If you are renting an apartment unfurnished, it is up to you to bring all your appliances, such as fridge, stove, air conditioners, light fixtures etc.
If you are renting it furnished, make sure you agree exactly what will be included in the price before signing the contract.
If you have the option, it might be wise to buy your house appliances in Lebanon. The prices are usually a bit lower than in US and Europe. There are several big department stores as well as home appliance stores where you can find whatever you need. If you are in it for a bargain there are certain areas in the bigger cities that will sell goods of a bit lower quality, but much cheaper. If you're in Beirut, try your luck at the smaller stores around Dora and Ouzaei.
All stores will deliver the goods to your home without any additional charge. Remember to tip the workers carrying it all up to your home, especially if there is no elevator in the building, or the electricity is out when they arrive.
Among the most popular appliance stores are:
To purchase all the different things that you might need in your new home, try hitting the many galleries, furniture or department stores in or close to Beirut. They all offer a vide range of products (some of the bigger ones being BHV, Spinney’s, Furniture City, Sleep Comfort, Galleries Vanlian).
If you are up for some vintage or antique shopping the most popular area is Basta, which is located between Hamra and Gemmayzeh in Beirut, and it has a myriad of small shops offering furniture and antiques of different qualities and styles.
The same thing, but much cheaper, is found in the southern suburb of Beirut called Bir Hassan. It’s a bit tricky to find and you will definitely need an Arabic speaking person with you to make the best deals. But still, if you go alone and get a bit screwed by your white face and British accent, it’s still going be a bargain.
If you are interested in furniture, mattresses or curtains that are special made by hand for you, there are (still) many skilled craftsmen operating in Lebanon. In the Beirut area you find most of them in the Armenian area of Bourj Hammoud on the Eastern side of Beirut, next to the highway. There you can go straight to the source (the workshop) and order a table, bed or anything your heart desire, and it will be hand made for you with the wood or materials of your liking, at a much lower price than in any of the bigger department stores. And usually the items will be very well made and of good quality. Unfortunately, these types of stores will not be found online or in the yellow pages, so you simply have to go there and ask around in order to find the best places.
By Helena Forsell, a 30 something who left her native Sweden for Lebanon 6 years ago. Now she is reinventing life in Beirut.