Daraa: High prices of bedroom furnishing shatter young men’s dreams of marriage

A furniture showroom in the western countryside of Daraa city - 4 December 2021 (Enab Baladi/Halim Muhammad)

A furniture showroom in the western countryside of Daraa city - 4 December 2021 (Enab Baladi/Halim Muhammad)

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Daraa – Halim Muhammad

Instead of being thrilled about getting married soon, Walid (aged 33) has been worried that he will not be able to purchase bedroom furniture before his wedding day. 

Walid told Enab Baladi that he could not afford the price of a new bedroom set and resorted to second-hand furniture to reduce costs.   

“I searched for new bedroom furniture and was surprised with its high prices, with the lowest cost amounting to one and a half million Syrian pounds (about 430 US dollars), Walid said.

He added that he had no idea about the surge in furniture prices until he decided to get married and checked home furnishings’ prices.

Eventually, Walid bought a used bedroom set at 800 thousand Syrian pounds (nearly 230 US dollars).

Twenty-five-year-old Yousef was not as lucky as Walid, for his fiance’s family refused the idea of buying second-hand bedroom furnishings, which forced him to buy new furniture at the cost of two and a half million Syrian pounds (725 US dollars). 

Yousef told Enab Baladi that his fiancé’s family considers the bedroom the “wife’s kingdom” and an essential part of marriage requirements that must be made of original wood.  

“However, the majority of wedding bedroom sets displayed in furniture markets are made from bad wood and sold at costly prices,” Yousef said.

Iman, a twenty-eight-year-old woman who has been married for three years, told Enab Baladi, “The wedding bedroom is the beginning of a new marital life that must reflect the couple’s shared taste and strengthen their bond.”   

Iman, like Walid and Yousef, spoke to Enab Baladi on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, and said, “House furnishings, including that of the bedroom, give a sense of renovation to any relationship. Therefore, one should buy the best wedding bedroom set regardless of its cost and choose it carefully, for it is a very special and intimate place for the newly wedded couple.”   

“Still, the couple can agree on a bedroom set affordable by the groom and get a better one in case of financial improvement if the two partners have faith in their relationship,” Iman added.  

The decline of the furniture manufacturing profession 

Abu Umran, a forty-something-year-old furniture maker and seller in Daraa’s western countryside, told Enab Baladi, “Used furniture has two sources, either looting or old furniture markets. Looted furniture is sold at lower prices than second-hand furniture.” 

Abu Umran attributed the hike in new bedroom furniture to the increased price of wood pieces and the scarcity of good quality wood. 

According to Abu Umran, the city of Darayya in Damascus countryside was one of the leading markets for bedroom sets making in the southern region, but the bombing of the city and the displacement of its residents affected the profession of high-quality furniture carpentry.

He added that merchants buy second-hand bedroom sets, fix them if necessary, and paint them to give the spark of new furniture.

Some people in Daraa who cannot afford to buy new or old bedroom sets purchase pieces of furniture limited to the bed and the closet to reduce the high costs. 

In Daraa, a bride’s dowry is paid in two stages (the advance and deferred dowry). A house furnishing is known to be part of the upfront dowry paid by the groom to the bride and is a marital right to the wife.  

The furniture manufacturing craft is practiced in all rural areas in Daraa governorate and provides necessary pieces of furniture to rural households, including wooden boxes and closets.  

Like the rest of the Syrians in different parts of the country, Daraa residents are experiencing dire living conditions manifested by declined purchasing power, devaluation of the Syrian pound, and fixed and low salaries of 60 thousand Syrian pounds (17 US dollars) for government employees. 

Under such conditions, Syrian young men fail to save money to pay for marriage expenses, which include securing a house, buying furniture, and paying the dowry and wedding costs. These requirements and others are forcing young men in Syria to discard the idea of marriage.  

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