Furnishing And Decor For Your Expat European Home – Get Style And Save Money
Moving from the UK to a new home overseas is an exciting prospect but with many practical challenges and often some barriers. Purchasing or building a new home is one of the biggest challenges and as a result the question of furnishing and decor is often left as an after thought. But if you think about furniture, curtains, blinds, rugs, bedding and so on as part of your overall plan you can transform your new property into your new home.
It is true that you can wait till you are in residence before you start searching local stores for the necessary furnishings. This undoubtedly will allow you to furnish in a similar manner to other local homes, but you will be less familiar with local sources and it may take time and some style errors before you manage to complete the interior decor of your home to your satisfaction.
We’d always suggest that you should immerse yourself in the local environment and community, but when it comes to furnishing and dÃ©cor you can get the style you want and save money if you source items in the UK and then export it you your new home.
You’ll find that shopping in the UK is now often much cheaper than on the Continent. Particularly with the parlous state of the Â£ versus the Euro and significant VAT differentials you can find designer fabrics and home accessories considerably cheaper in the UK. If you buy in the UK and export to the EU you will pay UK VAT of 17.5% instead of local VAT which could be as much as 25.5%!
It’s often worth making a dedicated trip back to the UK in order to make big savings. Some expats will fill a hired van in the UK with everything needed in their holiday rental property or their own “home from home”. Since the UK is part of the EU (unlike the Channel Islands or Gibraltar) you won’t have problems with import duty to another EU country. Goods can also be shipped safely with international couriers like FedEx, UPS & DHL.
If your home is outside the UK you’ll benefit from VAT free exports – though you need to take care of local import taxes. But the retail price differentials between the UK and, for example, Dubai, the Algarve, the CÃ´te d’Azur, easily outweigh the cost of transportation & importation.
Many brands that are available in the UK are just not easily available overseas. So if you are seeking familiarity or exclusivity and an affordable solution then it makes sense to source in the UK. For example many designer curtain fabrics are 50% cheaper in the UK than in Europe.
Depending on the location of your new home, you find that you may have very limited choice when it comes to furnishings for your new home. In major cosmopolitan cities you should be spoiled for choice but otherwise you’ll find that Britain offers some of the widest choice at all levels of budget. So if your new overseas home is in rural Brittany, for example, if you want the best possible choice you could go to Paris or you could source from Britain; which would be easier?
English Spoken Here
Have you tried explaining the subtleties of your favourite fabric or paint colour in the local language? Unlike ordering a meal in a restaurant, it’s not a subject covered in many phrase books. Unless you are a linguist, you can avoid misunderstandings by using a British interior designer and supplier.
Peace Of Mind
You can deal with many suppliers in the UK who have experience of supplying goods and services to expats. Look for companies who have experience of making up goods to your specification (e.g. curtains) at a distance. Make sure they can project manage a whole house if you are refurbishing your home or furnishing your home for the first time. And of course check that they can arrange safe delivery. The right company will help you transform your overseas property into a stylish and desirable home whilst saving you time and money.
Bronia Suszczenia is co-founder and Creative Director of Fabric Gallery and Interiors in York, England, which regularly helps British expats with their homes overseas. Find out how Bronia can help you with expat home furnishings.