YOUR INSIDER'S HOME DECOR SHOPPING GUIDE
IN HO CHI MINH CITY 🇻🇳 SINCE 2008
SAIGON INSPIRATION SHOPPING HOME DECOR FINDING FURNITURE IN HCMC
Some time ago, you couldn’t find quality furniture in Ho Chi Minh City – there were fewer malls, and fewer local furniture makers and anything of quality was made for export only.
These days, finding furniture is getting easier. For example, you can find valuable items still left over from when the French were here. There are about five to six great “junk shops” around HCMC that sell quality colonial French furniture.
Treasure at the Junk Shop
Junk shop brokers scout the country, pursue old properties and buy all the old furniture – wardrobes, chairs, and an assortment of other furnishings – then repurpose it and paint it. Basically, taking old bits of furniture and turning them into creative new domestic products.
At these shops, you can get items like aged French pharmaceutical chests and redecorate them – these compartments are ideal for storing small things like jewelry, kitchen cutlery, or other personal items. You have the chance to piece together an assortment of selected items to create your own unique style of interior wooden decor. One such shop is Mr. Au’s, located at 122 Pasteur, across from Saigon Centre and past the rusting gates.
You can also easily attain old shipping pallets and, with a bit of creativity, turn them into attractive pieces of furniture. If you don’t want to spend lots of money to decorate your home, this is really manageable way to make your space look good on a budget.
The Overlooked Wood Street
There’s also wood street (on Ba Hat, stretching from D5 to D10), where you can give the carpenters a design and they will replicate it out of Vietnamese redwood. Most people that walk down wood street might think it’s nothing notable – like scissor street, boot street, or safe street. But when you actually go in and visit these shops you can see everything, including laser-cut wood with intricate latticework, big chunks of wood being repurposed into everything imaginable, old furniture being restored, and so on.
You can do things like take a nice piece of old wood and have them cut it to size, restore it and then make it into a proper table. You’ll find everything from giant slabs of wood to thin sheets here – and you can utilize them as you see fit. Most of it is Vietnamese redwood, which is extremely hard and sturdy. As you can see, all this requires a bit of work and imagination.
Finding Modern Furniture in HCMC
Quality furniture depends on the wood, as well as how it’s been dried. In the past, this was a big issue, and wood was not dried well. This caused furniture to break apart over time. Nowadays, there has been much progress in this regard. There’s great furniture being made here, and although not prevalent, there are definitely stores to check out.
Reasonably Priced Furniture: For more reasonable prices, Nha Xinh (25 Tran Cao Van, D1; 111 Ton Dat Tien, D7) and Hoa Phat (121 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh District; 391 Dien Bien Phu, D1) are good options for those on a smaller budget.
For IKEA-style furniture in Ho Chi Minh City, visit Uma (428 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1) and Index Living (Vincom Mega Mall, No. 159 Hanoi Highway, Thao Dien, D2) at one of their many locations. Here, the pieces are cheap and cheerful but made from lower-quality materials.
Local Mid-High End: Saigon River Factory (Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, D2) is one of Saigon’s well established companies that make furniture out of alabaster and concrete. District Eight Design (E4/52 National Highway 1A, Binh Tan District) is also a delightful find. They craft all their furniture from reclaimed wood and produce tables and desks, seating, and games like foosball tables, pool tables, shuffleboard sets and other items. There’s also Linh Furniture (67 Xuan Thuy) and Decosy (112 Xuan Thuy), as well as Austin Home Interiors (42 Nguyen Dang Giai) – all in Thao Dien, D2.
Another option in District 2 is Casanha. The spacious showroom located at 61 Xa lo Ha Noi in Thao Dien is not only conveniently located but is also a pleasure to wander around on a hot, sunny day. Displaying the latest European & Scandinavian designs, Casanha products are designed to stand the test of time without breaking the bank. Cataloged into collections that follow the year’s hottest trends, Casanha’s range of home furnishings has something for every taste. Casanha’s range of Wall accessories and soft furnishings is a fantastic option if you don’t have a lot of room but want to put your own stamp on your living space.
A recent addition to the Casanha showroom is the range of Carbono products, direct from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Minimalist, well crafted, and oh, so trendy, if you’re looking to update your apartment, a quick look around this latest range to arrive in store is highly recommended.
