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Furniture Stores Turkey has several furniture stores, with the same prices nationwide. See the external links section for more information. Hand-made Furniture Some of the smaller privately-owned furniture stores can hand-make furniture to your specifications. In some cases you can show a photo of a piece, even out of a catalog, and a carpenter can make it for you. There are three things to watch out for when having anything custom made in Turkey: People who say they can do things which are beyond their capabilities. Because there may be big money in the project, the carpenter may be banking on the possibility that even if he doesn't do a good job, he can still get you to pay for it with sob stories about how hard he worked on it and how his family won't be able to eat unless you pay. "Standart!" Meaning standard, Turkish workers often have a set way of doing something. If your specifications differ from "standart," the carpenter may decide that the way you really want it to be done is the "standart" way. Before having furniture made, get references. never pay the full price in advance. Storage Few apartments in Turkey have closets. For storing clothing, they often use wall units or wardrobes, called gardırop (gahr-duh-rowp). These vary in size from a meter wide to sizes which cover an entire wall (and require lots of assembly). Two smaller wardrobes, side by side, are much easier to move and won't have to be taken apart and put back together again if you move to another place. Turkish beds typically have only a mattress (no box springs) and a frame which raises up on one end to reveal storage space underneath. These are useful for storing out-of-season clothing or anything else you want to put away for a while. Office Furniture and Supplies You can also find office furniture at smaller dealerships in any of the larger towns and cities, including modular self-assembled furniture. See the external links section for more information. Grocery Stores Besides groceries, these stores sell kitchenware and supplies for the home. Larger versions of the stores also sell white goods, basic furniture, televisions, and electronics. Migros There are three sizes of Migros stores, depending on what they have. MMM Migros: A hypermarket which is usually in a mall or is the main feature of a mall. MM Migros: A medium-sized, standard grocery store with added features like a meat counter and a bakery. M Migros: A small, neighborhood-sized grocery store with basic and more limited household supplies. Kipa The main competition for Migros, Kipa also has stores of various sizes, up to and including those who are the main attraction at large shopping malls. Carrefour A high-end store, normally the prominent store in a larger shopping mall. Bim A chain of small and medium-sized neighborhood grocery stores. Department Stores At department stores you can find kitchen and bathroom essentials, lighting, home textiles, and a limited selection of furniture. Among these are Boyner and Mudo Concept. Electronics and White Goods Stores These stores are sometimes in a huge building with every conceivable type of electronics on offer, including televisions and home entertainment systems, computers, and white goods. You will also find them in smaller shops in shopping malls. Among them are Arçelik, Vestel, TeknoSA, ElektroWorld, and MediaMarkt. Do It Yourself Stores The main home-improvement or do-it-yourself stores are Bauhaus and Koçtaş. Seasonal Sales Sales in Turkey happen twice a year, at the end of February and the end of August. They also happen during or after Muslim holidays such as Şeker Bayram (sugar holiday) or Kurban Bayram (sacrifice holiday), which have different dates every year. Keep your eye on the newspapers to see what deals are on offer. Furnishing for Turkish Guests Slippers, called terlik (tehr-leek) will allow your guests to remove their shoes and have something to walk around in while in your house. Buy some of various sizes. You should also buy a shoe shelf, called an ayakabalık (ah-yah-kah-bah-look), to store the shoes, and place it near the front door. Convertible sofas (and even arm chairs), called çeykat (chey-kaht) will give your Turkish friends or family a place to sleep when they spend the night. Having family stay overnight (or for many nights) is common, and expected, in Turkey. Nesting end tables provide a space-saving way to have plenty of small tables available for serving refreshments. Carpets The floors of Turkish homes are usually ceramic tile, marble, or wood parquet intended to be covered with a carpet. While wall-to-wall carpeting is available, the tradition is to cover the floor with machine-made or hand-made throw