves/support is mdf and surprisingly untreated or it should atleast be coated with wax/other chemicals to create a layer.

    While I got some furniture from Fabindia, I got a lot of things made from road side furniture stores in bandra/mahim area as per my design and the best possible teakwood. Needless to say they are strong and most likely will stay that way for a long time.

    I am going to visit some places this weekend to look for furniture. Will update post that. BTW, I found one place in Panjim called Home Decor, its opposite Celebrations restaurant. (Enter via miramar circle, come inside to goa international circle, take right and before the end of the road on right hand side is Home Decor)

    Antique/Wooden furniture is expensive but the designs look good and the finishing isn’t like fab india, where only exterior is wood and inside its all MDF.

    Please do share the number of the carpenter you have mentioned in one of your latest posts.

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    1. Hi Kapil,
      Glad to know that my furniture findings have helped you somewhat. Do share your own Goan experiences through a blog to help me and others take tips from them.
      The only problem I’ve faced with Fabindia’s furniture this far has related to white mould appearing on the surface. After varnishing the pieces, the mould has been minimal on successive visits/checks and easily wiped away. Before their varnishing, the layer of mould had seemed too alarming. Our last purchase was that of a small study table that Fabindia executives mentioned was already varnished. We’ll know the authenticity of that take on our next visit. I still need to pick up 2 small bedside tables and may again have to go the Fabindia way as I haven’t found anything suitable from elsewhere. I totally dislike laminated mdf board furniture from Italy or Malaysia that I see elsewhere or pieces embellished with too much moulding.
      The carpenter I’ve mentioned is Arvind at 9422387253. It’s been a year since I last spoke to him on this number. He’s punctual and all that but do share with him a photo and tight specs of what you intend to get made.
      Lastly, if you’re familiar with Mumbai, won’t you like to keep your life simpler by carting stuff from there? Recently, a bunch moved to Goa from Gurgaon and took everything along…and they have had it much easier than us.

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  9. Hi Jyoti,

    I am a Goan, living at Mapusa and Parra. I bought few antique reproductions like writing table, dining table with chairs and a bed from a shop “Afreen Arts” at Canca, near Mapusa. The guy’s name is Abubhai, his quality is good and prices are reasonable.You can give this guy any design (or select one from his catalogue) and specs and his folks make it accordingly, also he has few pieces on display.

    Regards,

    Mahesh

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    1. Hi Mahesh, It’s great to have caught the attention of a Goan as I can further my learning about Goa through tips from you.

      I haven’t heard of Canca but if Afreen Arts is in one of the small complexes appearing between Arpora and Mapusa then I’d look out for it. Google is showing its address as Jomma Apts…In May-June, when I’m usually there, I find most businesses shut and the pace slower than slow! Will check next time though.

      thanks, Jyoti

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  10. Hi
    I have just shifted to goa
    Need my apartment To be furnished and i prefer solid teak wood furniture
    Plz help as there is no conventional wooden furniture market
    As we enjoy in Delhi.
    I am ready to explore anywhere in hoa for classy wooden furniture

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    1. Giny, Since my own furniture needs have fulfilled, I haven’t got around to checking on new stores since I wrote my post. I’d suggest that you first go to Fab India as it is easiest place to see and buy furniture from. After that you could check out other options listed in my post. If you have the patience, you could get some items made from a carpenter’s crew. all the best.

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