You’re probably wondering where to buy furniture and home accessories in Korea. If you’re here short-term, and you just need the basics, I think it would be a waste of money to buy anything that you’ll eventually end up tossing or selling, and it’ll be expensive to ship when you ultimately decide to leave. On the other hand, I thought I would be living here for about two years, max, and I’m still very much here. Now that I’ve settled in with the reality that I will be here a lot longer than I expected, it’s time to finally make my home feel like a home with furniture that I can truly live with.
As a result, I’ve rounded up all the websites and resources I could think of to find free, cheap, mid-priced, and luxury furniture to make your stay in South Korea as seamless as possible.
Buying Furniture without an ARC or Bank Account in Korea
When you come to South Korea, the last thing you probably want to do is spend a ton of money just to get started. If you do not yet have your ARC card and/or access to a local bank account yet in South Korea, your options are a bit limited due to payment restrictions online.
Free or Second-hand Furniture and Home Accessories in Korea
Since expats are always coming and going, you’ll often find great deals through Facebook groups where therein lives a very active expat community. You can either search through listings on expat buy & sell Facebook groups or try your hand at the popular Korean second-hand app, Karrot Market, also known as Daangn Market or Danggeun Market. It is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. If you don’t speak Korean, I’d recommend avoiding the apps as some things may get lost in translation when trying to haggle over a chair.
Here are several expat groups in Korea that may sell furniture for free or at a low cost:
- Buy, Sell, Trade, or Give It Away in Korea
- Really Really Free Things in Korea
- Expat Women in Korea Buy and Sell
- Seoul Sell & Buy (Approved Listings Only)
- HBC Seoul Itaewon Buy & Sell
- Seoul Online Garage Sale (Buy,Sell,Trade)
- HBC/Itaewon Buy/Sell Board
The Goodwill Store in South Korea is partnered with the Together Foundation which aims to provide services for vulnerable populations in South Korea, including North Korean refugees, people with disabilities, multicultural families, and those facing challenges in finding employment. Here, you can find all sorts of used clothing, home accessories, and furniture at their many locations. You can find a list of their store locations on their website and also arrange for a donation.
Hwanghak-dong Flea Market
The Hwanghak-dong Flea Market, or Dokkaebi (Goblin) Market, comprises of around 500 small stores carrying vast sundries like used electronics, clothes, antiques, and vintage goods. The market is located at 513-2 Hwanghak-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, and is open from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., depending on the stall.
Dongmyo Flea Market
Nearby, you’ll also find the Dongmyo Flea Market which is known for used clothing, but you can also find antiques and vintage home accessories. The market is located at Sungin 2(i)-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., depending on the stall.
Recycle City (리싸이클시티) is a chain of second-hand furniture stores that sells used home appliances, furniture, electronics, and even items like guitars and bikes. If you feel comfortable speaking and/or writing in Korean, you can also donate items to Recycle City and receive store credit rather than paying for city disposal.
Cheap (Inexpensive) Furniture and Home Accessories in Korea
When I lived in Korea, I bought furniture and home accessories on Gmarket and Coupang. The cheaper it is, the cheaper the wood and the construction. This often led to problems where in less than a year, my chairs have broken. I laugh-cried about it with my friend, a fellow expat who had lived here in Korea for over a decade, and she said that’s why “the furniture here is so cheap”.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I replaced the furniture with Ikea which — I never thought I’d say this — but was of much better quality than a lot of the furniture I’ve found here.
Random tip: When buying chairs or desks, pay attention to the height of the furniture. I realized that my 5’10 frame was too much for some local furniture as they were made for a generally shorter population.
Nevertheless, here are some affordable places to buy furniture and interior accessories. One of my favorites is ohou.se which often has dupes of high-end furniture items, made locally.
Coupang, also known as the Amazon of Korea, has a little bit of everything, including furniture. I’ve bought IKEA things from Coupang before only because it came out cheaper even with the markup than buying directly from IKEA and paying for their truck delivery.
