Flat Broke FurnishingDecorations, Furnishings, Interiors January 6, 2014 - 2:21 pm 1 Comment
First Home News would like to thank Penny Golightly for writing this blog post exclusively for us.
Penny Golightly is the writer of her self-titled blog. Penny is a journalist and author who set up this site to share bargain-hunting tips and information. She loves finding all the nicer things in life for less.
After saving up for a deposit, and paying home-buying fees other expenses, there’s often nothing left in the pot for any creature comforts. But fear not – here’s how to furnish your living room on a budget of zero.
First of all, don’t be afraid to improvise. A large upturned packing crate covered in a sheet becomes a temporary table, for example. You can also turn strong medium sized boxes on their sides and stack them against a wall to create a low bookshelf.
Finding freebie furniture
Start by asking around family and friends – you’ll often be pleasantly surprised with offers of sofas, chairs, curtains and sideboards. While it may not be to your personal taste, it’s likely to still be useable.
Make the most of your local resources. Look for local charities and other schemes giving away free used furniture, check your local paper for any giveaways, and check neighbourhood message boards and online forums. Your local council tip or recycling depot might not sound promising, but it’s often perfect for finding useable tables, chairs, storage, mirrors and picture frames for nothing.
Some of the best online resources include:
- Freecycle (http://uk.freecycle.org/)
- Freegle (http://www.ilovefreegle.org/)
- Preloved’s free section (http://www.preloved.co.uk/free)
- Gumtree freebies (http://www.gumtree.com/freebies)
- SnaffleUp (http://www.snaffleup.co.uk/)
For larger items you’ll probably need a van, although a mate or relative may be able to help you out. Remember personal safety when going to pick things up.
Sometimes good quality furniture turns up in skips, or on the boundaries of properties. At this point, legally speaking, it’s still the property of the person who’s thrown it away. Just knock on their front door and ask politely, and you’ll almost certainly be allowed to help yourself.
Cleaning it up
- Sealed wood, melamine and MDF furniture can be wiped down with a lightly dampened cloth.
- Most cushion and beanbag covers, and some chair and sofa covers, can be removed and put through a short, cool wash.
- Non-removable fabric can be lightly sponged clean with upholstery cleaner from a hardware store, but do a test patch first in a hidden area to make sure the colour doesn’t run.
Pulling a look together
Mismatched furniture doesn’t always look great, but the appearance can be improved by adding some well-chosen accessories. Most armchairs and sofas can be disguised with a blanket, throw, or thin cotton rug. You can also find cheap fabric slip covers at eBay, La Redoute and DIY shops that fit most shapes of furniture.
Try painting wooden and MDF furniture and picture frames to colour-coordinate them. It’s fairly cheap and easy to do with fine sandpaper, undercoat and paint. Remember to use a mask when sanding MDF, as it can release harmful dust.
Get creative and you could end up with special customised pieces that you want to keep for years.
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