On this page we bring together advice and tips on where to buy furniture, soft furnishings and DIY items. The benefits and pitfalls of builders and tradesmen and the shops to find good bargains. We have also added some links for books on Austrian culture and understanding the people. Also items you might need for a holiday or trip to Austria, be it walking boots, maps, sports gear or winter clothing.
Once you have a made the choice to buy a property in Austria…then comes the exciting bit…putting your own mark on the property. Change the colour scheme, install a modern kitchen or bathroom, refurbish or renovate.
For most bargain properties, this generally consists of redecorating and replacing very old and out of date furniture, particularly if you have invested in an apartment building from the 70’s.
So, where to start? getting rid of old furniture and furnishings is a must… most villages have a re-cycling centre or one close by, that open on certain days of the week.
Now that the furniture is gone..where to buy new. One of the most popular Department stores in Austria is Ikea…mainly because of their competitive pricing along with extended warranties on their products, particularly kitchen electrical items, that come with a 5 year guarantee, as compared to other stores with 2/3 years. They offer 15 years on kitchens fitted by them. But the choice is not always extensive with the furniture ranges, and some of the modern pieces are not to everyones taste.
For some of the best in furniture choice, the chain stores of XXXLutz and Kika-Leiner have a great range in stock and also to order. If you need something in a hurry, then they have what is known as ‘Carry Home’ this is in warehouse and ready for collection. For something special in the way of furnitiure, one generally needs to place an order… just as you would in the UK.
These stores do have a good system of free self drive van hire to take larger pieces of furniture home….you only pay for the insurance for the day….around 16 euros!! So a bargain. They also have online ordering from their websites…but it is better to visit a store to get an idea of what furniture styles there are in Austria.
Sofabeds are more popular in Austria than in the UK..this is because many one bedroom apartments utilise the living room as a guest bedroom. Also, there are more studio apartments for the younger person/student so a sofabed is essential.
Tradesmen and builders.
We often get asked about this sector of the property industry….so are you sitting comfortably?
Generally Austrian tradesmen think of themselves as very special. An example is, that in Germany, a plumber is called a ‘Klempner’ ( a plumber) In Austria a plumber is called an ‘Installateur Profi’ ( a professional installer of bathrooms and plumbing systems!) Austria is many years behind the UK for DIY, as most Austrians would hire a tradesman to do what was required..but over the last 10 years this has been changing rapidly.
Many locals cannot afford some of the prices after buying a property, so decide to do work themselves. A good indicator of this is builders are now stating to offer, that the buyer can chose a level of build and do the rest him or herself! Such as plastering the walls, laying the floors or even installing the kitchen.
So you will find that they tend to overule your own choices unless you are adamant about what you want, whether it is electric or plumbing installation. Prices tend to be in the region of 45 – 65 euros per hour plus vat.
The big DIY stores have tradesmen who offer a good service at a fixed price or sensible hourly rate. There are carpenters that would put up a shed for you or re-roof an old one, Plumbers who offer installation of bathroom or toilets at fixed prices. Electricians who will rewire your apartment or house. These big DIY chains are named Bauhaus and Baumax…they can be found in most large towns/cities.
With our personal knowledge and local connections we will be able to help you find the right tradesmen for your project after your purchase.