Daiso (다이소), based in Japan, is what I’d like to call a better version of the 99-cent store or 100-yen store. There isn’t much furniture at Daiso, but they do have quite a few interior accessories that are worth mentioning, e.g. house slippers, bathroom stools, kitchenware, closet organizers, plants, etc. According to Wikipedia, there are 1,150 stores across South Korea. It is so popular that there is even an expat group in South Korea called Daiso Hauls (South Korea).
Gmarket is an online-only, e-commerce platform that sells anything from food to electronics.
I bought a few furniture necessities from Gmarket when I first arrived in Korea and didn’t have an ARC or a Korean bank account yet. This is the only online retailer where you can buy things with an international (non-Korean) credit or debit card in Korea. Some of the sellers will charge you a separate shipping fee for furniture delivery, so keep that in mind. You may have to wait for the delivery and hand the delivery guy some cash (as detailed in the product listing).
There are two sites: Gmarket and Gmarket Global. Gmarket Global is accessible to everyone internationally — even friends overseas have used it so send me gifts — and you can change your preferred shipping location (e.g. ship to Korea or outside of Korea) and currency. It’s also probably a goldmine for anyone who’s based overseas and wants to import k-pop goods. The regular Gmarket, however, is marketed towards locals, is better priced, and can only be paid in Korean won.
idus launched in 2014 as an online lifestyle and handmade goods platform, not unlike Etsy. It will be launching a global platform in 2023. You can purchase anything from industrial pipe furniture to handmade Christmas-themed fortune cookies and engraved soju cups.
If you’re looking for a custom portrait of your beloved feline, look no further. This artist will hand draw your cat in colored pencil and gift wrap it for that special someone. The painting is 8 x 10 inch (203cm x 254cm). Ships within about 7 days during low season and up to 2 weeks during peak times. Currently on sale at 58,000 KRW (normally, 89,000 KRW.)
A popular gag gift, you can customize the sequin pillow with the face of your beloved friend, family member, or coworker. Since the sequins are reversible, you can “draw” on the pillow. On sale right now at 20,000 KRW (normally, 37,000 KRW.)
We all know IKEA as it’s pretty much everywhere. If you’re like me, it pays to make friends with those with cars for little IKEA trips. Small items have a low shipping fee, but heavier pieces will require truck delivery. For heavier pieces, it’s worth checking Danawa, a shopping comparison site in South Korea, to compare the total price to other e-commerce stores.
There are four physical Ikea stores in South Korea:
- IKEA Goyang (420, Gwonyul-daero, Deogyang-gu, Goyang-Si)
- IKEA Gwangmyeong (17 Iljik-ro, Gwangmyeong-si)
- IKEA Giheung (Giheung-gu singomae-ro 62, Gyeonggi-do yongin-si)
- IKEA Dongbusan (Gijang-eup dongbusangwangwang3-RO17, Busan-si Gijang-gun)
This bright yellow chair has a high back and provides extra support for your neck. The cover is made from polyester fabric and the rest is contructed from plywood, particle board, and polyurethane foam. For comparison, it is priced at $349.00 USD in the United States, £229.00 in the UK, and 299,000 KRW at IKEA in South Korea.
Jaju is like Korea’s answer to the famous minimalist Japanese store, Muji. You can find a bit of everything here, including housewares and apparel. Jaju is also owned by Shinsegae and there are multiple locations throughout South Korea.
The Jaju storage basket has a similar color and shape to natural rattan but it is made of polypropylene (PP) material. It is hygienic as it can be easily washed with water, and can be used for a long time without deforming like natural materials. It’s great for storing detergents, toilet paper, or toys. There are also small holes on both sides to carry the basket easily.
Muji is a Japanese retail company that sells a variety of consumer goods like housewares, apparel, food, and stationery. Muji’s design philosophy is minimalist, so you won’t see blatant logos anywhere. The quality is generally quite good for the price.