Imported High End: Although it’s getting easier to acquire imported furniture because of new malls, you will bear the burden of the heavy import tax, as a sophisticated sofa can hit you for around VND200-300 million. The Times Square Building (22-36 Nguyen Hue) has several furniture stores on the ground floor that have some of Italy’s most well-known and respected brands – and probably the most expensive in Ho Chi Minh City.
SAIGON INSPIRATION SHOPPING HOME DECOR FINE FURNITURE STORES IN THAO DIEN
Shopping for home furniture and accessories can be a pain. Saigon may be full of abundant choices, but it can be challenging to navigate, and often we find ourselves browsing aimlessly without any success. It can be like a treasure hunt, but the question is, “Where do I find what I’m looking for?” We’ve listed some of the fine furniture stores in Ho Chi Minh City’s Thao Dien District. And we share some simple advice on how to make your home look like a dream.
The three-story modern warehouse opens its doors to a heaven of furnishings and decorative products whose functional reliability and beautiful designs speak for themselves. Covering multiple categories, you can find literally anything for your dining room, living room, bedroom, and entire home or office. With a wide range of price points and the trusted quality of European export standards, Casa Nhà has something for everyone.
By focusing on a wide range of products made from natural woods like oak and teak, Casa Nhà celebrates a Scandinavian home sense. Full of warmth and originality, with pieces that are organic yet beautifully sleek in design.
Their dining tables in particular are standout, with surfaces that are minimally treated to preserve the natural integrity and color of the wood. Along with clean-cut edges usually found in Scandinavian designs, and highly functional engineering, any dining table from Casa Nhà will easily light up the space, to create a balanced, airy look for the dining room.
Casa Nhà also houses an impressive selection of sideboard units. Thoughtfully designed not only to look beautiful, the perfect sideboard is also functionally powerful. The perfect storage solution for all the extra tableware or special occasion pieces that don’t have a home, any sideboard from Casa Nhà can easily slot into your existing space and stand proudly on display. From Scandinavian to Japanese inspired, vintage or monochromatic, the perfect sideboard to suit your interior design taste is waiting for you.
The perfect sofa is the heart and soul of every living room, and the standard of sofas at Casa Nhà are hard to beat. Felt has become a more popular textile of late, and a Scandinavian-style sofa in gorgeous plush felt has the flexibility to complete any living room. Casa Nhà’s sofas are designed to look slender and streamline, and are crafted to provide stability and function in undeniable style. With an endless selection of styles, colours, sizes, leg bases, and finishes, find your perfect sofa and ease back with a cup of afternoon tea and relax in ultimate luxury and comfort.
With so many design stores to be discovered around every corner, Thao Dien is truly a hub for international and domestic furniture brands. One of them is Feeling Tropic nested in a small alley on Le Van Mien street.
Feeling Tropic is a chic concept store founded by French-Danish couple, Sophie and Philip Mayer. Their aim is to “sell what we like, for people we love”. All products that are put out for sale are much-loved items by the couple, each of which has a personal story behind it.
Fill up an empty alcove with a one-of-a-kind hand-stitched cushion, some fine pottery, or scented candles. Larger ticket items such as sofas, armchairs, and natural wood dining tables can also be found. All pieces are consciously sourced, ordered, and ethically made by famous names in the field of contemporary interior design in Saigon.
Feeling Tropic understands the need for decorating the outdoor living space and places a heavy focus on this category. All pieces are made with guaranteed durability against Saigon’s ever-changing weather, from teak-white sun lounges, sophisticated dining sets, fun looking daybeds, and more. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Due to restricted space of the showroom, only a limited selection of products can be displayed within the store at any one time. Make a direct request to see more options and be amazed by the thoughtful suggestions from the Feeling Tropic team.
SAIGON INSPIRATION SHOPPING HOME DECOR CELEBRATING ARTISANS & TRUE CRAFTSMANSHIP
When I first heard about In The Mood – Saigon and how it was a home and lifestyle store that stays true to its Vietnamese roots, I was a bit apprehensive. After all, it was located in Thao Dien, the ex-pat hub of Saigon. Let me be clear that nothing is inherently wrong with Thao Dien. It’s great if you’re looking for a quaint, relaxed area away from the honking of motorbikes or your local “bắp xào đây!” man biking his cart along to that fabulous, but far too loud jingle on rotation. It’s especially great if you have a family and prefer a more spacious living area. But how ‘Vietnamese’ could this place actually be?
