William's Taobao Home Makeover: The Shopping
In collaboration with e-retailer Taobao, we follow the home transformation journeys of three homeowners, as they build their dream homes from scratch! From renovating to shopping online for their home, will the result be what they had always envisioned… or better?
This is the second article of a three-part series on William's Taobao Home Makeover.
Check out the rest of the series:
Opting a white/dark-wood scheme to accentuate the amount of light filtering into William’s eighth-storey BTO flat in Keat Hong, designer Pricilla from Authors • Interior & Styling also took on the gargantuan task of finding matching furniture pieces for the busy homeowner.
From searching for the right shops and pieces to coordinating and styling the space, the multi-tasking ID reveals her end-to-end furniture shopping experience on Taobao, and the highlights (and challenges) she faced in the process:
Psst, free shipping on selected bulky furniture from 20 to 22 Sept 2018! Scroll to the end of the article for more deets.
In the Living Room: Wooden TV Console from 林氏木业
About deciding on the furniture style
Pricilla (P): Mainly, we were looking for something that was in a darker wood, to complement the rest of the home’s theme. Or something that looks more contemporary. I wouldn’t say that we stuck to a particular theme, but as long as it fits visually, I would shortlist the item for William to choose.
In the Master Bedroom: Lounge Chair by from 林氏木业
About the types of furniture chosen for the house
P: We got a TV console, dining set, as well as a half-height cabinet in the living area from Taobao. Initially, they (William and his wife) wanted to get a freestanding partition to visually 'block' the dining area from the main door's view for privacy. However, we couldn’t find a suitable one, so we decided to choose a half-height cabinet. Other than that, we also got a feature wall piece to display some of their knick-knacks.
In the Entryway/Living Room: Shoe Cabinet from 林氏木业
Pricilla's Taobao shopping process
P: I’d take measurements of the house first, then check out furniture items that would be able to fit into the space. For instance, sofas - especially those that come in an L-shaped configuration - can be particularly tricky. If it's too long, or if the extended ottoman is on the wrong side, it might not fit and could block up the walkway in the living room. Because William’s living area is narrow and long, I had to find a sofa with the right L-shape alignment, so that the longer side would be flushed to the windows.
P: Once I was sure it could fit into the space, I moved on to the design. Which items would best fit into the theme? I’d shortlist those that do, and then send the list to William and his wife for approval.
In the Bedroom: Grey Fabric Bed Frame from 林氏木业
Pricilla's highlights about shopping on Taobao
P: It’s quite fun, because you’ll get to discover a lot of things you won’t find in Singapore. Also, they are more affordable on Taobao than in local stores. In fact, what I like about the site is that I can simply take screenshots or photos of furniture that I think will suit the space, upload it and similar designs will appear for me to choose from. It also saves me the hassle of manually scrolling through item after item.
In the Master Bedroom: 3-Drawer Chest from 卫诗理/Visney
Her challenges faced when shopping on Taobao
P: It’s not really a bad thing per se, but simply the sheer amount of stuff available. All that searching and scrolling through to do! Otherwise, it’s about product stock. Because most clients have a strict timeline and a certain date they’d like to move in by, I had to check if the products chosen could be manufactured and delivered on time. There were many items that had to replaced because of that.
In the Guest Bedroom: Latex Mattress (Queen) from 慕思旗舰店/DeRucci
What to look out for when Taobao shopping
P: Always read the reviews! For me, they are the most important thing to check out when shopping online - not just to get a better idea of how the product will look like in real life, but to also glean for information that the product page might not include. I don't buy items without some sort of review.
P: Another thing to look out for is the shipping cost. Sometimes, that can be more expensive than the item itself! One way of making the most of this necessary expense is simply buying more at once, consolidate them or buying multiple items from one merchant to reduce costs.
In the Living Room: Small Coffee Table from 林氏木业
About her overall experience
P: I would say it was positive, because it saved us a lot of time physically shopping for stuff. Another plus point was definitely the wide variety of stuff. In Singapore, you’ll have to spend a lot of time visiting each shop, and it's not something that can be done within a day. Shopping on Taobao shortens that time. However, as with all online stores, it’s hard to find out if the pictures would live up to the actual product, which is why I often rely on reviews to make the decision.
In the Bedroom: Wooden Vanity with Stool from 林氏木业
Lastly, some furniture styling tips from Pricilla
P: Carpets are really important for marking out spaces in the house and making it feel cosier. You can finish the look with plants for a hint of freshness and mirrors or picture frames to fill up empty walls. Also, false ceilings and cove lights aren’t the only way to illuminate your home and set a cosy ambience - consider getting loose standing or table lamps, without spending too much on built-ins.
Next up, it’s the big reveal! We take a look at the final result of the William's dream Taobao Home, complete with the furniture he bought. Will expectations meet reality? Read on to find out!
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