The Muji twin-sized bed frame is a simple pine bed that suits any room. The more you use it, the better it will look. The product is 100.5 cm wide, 201.5 cm deep, and 74 cm tall. Made in Vietnam. Priced at $289 USD in the United States and 199,000 KRW in South Korea.
ohou.se, or Today House (오늘의집), is an online-only, e-commerce platform that offers a little bit of everything when it comes to housewares, including some Ikea, from cheap to mid-priced pieces. They carry many fun, stylish interior home accessories and quite a few knock-offs of high-end designer furniture items.
The vanity table sits at 1200 mm wide and comes in two colors, walnut and natural. There’s plenty of shelf space inside to hide your beauty products. You can also add a matching vanity mirror for an additional 120,000 KRW. The price of the dressing table is 358,000 KRW in South Korea.
Zara Home — like Zara fashion — is most likely more expensive than buying in Europe or America, but it’s full of trendy pieces at an affordable price point. You can find anything from Christmas decorations to pet accessories at their stores, and they do have physical shop locations in South Korea.
Mid-priced to Luxury Furniture and Home Accessories
You’ve heard of some of the biggest luxury brands and their reputation for making amazing furniture, but don’t know where to start (like me). Well, you’re in luck because I want to tell you all about the best luxury furniture stores in Seoul. Whether you’re looking for a whole house set or just a couple of pieces for a small space, I’ve gathered my top recommendations for you.
Side note: Distinguishing cheap, mid-priced, and luxury is a bit tricky since everyone has different budgets, so I’ve sprinkled in what I consider mid-price and luxury in between.
BoConcept is a premium Danish retail furniture chain that’s been around since 1952. There are many BoConcept locations around South Korea, including Seoul, Daegu, and Busan. We’ve recently purchased a second Adelaide Chair, and the leather is gorgeous. Be prepared to wait for some back-ordered furniture as it can sometimes take a few months to receive.
10 Corso Como
10 Corso Como is an iconic Milan-based shop, filled with highly-coveted, cool fashion pieces and high-end design objects. Even if you’re not planning on breaking the bank for a new set of Fornasetti plates, I recommend visiting the store just to indulge in its beautiful atmosphere. There are only two locations in Seoul: one in Cheongdam and the other on Avenue L. There is also a cafe restaurant attached in case you need a shot or two of espresso. Unfortunately, none of the interior accessories are available online, however, you can purchase some fashion pieces on ssfshop.com.
The Casa Living Store (까사리빙 스토어) carries big-name brands like &Tradition, Alessi, Anglepoise, Artek, Artemide, FontanaArte, Gus, HAY, Herman Miller, Kinto, Mareset, Menu, Montana, Nomon, Oluce, Pezzani, Rosendahl, Seletti, Vitra, and Zanotta. They also have a lovely selection of housewares made in Korea.
The word ‘Sobyeoljji’ is a combination word of Chinese character ‘small’ and Korean word ‘byeoljji’ meaning shooting star, which means ‘small shooting star’. The ceramic cup is made with various etched colored clay. The pattern unique to each individual product. Priced at 52,000 KRW in South Korea.
The elegant ceramic plate was made by Oh Jeong Sil who also offers pottery classes at their studio (B101, 64, Cheonsansan-ro 7-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul.) More information is available on their Naver Blog. The Chrysanthemum plate is priced at 50,000 KRW in South Korea.
Cava Life is an art e-commerce brand that sells overseas and local Korean goods. Launched in 2018, it sells about 7,000 different works of art by 719 artists.
Designed by BORNTOSTANDOUT® x Yeonho-gyeong (연호경), this big wall calendar evokes retro Korea with its intense typography and graffiti, unique to the artist. Priced at 22,000 KRW in South Korea.
Collection B (콜렉션비) carries a very wide range of international brands like Hay, Tacchini, Vitra, Ilva, Knoll, Glas, Herman Miller, Gus, USM, Wilde + Spieth, &Tradition, L&C Stendal, Richard Lampert, Humanscale, Innovation Living, Sleepeezee, Duxiana, Artek, Cassina, Ritzwell, Normann Copenhagen, Emeco, String, Carl Hansen & Son, String, Driade, Gubi, Tempur-pedic, Hasegawa, Skagerak, Rimadesio, Fatboy, Prostoria, Magis, Puik, Hida, Ritten, Pellito, Belluca, Casamania, Karimoku Cat, Calia, Koinor, Breka, Jean Dubost, and more.