Rarely am I surprised, but when I am, it is in the best kind of way. From the products to the people, it was refreshing to see In The Mood – Saigon reconnects to what has been lost in the mayhem of mass-produced, quick, shoddy goods commonly found in places like Ben Thanh Market. No, In The Mood – Saigon is something truly unique that is made for locals and ex-pats alike, by locals and expats.
A part of The Snap Café, a rustic, stylish space housing a variety of boutiques, restaurants, and a café, In The Mood – Saigon’s storefront truly makes an impression on you as you first enter and, like its products, it’s something that lasts long after you’ve left. It’s calm. It’s quiet. It embodies the feeling of escape after having been in the city for too long and needing to get away to remind you why you’re in Vietnam in the first place. It’s how you’ve experienced sunrise upon waking up and stepping outside your door to be greeted by the countryside of Vietnam. It’s refreshing.
Something old, something new, something borrowed…
Founders, Florence and Valentin, were both born and raised in France with Vietnamese ethnic roots but made the physical and spiritual leap to Saigon to gain a better spiritual awareness and understanding of their Vietnamese culture and heritage.
Both founders are no strangers to fashion design and décor, which made this an easy partnership marrying an eye for design and hunger for quality craftsmanship together. Florence has been in the fashion industry from a very early age working for high-end American and French sportswear and streetwear brands in Paris before she co-founded the brand, Anna Moï, the first French-Vietnamese Ethnic-Chic concept store in the center of Paris back in the 90’s. Valentin is no stranger to sourcing and retail, and has worked very closely with artisans to produce fine handcrafted home lines and decoration items for export to retailers in Europe, USA, Australia and also well-known designers.
Florence and Valentin were friends and residents of Saigon long before they were partners and, after having lived here for quite some time, they shared a common notion that things weren’t as it once was.
“Our philosophy is to offer aesthetical and innovative decoration, clothing, and accessories for Asian trendy homes and urban lifestyle.”
While some things in front of us are far better than the things we’ve left behind, true craftsmanship is not one of them. Finding goods for a bargain price are always nice, but these goods rarely last. Quite frankly, consumers are always left wanting more. In the haze of mass-produced handicrafts and goods, quality has dwindled. Craftsmanship fundamentally implies that handcrafted goods are ‘special’ and made with proper care, time, and attention in the hands of local artisans. However, with the rise in mass production of fast goods all of what makes craftsmanship special is essentially left at the door and in the hands of machinery.
High-quality goods were traded out for everyone to enjoy, but locals and expats. Most high-quality handicrafts were getting exported to foreign, international markets. Florence and Valentin recognised a gap in the market for a sustainable, yet ambitious, fashion-forward retail business rooted in Vietnam-sourced goods. Thus, it became very clear that, with their Vietnamese-French hearts and spirits, In The Mood – Saigon was destined to happen.
Transparency and Authenticity Matters
Many foreign companies will contractually bind local artisans to misappropriate and resell their goods, which pigeonholes artisans from the acknowledgment they deserve. In The Mood – Saigon respects the spirit of true craftsmanship by building a brand around partnership and collaboration.
The founders were committed to bringing consumers back to the heart of what is special about this place we call home with a refined approach in lifestyle and home décor taking a contemporary French approach while maintaining the essence of Vietnamese traditions and the skills of local artisans.
The Place You Never Knew You Needed
When friends and family come to visit for the first time, I always hesitate on recommending places commonly featured on blogs, ahem, Ben Thanh Market. Is that how you really want to remember Vietnam in all its beauty? No, you tell them to go to In The Mood – Saigon to pick up this incredibly unique cinnamon box. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it’s not a box with cinnamon in it. The wooden box is made entirely of cinnamon bark, which gently infuses this aromatic spiced fragrance into whatever you put inside like salt or sugar.
And for me, while I love my landlord dearly, that multi-colored, floral printed bedding that was generously offered, no longer has a place in my home. In The Mood – Saigon offers 100% eco-friendly, locally sourced, and designed satin cotton bedding. It feels just as good as it looks as their designs feature local artisans who pay homage to different eras of Vietnam.
I wish I had known about In The Mood – Saigon sooner. Perhaps that’s the beauty of living in Vietnam. Something that was conceptualized only a few months ago can quickly become reality, right in your very own neighborhood. Nothing feels quite as special as knowing whatever you are purchasing is ethically sourced and made, but also authentic to the people who have created it.
In The Mood – Saigon