According to the , Australians have around 25 unwanted or unused items per household. The survey found that 89 per cent of Australians have unwanted items in their homes, and the main way people are getting rid of these items is by donating them to charity, selling them or giving them to friends and family. Gumtree also found that of those surveyed, people who bought second-hand items estimate they saved almost half the cost of what they would have paid for the same item brand new.
With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that one of the cheapest ways to furnish your whole home on a budget is by buying second hand.
Buying pre-loved furniture is better for the environment, easier on your hip-pocket and each piece tells a story. Furniture isn’t made the same way now as it was then, and you’ll find that second-hand pieces, though well-loved, are still strong, sturdy and look good when styled well.
If you’re looking to furnish an entire home on a budget, start searching eBay, Gumtree, garage sales, charity shops, antique stores, and Facebook Buy/Sell/swap groups for your new furniture.
Do some research on interior styles and decide what you’re aiming for. Do you want a home that looks Scandinavian, minimalist, retro, industrial, art-deco, Hamptons or glam in style? Once you know what style you’re going for, research the kind of furniture that is typical to that ‘look’.
2. Make a list
Once you have the ‘look’ nailed down, make a list of materials (timber, leather, steel, chrome, linen, etc) and colours that are typical to the ‘look’ so you know what you’re looking for. Then make a note of the way the furniture of your chosen style looks. For example, if you’re after an industrial look, you’re probably going to be searching for furniture made from unfinished materials such as timber, steel or leather, in neutral colours and strong shapes.
3. Start you’re search
Check your local Gumtree and eBay listings for similar furniture, search garage sales, antiques stores and charity shops, and don’t be afraid to attend an auction or two, as you can usually nab yourself some high-quality furniture and bargain prices at an auction house.
4. Be open-minded
Just remember that although you have a set idea of the furniture you are looking for, you might come across a piece of furniture that could be worked into the ‘look’ if you give it a little love. While shopping for your furniture, think about if you could make it work by giving it a fresh coat of paint, simply sanding it back to its natural state or re-staining or reupholstering it.
5. Don’t give up
It’s pretty rare that even the most seasoned vintage-shopper comes across the exact thing they’re looking for on their first trip into the auction house or charity shop. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find what you’re looking for straight away, try and try again!
6. Use your imagination
Although you might be looking for some shelves, perhaps an old timber ladder with deep steps could be the answer? An old desk can be transformed into a dresser by mounting a vintage mirror on the wall above it, or a heavy chest could double as a bench seat. Spend some time scrolling Pinterest to get ideas on how vintage furniture and knick-knacks can be repurposed in new homes.
7. Don’t dawdle
Once you come across something online, contact the seller to arrange an inspection immediately. Second-hand gems at great prices go quickly, and only the early bird gets the worm. Keep this in mind when visiting second-hand stores, too. Just because it’s here today doesn’t mean it’ll be there tomorrow.
8. Do a quality check
Check the item for high-quality materials such as leather, linen, wool and cotton. Check for strong stitching or pulling seams and turn the furniture upside down. Good quality furniture should look as good from the bottom as it does from the top, so steer clear of items with fraying upholstery, roughly-cut screws or unpainted areas.
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