Based on the concept of “a restroom for cats,” this cat litter box furniture was born from the desire to make the litterbox, an important space for cats, a safer and more secure place. It has a space where cats can do their “business” while avoiding prying eyes while still being a useful storage unit. Priced at ¥55,550 JPY in Japan and around 767,400 KRW in South Korea.
Their online store, guud.com, carries brands like GEFU, Guud Art Collection, casa Louis, Casa Bugatti, casamila, Normann Copenhagen, Nachtmann, Decohome, laroom, Le Creuset, Royal Copenhagen, and more.
A storage cabinet with a mid-century modern design sensibility. It is a bureau-style storage cabinet with a top plate that can be removed and put in, so it can be used as a simple desk. It is composed of handles and side plates with soft curved details, and drawers that can store large and small items, so it has the advantage of excellent expandability. Currently on sale for 1,638,000 KRW in South Korea at chals.co.kr or 1,890,000 KRW at guud.com.
Made from solid hardwood, this tiny table functions well as a bedside tray for your morning coffee and snacks or decorative side table to perch your laptop. The legs are rubberized to prevent slipping. On sale right now at 42,000 KRW in South Korea.
The Conran Shop was founded in 1973 in Fulham Road, Chelsea, United Kingdom by British designer and businessman Sir Terence Orby Conran, and in 2020, the business was sold to the Marandi family. The Conran Shop (더콘란샵) in South Korea carries a massive list of brands from Anglepoise and Kinto to Otapis and Studio Arhoj. This is also a fabulous place for buying gifts for bosses, colleagues, and friends in South Korea.
Frette is an Italian textile company known for its luxurious linens. Their bedding is to die for, but the price point is hard to swallow as their Ultimate Duvet Cover costs a whopping €2,470.00 euros. Considering European brands have a high markup in South Korea, I’m not sure that I want to know how much they cost here in Seoul. Nevertheless, they do have a flagship store in Gangnam.
Find Found (파인드파운드) is an interior design shop that carries anything from mirrors, candles, ceramics, cutlery, and blankets. They also carry Bornn enamelware, if you’re looking for dinnerware in bright, funky colors.
The Untit Fur Frame mirror is shaped like an arch and framed with soft (assumingly, faux) fur . It can be mounted on the wall or on the floor. The size is 330 by 450 mm. Priced at 89,000 KRW in South Korea.
Bornn products are made by fusing glass onto heavy-gauge steel and handmade individually. The artsy patterns may differ on each item, showing the marks of its journey. Oven, freezer & dishwasher safe. Priced at around €20.50 in Europe and 28,000 KRW in South Korea.
Hauson makes a series of groovy, modern furniture and interior accessories in mostly bright, primary colors.
HAY design is a Danish design company founded in 2002 by Rolf and Mette Hay and collaborates with some of the world’s best designers. They are characterized by innovativeness, bold designs, and high-quality industrial manufacturing.
Handmade using a special glassblowing technique that involves multiple layers of coloured glass dots, the Splash vase round in light pink and blue features a unique swirled pattern. Priced at €105.00 euros in the Netherlands and 116,000 KRW in South Korea.
I love Iittala. Iittala was founded in 1881 as a glass manufacturer in Finland and is one of the quintessential Finnish design brands. They specialize in design objects, tableware, and cookware, and are most famous for their Aalto vase.
There’s no dedicated Iittala shop in Seoul as far as I know, but most products are available in-store at Shinsegae and Lotte department stores. I picked up a lovely set of Iittala Ultima Thule wine glasses at the Shinsegae Gangnam Branch.
Based on Alvar Aalto’s sketch series from 1936, the vases are mouthblown at the Iittala Glass Factory in Finland. Available in smoky grey, Rio brown, clear or clear 1937 (one of the original Alvar Aalto Collection colour shades). Each glass shade perfectly represents our unique expertise in coloured glass.