carpets. Machine-made carpets: These are sold from stores in most every city or town, at malls, department stores, furniture stores, and do-it-yourself stores, and privately-owned shops. They can have either the look of a traditional hand-made carpet or a modern design. Hand-made carpets: Much more expensive (and worth it, if you make the right deal), hand-made Turkish carpets will last a lifetime (and longer), and can be a valuable family heirloom. You can buy these from shops which specialize in them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of tricks in this trade, and you could end up with a Chinese counterfeit or a carpet which is worth far less than you paid for it. You really need to know what you're doing when buying hand-made carpets, or have someone with you who does. Draperies Draperies, called perde (pehr-deh) usually hang from a three-track bracket affixed to the ceiling. On the top of the drapes are plastic fobs which fit into these tracks. Besides department and do-it-yourself stores, you can buy draperies at local shops. The drapery maker, or perdeci (pehr-deh-jee) will just need to know the dimensions of the windows you want to cover, and the number of pleats you want (from one to three), since more pleats requires more material. Spot Shops For the best bargains on new and nearly-new furniture and white goods, go to a "spot shop." Found in any city or large town, spot shops buy and sell used appliances in good condition. Sometimes Turks use their monthly payment plan as a way to get quick cash, buying a new appliance on the payment plan, then immediately selling it to a spot shop. What may be a poor financial decision for them is a great way to get high-quality furniture and appliances, at low prices, for you. Ask around to see if there is a spot shop near you. See Also Renting an Apartment or Villa in Turkey: A complete guide to finding the right rental property for you. Turkey Furniture and White Goods Forum: Turkey Central's forum dedicated to furnishing and equipping your home. If you have questions, please ask them there. External Links Alfemo: In Turkish and English. Stores nationwide. Ikea: In Turkish. Stores in Ankara, Bursa, Istanbul, and Izmir. Istikbal: In Turkish and English. Stores nationwide. For English, click on the "international" button at the top right. Tepe Home: In Turkish and English. Stores in most provinces. For English, click the "International" button at the top right. Yataş: In Turkish and English. Stores nationwide. Kelebek: In Turkish. Stores nationwide. Çilek: In Turkish and English. Specializes in children's furniture, accessories and decoration. Office 1 Superstore: In Turkish. Stores in Afyon, Ankara, Istanbul, Kayseri, Konya and Zonguldak. Bürosan: In Turkish. Stores in the major cities of Turkey. Migros: One of Turkey's national grocery store chains. The larger stores, signified by the number of "Ms" denotes the capacity of the store. For example, a 5M Migros is a mega-mall, while a 3M Migros has more limited stock. Kipa: In Turkish. Now owned by Tesco, Kipa also has stores in different sizes and with varying ranges of products, as does Migros. Carrefour: In Turkish. Usually a hypermarket, but also with smaller versions. Bim: In Turkish and English. A commonly-seen neighborhood grocery store with basic home implements. Boyner: In Turkish. Mudo Concept: In Turkish. Arçelik: In Turkish and English. A Turkish manufacturer of high-quality white goods. Vestel: In Turkish. Manufactures the Bosch brand of white goods in Turkey. TeknoSA: In Turkish. White goods and consumer electronics. ElectroWorld: In Turkish. White goods and consumer electronics. Media Markt: In Turkish. White goods and consumer electronics. Bauhaus: In Turkish. One of the best home improvement stores in Turkey. Koçtaş: In Turkish. Another home improvement store. Hepsiburada: In Turkish. An on-line store where you can get just about anything, including furniture, white goods, home decor, office furniture and supplies, computers, electronics, and much more. They also have fast delivery (sometimes next-day). You order by credit card. On your first purchase with a credit card, you will get an e-mail which tells you to fax them a copy of the credit card along with your identifying information. After that, the credit card will be listed in their system as approved for future purchases. Sahibinden.com: In Turkish. Meaning "from the owner," You can buy used furniture, white goods, and just about anything else, directly from the owner.
Tell us what your life is really like as a Turkey expat. What problems do you have? What annoys you? What do you like about your experience? What do you dislike? What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a Turkey expat?