In Dubai, a home shopping experience normally comes with a visit to the mall, which is swarming with the usual retail suspects and hundreds of other shoppers also desperately trying to find a companion for that new coffee table. A true home, however, is not complete without those rare and odd finds that have a story, a personality, and a great memory attached to them.
Every now and then, when you come across a hidden gem in the city, stores with owners brimming with passion for the collections they curate and true collectibles, it’s so rewarding you almost want to keep them a secret. But don’t worry, we won’t.
For bronze-dipped pineapples, World War II helmet lamps, and intricate Uzbeki carpets, discover the best unconventional, off-the-wall stores that the UAE has to offer.
The Odd Piece
The store certainly lives up to its name and is a complete sensory overload in the best way. Shop vintage and mid-century modern furniture, funky, glamorous, wonderfully weird accent pieces including Wiinblad lidded pitchers, Bowback Windsor side chairs, and enamel and brass fans circa 1984. The Odd Piece creates a seamless dialogue between vintage and modern and is a brilliant example of the kind of curation that can only come from a deep love of design.
Rare Find: 1950s floral sofa
Tel: (+971) 4 379 1217
Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai
Pinky Furniture & Novelties
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the size of this shop; it is a treasure trove of gorgeous finds full of beautiful touches. Once inside, you will see furniture pieces stacked on top of each other much like in quaint antique stores in sleepy towns outside of big cities. The brother-sister duo who owns and runs the store has built a real family of patrons, bringing in new pieces every few weeks, always keeping the collections fresh and drool-worthy. Hand-carved wooden dining tables, elegant writing desks, funky cupboards, bookshelves, candle holders, mirrors, and frames are some of the many covetable things in this store.
Rare Find: Hand-painted cupboard
Tel: (+971) 6 534 1714
Street 18, Sharjah
The Bowery Company
If the interior-design Pinterest boards from Sweden and New York had a digital love child, it would be The Bowery Company. With a soft spot for the industrial and a penchant for the minimal, the site is beautifully curated, instantly inspiring customers to impulse shop or redecorate – or both. Be it accent furniture or light boxes with funky, customizable text, the Bowery Company is a great way to enjoy luxury design in your pajamas from your couch.
Rare Find: The ‘Marlton-Lounge’ chair in a brushed-gold finish
Objects & Elements
Tucked away in the warehouse lot right opposite Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Objects & Elements is chock full of surprises. Large pop-art canvases adorn the walls, and ornate, industrial, rustic pieces of furniture fill the floors. We’re crazy for a little kitsch, especially when it’s in the form of Pepsi-Cola crate planters or canary-yellow miniature giant wheels that will make any mantle or shelf pop.
Rare Find: A black-and-white dice seat
Tel: (+971) 4 323 6182
Alserkal Avenu, Dubai
Nobody does high-end minimalism better than theSwedes, and this bungalow-style store on Jumeirah Beach Road proves this theory once again. The furniture drips with class, made with high-end fabrics and expert craftsmanship, but what we love most about the pieces in this store is that they are such a celebration of design and history. Be it for mid-century-style arm chairs, ‘Decanterlight’ chandeliers that feel like such a throwback to the opulence of the 20s, or achingly trendy industrial accent furniture, D-tales is an unmissable stop on this city’s design trail.
Rare Find: Bronze Kavalier lamp
Tel:(+971) 4 338 6395
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai
The Urban Yogi
With a huge focus on tribal artisanal pieces from all over the globe, marrying tradition with contemporary design, The Urban Yogi, located on the basement level of Times Square Mall, boasts a soulful collection of home décor pieces that is steeped in history and craft. Some of the standouts have to be Indian truck facades as sculptural art, love seats upholstered in hand-woven fabrics from Calcutta, and vibrant jute woven benches.
Rare Find: Vintage-suitcase chest of drawers
Tel: (971) 4 379 4943
Times Square Mall, Dubai
One of the hidden gems of Old Dubai, Chuk Palu is a sweet little store with some serious sophistication. Contemporary Gaba, Sumak, Uzbek, and Kilim patchwork, stone-washed rugs, and textiles fill this beautiful shop with colors. Bold hues, robust and coarse textures, and a diverse variety of patterns will send you into a tizzy in this gem of a shop. To heighten your authentic old-Dubai experience, take an abra ride to Deira and get a hot cup of chai on the other side of the creek before moseying over to Chuk Palu.
Rare Find: Kilim cushions in all sizes and colors
Souk Al Kabir Textile Market, Bur Dubai, Dubai