Ilva is a Danish chain of furniture stores, offering mostly Scandinavian-style bed, dining, and living room products. The original store, JL Møbler, was founded in 1961 by Jørgen Linde in Vanløse.
I was surprised to see Ilva in South Korea, but there’s a flagship store in Seocho-gu, not far from Seorae Village!
The GOLDY sofa has a carefully made design, which makes it an original decorative element of the interior. The sofa is filled with highly flexible foam and silicone balls to give it a unique look and great comfort. The sofa is a step beyond traditional design and sets trends in modernity. Now it can become your small work of art that will give each arrangement an individual character. It looks great when displayed in a spacious room. Priced at around €1,864 euros in in Europe and 3,490,000 KRW in South Korea.
Innometsa (이노메싸) carries brands like Avolt, Vitra, Artek, Hem, GUBI, Innovation Living, Louis Poulsen, AGO Lighting, Fogia, String, Fredericia, Auping, VIPP, and Wilde + Spieth.
Featuring a five-legged castor base, the AAC 155 combines the high functionality of a task chair with optimal comfort and modern aesthetics. Retaining the same high backrest and generous seat that characterises the series, the base is designed with a tilting mechanism and a gas lift that can adjust the seat height. The base is available in either polished or powder-coated aluminium, and the shell comes in a variety of upholstery options, providing a multitude of design combinations that give this series versatility in a wide range of corporate, public, and private contexts.
J’aime Blanc (짐블랑) has a wide offering of furniture, lighting, home decor, textiles, and even kid’s goods from brands like Artek to Vitra.
Tecnodidattica globes are designed for both kids and young adults, and they are designed to teach geography while having fun. The globe uses USB to allow you to check the constellations when the light comes on. Globes made and designed by Tecnodidattica use advanced technology and high-quality materials, certified for their safety and all made in Italy. The globe costs around €31 in Europe and 59,000 KRW in South Korea.
Kind Space Creative Lab (카인드스페이스) carries brands like & Tradition, Artek, Bludot, Cassina, Desalto, Dryade, Editions Milano, Ginori, 1735, Glas Italia, Gubi, HAY, Jonathan Adler, MOGG, Poltronova, Savoir, Tacchini, The Rug Company, Verpan, and Vitra.
The Eliomoon floor lamp uses the spheres from the Bollicosa lamps, taking inspiration from the stars that light up the universe. Priced at around 1,650.00 euros in Italy and around 3,500,000 KRW in South Korea.
L’atelier Glod (라뜰리에 글로드)
Le Weekend is an online platform that sells high-end foreign and domestic living products, including mid-century modern furniture, art posters, light fixtures, kitchen appliances, and even pet supplies.
Tumbling cubes and trippy patterns adorn these Versailles Glassware to daring, dynamic and dimensional effect. In bold black and white with glamorous gold details, these sippers make cocktail hour a mesmerizing affair. Packaged in a couture gift box, this four piece set makes a spirited hostess gift or treat for the dude who loves a good (and good-looking) drink. Priced at $135.00 USD in the United States and 315,000 KRW in South Korea.
Linehalf is run by two designers that make unique, handmade blankets, fabric accessories, and reworked furniture.
Line Taste (라인테이스트) sells both its in-house brand and popular overseas brands like Artesi, Bomma, Formani, Georg Jensen, Marest, Noble Isle, Prostoria, and RiFra.
The Caravel cutlery pattern was first designed in sterling silver and introduced in 1957 by Henning Koppel. The pattern was praised for its brilliant functionalist expression and style. In 1986 the pattern was launched in stainless steel making the contemporary design available for connoisseurs and gastronomy enthusiasts. As a celebration of 100 years of design collaboration with Henning Koppel the pattern is re-launched with a black PVD coating in 2018. Priced at around €110 EUR in Europe and 220,000 KRW in South Korea.
Lost and Found
LOFA Seoul (로파 서울) has some truly fun and unique pieces, including furniture, books, and vintage items. It’s truly a goldmine for gift-giving as well!
