Taobao has always been my best friend when it comes to hunting aesthetic decor for our home, ever since our first house renovation in 2018. We have been doing lots of Taobao furniture, home decor, and tableware shopping since then. Nowadays, I even shop for baby items on the platform!
I love what I bought, and I am always proud to tell my guests that a large number of items they see at my house are from Taobao.
Here in this post, I am going to share a few of my favourite corners of the house, the Taobao decor and tablewares I got, and the links to the shops where I got the items from. I have been patronising some of these shops since 2018, and I am happy to share that they’re generally very durable! I will also be sharing some tips to shop for your Taobao home decor at the end of the article too.
The dining area is undoubtedly one of my favourite corners of the house. Our interior theme was Bohemian Mid-Century Modern. So you would see earth tone, macramé, lots of woods and rattan elements in the house.
As we already have an Ikea IVAR sideboard cabinet in this space, and a solid wood dining table from Picket & Rail, there is already a lot of wood element in the dining area. I wanted something not too heavy, preferably not in beige or wood colour to blend in the look when it comes to decor items.
So I found this beautiful, light grey-coloured frame painting from a Taobao store called Brusheep 涂咩, and instantly fall in love with their frames and paintings. The style very much fits the mid-century modern theme so check them out if you’re also going for a similar theme. Their frames are made of real wood and glass, hence they look sturdy and expensive, which is why I love shopping with them.
My vinyl record player was from Syitren, a PRC local brand carried by the store called 黑胶盒子. I like that the owner is passionate about vinyl record players and if you are new to this and can converse well in Chinese, you’ll learn a lot from him.
As for the plants, considering that we both need to be in the office (that was before COVID happens) and that the corner where we wanted a plant doesn’t have any sunlight, an artificial cactus was the best option. But I wanted a super realistic artificial cactus.
I found one at my favourite home decor shop Juhan Home 掬涵. It is of the right size and the right shade of green. While it wasn’t exactly cheap (SGD 70 excluding international shipping) but given the quality and the workmanship which you can see from the close-up photo above, I am happy with the product. I also shopped for my wedding decor, CNY decor, and Christmas tree ornaments with them too!
Coffee can be a costly passion for aspiring home baristas. The accessories and devices can be really expensive. But Taobao is a good alternative to get entry-level coffee accessories, especially when you want some hands-on experience but are not sure if the investment would turn out to be a white elephant in the house.
I bought my pour-over coffee maker with a wooden base and some other coffee accessories like espresso & coffee cups from this reputable home, tableware and coffee accessories shop on Taobao called Toto 九土. Their packaging was nice and sturdy and I didn’t have to worry about breakage even for international shipping.
One very simple and straightforward way of elevating your home dining experience is to upgrade your dinnerware. And Taobao offers beautiful tableware at an amazing price point.
I like to buy bowls and plates from this store called Do Easy Home 朵颐家居. Their designs are simple, modern and minimalist, with that quintessential Wabi-Sabi aesthetics that I love.
However, think twice if you’re purchasing something from this shop with the ship-direct function from Taobao. My recent two purchases from them (and using Taobao’s consolidated shipping) did not turn out well as there were broken pieces (6 out of 8 pcs of plates were broken) even when I had told the seller to enhance their packaging — the packaging still appeared flimsy.
The shop did offered full refund of the broken plates but the shipping wasn’t covered. While I love their products, I find that the quality of their packaging has definitely gone backwards through the years.
#Tip: If you have a trusted forwarder company, you can ask the forwarder to repack your items, especially when you're buying fragile items like tablewares. Most forwarders are good at repacking your items, ensuring your items arrived safely.
I love buying cute Whiskey glasses tho I am not particularly fond of the drink. But it was love at first sight when I saw this Japanese-mountain-peaks-inspired whiskey glass from I Ka Cook 爱加家居. It is made of heat-resistant glass, and paired with a walnut wood coaster and costs less than SGD 15!
Sake Cup, Coaster & Wooden Tray
I also got this cute little sake cup from Joto 九土. You can also use it as a Chinese tea cup too! I pair it with a handpainted coaster from a store called Qixi China 器昔. This particular shop has a lot of vintage and Japanese-inspired tableware and ceramics. Wooden tray is from Do Easy Home 朵颐.
