You’ve just moved into a new flat. It’s empty or nearly empty. You’re on a budget and a timeline, but it’s still important for the place you come back to at the end of every day to feel like home, whether it’s for five months or five years. So where do you begin when it comes to nábytek (furniture)?
There are several major furniture chains in Prague where you can get the things you need to make your flat functional, and the things you want to make it livable, all in one stop. Now frankly, if you line up the flyers that come in the mail from most of these stores, it’s hard to tell the difference between them. Czech style is the same no matter which store you’re in: modern or contemporary, with lots of straight lines, plain fronts, and chrome hardware. But when you stick your nose up close there are differences in selection, quality, and price.
So here’s the skinny on the major furniture chains in Prague, in order of my least to most favorite.
Walking into Asko feels like you’re entering an over-sized dollar store, if dollar stores carried furniture. The furniture isn’t worth mentioning, but you can find an occasional cool, inexpensive throw pillow or candle holder, depending on the day. Given the quality of everything in the store, though, my eyes nearly popped out of my head at the 1399 CZK price tag on a small metal table lamp. And this after I had only just recovered from the astounding assortment of plaid chenille sofa and chair sets that look like they were right out of a used car sales office. It’s only worth a quick trip to Asko if you’re hunting for really inexpensive odds and ends, like cheap kitchen platters, or funky vases.
Location: Nákupní 389/3, Štěrboholy, Praha 10
Services: Delivery and installation for a fee, will honor other manufacturer’s coupons for identical items
If you’ve ever wanted to trek through a forest of particle board, pull on your hiking boots because this is your place. This furniture warehouse is full of friendly staff, and tacky, contemporary furniture, though there are a few unique finds. I spied a floor lamp with drum shade, and curly willow branches around the column. But for 5000 CZK, it’s certainly no bargain. Or a fun round wicker chair on a metal stand base for 5399 CZK. Again, maybe not such a find after all. The textiles – curtains, towels, rugs, and pillows – are below average in both style and quality. In a nutshell, there’s nothing here that you won’t find in other stores in greater selection and style, so you can skip Sconto.
Locations: Jeremiášova 947/16, Stodůlky, Praha 5 & Chlumecká 2420, Horní Počernice, Praha 9
Services: Delivery, assembly, and installation for a fee, best price guarantee within 8 days, 2-year warranty on all goods
Möbelix falls right in the middle. It’s on the nice end of discount stores, but it’s still a discount store. Most of the furniture is rather generic, and contemporary. You’ll likely find some items that suite your style, but they may also be the things with surprisingly high price tags, like a gray tweed-covered dining chair I spied, with a price tag of 2000 CZK. Or a great, sturdy wood credenza for 12000 CZK, though that’s probably reasonable considering it was solid. There is also a small section of hardware/tools, and small appliances like vacuums, coffee makers, and hair dryers. You won’t find much kitchenware here, though.
Locations: Nárožní 1390/4, Stodůlky, Praha 5 & Kolbenova 510/50, Vysočany, Praha 9
Services: Delivery, assembly, and installation for a fee, lowest price guarantee if you can prove within 10 days that a competitor offers the same goods for a lower price
Kika comes in third on the list because while this store has some beautiful pieces and a great selection, it’s a bit expensive. A solid cotton table cloth for 2190 CZK? Personally, it would have to set itself and make food magically appear before I’d pay that much for a plain cotton table cloth.
Kika has all the standard particle board fare in bookshelves and cabinets, but also carries a wide range of styles, from a charming white bedroom set with scalloped trim, to a sleek sofa table with a welded black metal frame and wood slab top (I may have to save my allowance for that one). There’s also a fantastic variety of real wood dining tables in warm woods, in grey woods, with metal legs, or with wood legs. But these would be investment pieces to keep for years to come, and they carry the price tag to go with their quality. For housewares, Kika has shelves and shelves of vases, candle holders, planters, etc.
Location: Veselská 709, Letňany, Praha 9 & Pražská 135, Čestlice
Services: Delivery and installation for a fee, best price guarantee
With a name that sounds like an adult video store, wouldn’t you know XXXLutz is actually a really classy furniture store. This Austrian company boasts a ranking of second largest furniture dealer in the world. In my book it may even be a tie with IKEA for first place. After all, any store with silver snake skin wallpaper in the women’s restroom, and a display with crystal chandeliers above a bathtub definitely offers some unique style choices. Want a giant bird cage for your living room? XXXLutz has it. A cowhide dresser? They have that, too. A hanging wicker egg chair on a stand? You bet.
Of course, it’s not just the funky and unusual. XXXLutz has a huge range of modern designs for a variety of tastes — one of the best throw pillow selections in Prague, interesting glass and kitchenware sets, and a collection of bath towels as soft as clouds. Another example of the selection: where other stores only carry plain-frame mirrors, this store has a whole section of decorative mirrors with three-dimensional frames. Parents, there’s also a rather large children’s department, with everything from prams, to toys, to clothes. Happily, the prices are also pretty reasonable for what you get.
Location: Nárožní 1390/4, Stodůlky, Praha 5
Services: Delivery, assembly, and installation for a fee
A Swedish powerhouse of modern, affordable design, IKEA is in 39 countries. You’d have to live under a rock to have not heard of it. And if you do live under a rock, IKEA has some things that could really spruce it up! The quality ranges, but the majority is not a long-term investment. Case in point: I’m afraid to ask my landlord to move the IKEA wardrobe out of our living room because I don’t think it would survive the journey.
IKEA has pretty well cornered the market on innovative ways to marry style and affordability, with cost-cutting tricks like their famous self-assembly furniture. Their concept, they say, is to offer, “a wide range of well designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.” To this end, IKEA is doing well enough that everyone will know just where you got your Malm bed and Poang chair.
In the sofa department, IKEA is your best bet for finding something that doesn’t look like it’s out of a space lounge set in a 1980’s movie. For window coverings other than the classic Czech sheer curtains, IKEA is the only store that carries heavier-weight, pre-made curtains.
Location: Chlumecká 664/10, Praha-Černý Most, Praha 9 & Skandinávská 131/1, Třebonice, Praha 5
Services: Delivery, assembly, and installation for a fee
Have we overlooked any worthwhile furniture stores? Let us know below!