Inspired by 2D drawings, this plate is part of a cartoon series that makes food stand out. Each piece is hand painted. Priced at 16,800 KRW in South Korea.
Marimekko was founded in Finland in 1951 by Viljo and Armi Ratia. It is one of Finland’s proudest exports, known for its colorful patterns on textiles, clothing, and home furnishings. An icon of the 60’s, many of its clothes was worn by the likes of Jackie Kennedy.
I was introduced to Marimekko during my time in Cambridge, Massachusetts where the architect, Benjamin C. Thompson opened a Design Research store in the heart of Harvard Square. Many Cambridge locals would gush to me about the old days of Design Research.
There used to be a Marimekko store in the Coex Mall, but it looks like it’s no longer there! However, you can still find Marimekko at the Hyundai Cheonho (4th floor, 1005 Cheonho-daero, Gangdong-gu, Seoul).
Modern House has been around since 1996, and the Korean furniture retail chain carries a lot of whimsical, modern furniture and interior accessories at a reasonable price point. You can find their stores throughout South Korea and at major retailers like Homeplus or Lotte Department Stores.
I found NaveNaveFenua the other day while in an Instagram rabbit hole, and I’ve been obsessed with the quirky aesthetic. It is a Korean ceramic studio that produces unique vases, dinnerware, plant pots, and jars.
Nonhyeon Furniture Street
If you need to shop for furniture in person, head to Nonhyeon Furniture Street. This is a street where you can find many mid-range to high-end furniture shops all on one strip. Just take the subway to Nonhyeon Station in Gangnam and get off either Exit 1 or 10 then walk west.
Some highlights on this street:
I found this bedding brand one day on Instagram and absolutely fell in love! At the time, they only had single-bed options, but they’ve since expanded to queen-sized beds. If you’re a fan of fun-colored, patterned bedding, I highly recommend purchasing from Parakeet!
Like a dynamic and free performance of a circus, this bedding is a drawing of the excitement of going into the futon. Satin is recommended for people with sensitive skin or allergies because it is soft to the touch and less likely to attract dust. The bedding pattern is provided as shown in the photo, and can be used by children aged 36 months to adults.
Rooming (루밍) is a design shop that sells a lot of high-end furniture and interior accessories, carrying brands like Artek, Bang & Olufsen, Bitossi, Ferm Living, Iittala, Lemnos, Louis Poulsen, Macon & Lesquoy, Maison Margiela, Muuto, Nude Glassware, Rexite, Royal Copenhagen, Vitra, and more.
The Heart Cone Chair takes its name from the expressive, heart-shaped silhouette of its seat shell. Designed by Verner Panton in the late 1950s, the chair combines a comfortably upholstered seat with an understated, elegant base made of satin stainless steel. For comparison, it is priced at 3,290 EUR in France and 5,250,000 KRW at rooming.co.kr in South Korea.
S. Houz (에스하우츠) carries brands like Artemide, Montana, Bang & Olufsen, Brdr. Krüger, Gus, Louis Poulsen, Misoka, Montana, Pibupibu, and Vola.
Mokuba (rocking horse in Japanese) is the brainchild of the Japanese-Danish design duo O&M Design, inspired by the traditions of Danish craftsmanship and Japanese design philosophy. Mokuba has a delicate expression with a friendly appeal. The horse is made of the best quality beech wood and the tail is made of vegetable-tanned leather. Priced at around €415 in Europe, and 669,000 KRW in South Korea.
Supul (수풀) carries a lot of unique local ceramics, glassware, stationery, and vintage pieces. Bonus: they also ship worldwide!
TRDST is a luxury home furnishing platform that sells luxury furniture and lighting from overseas through direct purchase. You can find famous brands like Louis Poulsen, Artemide, Foscarini, Santa & Cole, smeg, and more.
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Finding great furniture that fits your taste and budget in Seoul can be a tough task, but with these resources, it should become much easier. Don’t stop coming here for awesome design inspiration, too!