Gaobeidian Furniture Street
A true hidden gem and prerequisite for anyone moving to the city or looking to update their home. Located out east on Line 1, the Furniture Street is a 300m long street of furniture stores, antiques showrooms and workshops ranging from dusty reclamation sites to glossy showrooms housing 18th Century French armoires.
The stores number in the hundreds so we've picked some of our favourites:
Hongguxuan Having said Forbidden City-style interiors might be beyond reach, after visiting this furniture shop we take that back. Before reaching the street itself, lovers of traditional Chinese furniture with a large budget should stop by this immaculate showroom to gawp at both the beauty of the pieces and their price tag! Here you'll find everything from huge gilded thrones (220,000RMB) to Burmese rosewood beds (45,000RMB) and more affordable sets of red-sandalwood chairs at 4,000RMB.
Wood Elements (50A) Specialising in pine, this showroom stands out from the crowd because of its traditional-influenced furniture created in a modern style. The furniture here is locally made and very high quality. Pine chairs start at 1,000RMB and sturdy tables at 5,000RMB. This showroom is also an inspiration for interior design with its clean and simple displays.
Oubao Dian Cang (59A) Unless you're rolling in cash this showroom is unlikely to have anything in your price range. It is, however, worth a visit just to look at the antiques. The owners bought their stock in Europe and had it shipped over to China for sale to the über wealthy. The result is adecadently luxurious selection of florid French antiques, German pianos,British paintings and Russian ornaments. The most expensive item on sale is aFrench wardrobe at a staggering 2 million RMB.
Yuan LongTang Gu Wan A little further down is this treasure trove of statues, vases,tableware and knick-knacks. Surprisingly affordable, you could spend a happyhalf-hour browsing through the shelves of dusty items where even the largestQinghua vase is only 1,500RMB. Ideal for kitting out your home with some Chinesetableware (bowls and plates around 100RMB a piece), this small store is a breakfrom the eye-watering figures of the plush showrooms which flank it.
Along the street are also innumerable small shops housing reclaimed statues, fittings and furniture. Less polish but buckets of potential with prices starting at around 1,000RMB.
Take Line 1 to Gaobeidian station, leave from exit A and walk south into the village. Continue for 100m and before the railway turn left to the street which is marked but an enormous traditional gate (you can't miss it).