Just moved to Singapore and looking for some signature pieces with a bit of Asian flair? From something old to something made new, we find out from these readers why they purchased their antique, vintage or reproduction furniture, and how it fits with their home décor style. Sometimes expats wait until it’s time to leave Singapore before they buy a couple of pieces, but why not enjoy it now?
Chai’s Classic Home Collection
Suzannah Raaff, Morgana and Sorcha Truter, British
“I was looking for an oriental piece that had a bit of history and would be a talking point. I have a number of dark pieces in this particular room, so I wanted one that would lighten and brighten the overall area.
I purchased a genuine Chinese hand-painted sideboard handpicked from Shandong in Northern China from Chai’s Classic Home Collection. It’s around 80 years old, and was used by Chinese families to store their kitchenware inside. It has now been refurbished and repainted based on the original patterns.
The piece is quite unique and I felt it would brighten my room with its antique charm. Instead of the typical dark brown Chinese furniture, this piece is painted in vintage white and has a perfect distressed look that I just loved. I’ve bought a number of items for myself and as gifts at Chai’s over the past couple of years and I was actually in the store to look at new arrivals when I saw this piece; I knew I had to have it.
The team is great, and Chai herself is usually in the showroom and is very involved in helping her customers. She’ll even pull stuff out that’s not on display or show you images of what’s coming, once she knows what you like.
I’m always happy with my purchases, so I regularly go back for more. Chai not only has larger pieces like this one but many smaller decorative items too – even some of her own designs. The store is a real value-for-money find in Singapore.”
Adrienne, Peter, Noah, Isabella and Sam Chisnall, New Zealanders
“As we were fortunate to find a large property to live in here in Singapore, we had quite a few empty spaces to fill. Emperor’s Attic offers a great range of furniture styles – every time we visit, we see pieces that we like. Recently, we bought two cupboards from the store, one to serve as a linen cupboard in our bedroom, and one downstairs near the bathroom for storing swimming towels and hiding the children’s messy school bags.
We also have a two-door cabinet in the most beautiful blue colour, a green three-door console for storing photo albums, a traditional sage-green two-door low cabinet with intricate wooden features, another sideboard in an interesting blue shade, and, most recently, I bought an Art Deco cabinet in a dark navy blue.
The whole team at Emperor’s Attic is always friendly and helpful without being pushy. The delivery guys are polite, helpful and careful. I love that they let you put items on hold, so you don’t have to rush into making a decision to purchase.
This is our second time living in Singapore. We also lived here from 2002 to 2003 and we bought a few pieces for our tiny apartment then, including a TV cabinet and a Tibetan chest. We still have them and have enjoyed them for the past 16 years. This has given us the confidence to purchase more antique and unique pieces because they don’t date – and we don’t tire of them like we do with some of our more contemporary furniture.”
Lim’s Holland Village
José and Reed Liriano, American
“We were looking for storage as well as decoration. (With a puppy in the chewing stage, we didn’t want to have things lying around!) José keeps his shoes in one cabinet, and I keep purses in one, and my needlepoint and sewing in another. It’s great to have storage in every room as we seem to accumulate things on our travels, and it helps cut down on clutter. I’m a paper stacker, and José prefers the uncluttered look.
We found that Lim’s Holland Village had the best selection, coupled with inventory that is easily searchable. Ernest was able to find us a matching side table for our bedroom in the warehouse in a matter of minutes. We always find something new whenever we visit, and we love that there is no pressure by the sales team.
We love how the pieces from Lim’s enhance our décor. We have items we’ve inherited and accumulated, and they blend well with our newer things. Being able to buy furniture, mirrors, lamps and gifts all in one spot is wonderful. It’s our go-to place if we need a hostess gift for someone in town or presents to bring with us when we visit friends abroad. The frames are beautiful and make terrific gifts.
We have visited other stores where the high-pressure sales tactics made browsing miserable. We’ve also ordered from other stores only to find the items were delivered damaged. We’ve had no issues with our experiences with Lim’s and are proud to recommend them.”
Woody Antique House
Derek Baigent, Jennifer Williams, Tyler, Braden and Carson, Canadian
“We were looking to design a home with a combination of modern furniture pieces and restored Asian pieces that complemented each other.
We purchased a shoe cabinet from Woody Antique House that had originally been a medicine cabinet. For the master bedroom, we purchased an armoire and a dressing table. We also decided on a chest table for the front area of our home.
After doing a lot of research and trying to find a store with a wide selection, good reviews and quality products, we visited a couple of places, but neither of them had the selection we desired. We went home and did more research, and that’s when we decided to visit Woody Antique. On arrival, we immediately knew it was the right store! The team was very easy to work with and supportive during all our questions.
Although they specialise in antique furniture, they also have a great selection of modern patio and other outdoor furniture.”
Sally Lean, Australian
“I have many different pieces from Just Anthony, from large cabinets to small décor pieces, and I love them all!
I heard about the store from colleagues and decided to pay a visit soon after arriving in Singapore. I love roaming around the warehouse and discovering all the different treasures in the various areas of the warehouse. Having spent 20 years in Asia, it’s interesting to wander through the huge collection at Just Anthony. Also, the prices are quite reasonable compared to other importers of Chinese furniture in Singapore.
The staff at Just Anthony are also great – so friendly and approachable, and always happy to answer my questions about the provenance of a piece or the approximate age. They’re so helpful – I’ve even ordered some pieces from them for my workplace via WhatsApp!
I love each and every piece that I have from the store. I often pop in to bring friends with me, and I’ve introduced my cousin to the place too. Most of them have added to their own collections during our visits!”
Want more inspiration for your interiors? See our home décor section!