After a busy day at work, I always like to light up a scented candle with the fragrance that suits my mood and let it do its magic as I wind down. I found this inexpensive merry-go-round candle holder from 卖香薰的小女孩. Once you light the candle, the merry-go-round will start turning slowly, and it looks so therapeutic. It also makes a great gift for the festive season too!
Blue & White Floral Bone China Tea Cup
For those who have been following my Instagram and this blog, you may notice that this particular bone china tea cup and saucer has appeared multiple times on my stories. While it may be expensive to own a real vintage bone china tea cup set, Taobao has made my afternoon tea at home super pretty and affordable! Blue & White Floral Print Bone China Tea Cup & Saucer set from 尚兰欧品屋.
Key & Ring Tray
One of my first buys from Taobao for our home was this Umbra 2-tiered storage rack from OTB Home. I use it to place our house keys and rings.
Another home decor item everyone asks about is this candle holder. It comes in various sizes, and I got the big one that can hold a block candle and the smaller one that can hold a tealight candle. They’re from this lovely interior decor store called 收集时光. It is an old piece which isn’t available anymore. However, they carry lovely tableware and accessories so if you like to set up a cosy home cafe, do bookmark this store! Christmas garland from Juhan Home 掬涵.
UV Light Sterilizer
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently have been the part and parcel of our life in recent years. This Philips UV light sterilizer from 杰逸家居专营店 came in handy in time like this and I’ve been using it to disinfect everything when I reach home. It is USB chargeable, and you just need 8 minutes a day to sanitize all your gadgets & accessories!
I like to decorate my entrance/hallway according to season. Say for spring, I’d go for a romantic pink theme, with matching posters, vases and accessories. I got my Korean-inspired poster & frame from DESIGN hanajung. Brown vase, wooden plate, candle and fossil coral from Korean-inspired decor shop SHINY MOMO. Both shops offer affordable interior decor pieces if you are into Korean-inspired interior design.
My Taobao Home Decor & Tableware Shopping Tips
With my 6 years of experience shopping on Taobao (and counting), I am confident to say that my satisfactory level has always been 4.5-5 upon 5, which is pretty high. And I rarely get a heart attack from my Taobao interior shopping loots. Here are my tips:
#Tip 1: Don't go for dirt-cheap stuff. This is my No.1 golden rule if you want something sturdy and unique. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. There is always a "Find Similar Item" (找相似) button for you to gauge how expensive and cheap the very same (or similar) product can be. After some quick CSI, you'll usually be able to find out who's the original seller and tell the imitated goods apart. After which, it is up to you to decide if you want to pay a higher price for better quality and originality, or you're alright with a cheaper product.
#Tip 2: Always read the review section. When it comes to home decor and tableware shopping, real buyers are more than happy to share reviews of their purchases. And that is where you can verify what you see is exactly what you'll be getting. I find that there are lesser fake reviews in the home & interior segment compared to the fashion segment, so it is relatively stress-free when it comes to buying decor items on Taobao. If reading Chinese isn't your forte, always look at the photo and video reviews before purchasing!
#Tip 3: Engage a forwarder for fragile items. If you absolutely need to ship fragile items like mirror, glass ware, tableware and furnitures, it is always a better idea to engage trusted forwarder that will do a good job in handling your goods! I find that they handle my parcel way better than Taobao's own consolidated shipping or direct shipping as broken items always happen when I don't engage my usual forwarder. As mentioned earlier, you can also request your forwarder to check the parcel and repack for you if necessary.
#Tip 4: Message the seller and request better packaging. What I'd usually do after purchasing is to let the seller know that the item will be travelling a long distance from China to Singapore. I'll also ask the seller to add a few more layers to protect the goods. While there are seller who would go extra miles to pack the items nicely, there are also those who would just give a standard reply, and would automatically give a refund for the broken items. Well, to each their own. At least we know where to stop buying from in the future! :)
The above are my two cents regarding shopping for your interior decor from Taobao. What are your favourite Taobao stores when it comes to Home Decor shopping? Do comment below!