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Esther Shaw

Furnish your new home for less


If you've bought your first home, you may well be stretched before you even think about furniture. But it's possible to furnish your home for less than you might expect.

couple moving sofa

For first-time buyers, it's tough enough finding the money to cover the cost of buying a house, let alone cash to furnish your new home.

But if you’ve just moved in, you’ll probably be faced with having to buy a huge list of essentials on a super-tight budget.

Here are our top tips on getting your new home furnished for as little money as possible. 

Friends and family

If you’re a cash-strapped first timer looking to get something for nothing, there’s no better place to turn than to friends and family, neighbours and colleagues.

Put the word about and you may be surprised at the volume – not to mention the variety – of household goods you’re offered.

Maybe offer to swap items you don't need in your new home. Extra incentive for them and extra convenience for you.

Charity shops and car boot sales

Frugal first-time buyers can pick up all manner of reasonably-priced goods in local high street charity shops. Several charities, such as the British Heart Foundation, have dedicated furniture shops. 

You’re likely to find that a lot of the stuff for sale is as good as new. And even if an item you buy isn't in pristine condition, it shouldn't take much to spruce it up.

The Furniture Re-use Network is a site which recycles bulky household items, while Emmaus is a homeless charity that restores and re-sells donated furniture.

Also, try markets and car boot sales. Brush up on your haggling skills and you could pick up quality secondhand goods at rock-bottom prices. Find your closest car boot sale at Carboot Junction

Bag an online bargain

You may not know it, but there are quite a few recycling sites that marry up people offering to give away goods with those who need them.

With Freecycle, for example, you simply register with the online community operating in your local area. You then receive daily alerts telling you who’s getting rid of what – virtually on your doorstep.

This means you can pretty much furnish your home for free with items that other people are looking to dump – while also boosting your green credentials.

Other sites worth visiting include Street Bank, and Snaffle Up.

For buying and selling items, check out sites such as Gumtree, ebay, and Freeads. Or apps such as Shpock.

Auction houses

A novel experience and potentially cheap as chips, you can find a wide range of goods on sale at local auction houses. Just make sure you set yourself a price limit and stick to it.

One man’s rubbish

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could try your hand at a little ‘skip diving’. People will often offer unwanted items to passersby, by displaying a  “take if wanted” notice, rather than consign to the rubbish.

After all, one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure.

Recycle & re-purpose

If you can't find furniture at the price you're looking for, why not make some? Just type 'furniture hacks' into any search engine to find a wealth of creative ways to reuse everyday items.  

For some inspiration, take a look at Pinterest or Instructables. Be careful though - recreating Pinterest furniture can be hit and miss. 

Home sweet home

By following even just a few of these steps, you should come up trumps. You could fill your home with a full complement of salvaged, restored, repainted, repaired, recycled or upcycled goods, transforming your empty property into a cosy home.


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