Given all the attention IKEA’s tax minimization has received, and because we want to help the local operators stay in business following the Swedish giant’s arrival in town, we put the call out last week for Best of Canberra – non-Ikea furniture stores recommendations.
Our favourite line among all the comments came from Ezy: “Canberra Milk are my favourite local supplier of furniture.”
Seriously, though, readers quickly pointed out that IKEA sells much more than just furniture.
“It’s homewares, Manchester, fabrics, lighting, storage, bedding, and there is still great choice in Canberra. There’s Big W, Spotlight, Lincraft, Howard’s Storage World, Fantastic Furniture, Harvey Norman … all great Australian Companies who pay tax at the correct level, and also continue to employ locally,” wrote Gavin Cuddy.
James Ellis agreed about the breadth of offerings at the Swedish giant.
“IKEA is awesome purely for the homewares and other items,” he wrote, before offering up a furniture alternative.
“We bought some good furniture this year (finally got rid of our “student” furniture) and got it from Furniture Direct in Fyshwick. Reasonably priced and doesn’t come flat-packed.”
Furniture Direct received a couple of mentions, including one from a reader whose purchase did come flat-packed.
The majority of recommendations suggested shoppers go for something more timeless than the fast food-style options on offer at IKEA. For something custom-made, well thought out and built to last, Canberra has plenty to offer. Among the alternatives RiotACT readers mentioned after our callout last week were Uneke Furniture, Designed Furniture, 1825 Interiors and Select Custom Joinery.
Two favourites were Thor’s Hammer in Yarralumla and Designcraft in Hume.
Thor’s Hammer designs and makes quality furniture and architectural designs with recycled timber. Bringing the wood from demolition sites to the Old Canberra Brickworks, the furniture here is tailored to customer specifications, as opposed to providing catalogue options.
Your dining table can be made to look brand new or given an older, antique look should you wish. The deck out back could be given a rustic coat or refined for a sharper appearance.
The furniture is all made in store, with an adjoining workshop abuzz with construction underway.
Thor’s Hammer imports from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and the work and labour is local.
Designcraft provides a shopfront with a variety of options set out to offer a visual of what your living room or dining room could look like. It is all custom made on location as well.
Designcraft’s furniture is proudly “stuff your grandkids will fight over,” showing not only the lasting quality of their work but also how desirable it is to own one of their pieces.
They also guarantee that their furniture will be assembled for you!
While neither shop is in the same price range as IKEA, they are both great alternatives to buying something with a limited life span and rather providing something to cherish.
Out of the two, Thor’s Hammer is my pick for this week’s Best of Canberra. If you are after something special for your home, you will find passionate furniture makers and the item will be exquisite.