Ever seen vintage furniture pieces creating magic at a cool colleague’s place and reasoned with yourself, “Maybe someday…But I can’t afford it right now”? Then you haven’t heard of the Bamboo Bazar in Shivaji Nagar. Yes, they sell much more than just bamboo. Shivaji Nagar is Bangalore’s go-to place for second-hand and used stuff. It has everything from automobile spare parts to custom fabricators, from branded clothes to exotic pets (try Russel Market) all at exclusive and infinitely bargainable prices. All you need to do is be open to prior ownership of the said goods. Although these are not fancy outlets, the shopkeepers can speak almost any language you throw at them.
Most shops have those flimsy but attractive rubber wood furniture and a wide variety of cane furniture (the cheapest deals in the city that can also be customised for you). But they also pile up used and remodeled antique furniture in rosewood and teak. You will rarely find two identical pieces here. It may look like junk covered in thick layers of dust but make the effort to look beyond that and you’re sure to be rewarded. Doors, chairs for every utility, cabinets of all shapes and sizes, cupboards, racks and chests and boxes and anything the weekly haul brings in, is on sale (barring that one piece that is so beautiful that they don’t want to part with it). Prices are negotiable. Getting a good price depends on your bargaining abilities and resistance to the salesmen’s cajolery.
Your Antique furniture 101
- Wear Shoes: There are more than 20 different stores and you will have to walk around and check out most of them to find your dream furniture. Also try going back after a few weeks if you don’t find anything you like. Stocks are quite erratic here.
- All-inclusive bargaining: Always factor in the cost of repairs, enhancements like glass fittings etc, and transportation during bargaining (if you don’t bring your own). Or else, they will make up for what they have lost in the above categories. Leave out enhancements if you have your own carpenter.
- Check under the hood: Carry a flashlight as these stores aren’t always well lit. Knock around, get your hands dirty by checking within and under every hoary item. If you are completely unaware of how this is done, look it up or take someone who knows.
- Look interested but not desperate: If the seller thinks you’re just browsing, he will quote a higher price. While bargaining, also let them realise you can go elsewhere. (You might know this one already.)
- The more you buy, the more you save: Your bargaining power increases with each purchase. If you don’t want more than one piece, try to convince a friend or neighbour to come along and buy stuff.
If you are wondering why you should take so much trouble for something that is used, know that teak and rosewood are highly durable and become stronger with age. Also, Bamboo Bazar can save you up to 70 per cent on these. Besides there are a lot of fancy showrooms that source their stuff from here and sell it at great profits after a facelift. Or you could just visit for a recce and to sharpen your bargaining skills.
How to Get There
Where: Bamboo Bazar, AM Road Sulthangunta Shivajinagar
Timing: All Days 10 AM – 7.30 PM (Afternoon is the best time to visit)
Cost: Varied (Based on the item and the bargain)