Furniture, handicrafts, toys made from handloom material, dark wood antiques and reproductions- a classic Colombo combination. Small, typically fairly high-end boutiques selling all of the above are a common feature of Colombo’s shopping landscape. For sheer scale you can’t beat Paradise Road
- they are an empire and have the whole works from those little decorated seeds and candles to elaborate heavy, stone statues. For a more eclectic and expensive selection there’s the Hermitage
. And of course in the category of handlooms and lighter gift items Barefoot reigns supreme.
Somewhere towards the middle of Sri Lanka’s handicraft/ home-decor range is Suriya. They’ve got some pricey beds and Mahogany chairs but also lot of less expensive Knick-Nacs – mugs with the Sinhala alphabet, wood-cut fridge magnets, gold painted pine cones etc.
The deceptively large bungalow down Layards Road is stuffed full of furniture and gifts. All arranged into the sort of aspirational rooms a certain kind of girl (or boy?) sticks on pinterest. Lots of patterned cushions, and colourful throws - overstuffed mattresses.
While the selection isn’t quite as creative and tasteful as you’d find in the Hermitage the stuff is more affordable and you can pick up little ceramic pots , candles etc for a few hundred rupees. You don’t get the unique, big ticket items you might find at say Gandhara
but there are some good pieces and the staff are helpful They also have a workshop for furniture and woodwork so you can make things to order.
For a spot of gift shopping and even for more serious purchases Suriya is worth wandering into- the easy to reach and the pleasant Layards road location doesn’t hurt.
They make things to order and you can sometimes get things cheaper than the marked price by asking to have the same thing or same-looking thing made out of cheaper wood.