When it comes to home renovation, decor and furniture for most what comes to mind is £££ and the fact that they won’t have any left. Unfortunately, that can be very true. Simply look online or go in store to places like Laura Ashley, Wayfair, Oak Furniture Land, John Lewis and the prices that they charge for furniture, curtains, lighting, mirrors etc is simply extortionate. Chest of Drawers for £500? TV Stand for £300? Sideboard for £400? Theres simply no way I would ever be able to dream of spending that much money on furniture. So, I thought I would share a couple of ways how I always get the item or look that I want, on the cheap.
This one is the most obvious way of saving some money. My favourite sites are eBay, Gumtree and Facebook marketplace to search for second hand pieces of furniture, or anything for that matter. Not only can you get the item you need for a fraction of the cost, but I often find that buying second hand opens up so many more options and designs available, instead of just a few selected pieces that shops are currently selling. I also love that it gives each piece of furniture a story and history, rather than just a flat pack off the shelf piece.
My latest second hand eBay buy is this stunning SMEG fridge. It’s something that I’ve wanted for so long and I’m thrilled with it. These retail for £1200+ and we won this one for £217 on bids. It works perfectly and I’ve no issue with using a ‘second hand’ fridge, when we moved into this house the fridge before was in built and I didn’t think twice about it having been previously used.
Our wardrobe in our bedroom is another one of my favourite second hand eBay purchases. The key lesson from this one is to not necessarily limit your search and just see what is out there. I had been searching for a more ornate, french style wardrobe for a while, with most the minimum price being £800 for a double wardrobe made from MDF. I broadened out my eBay search and found this one on bids and managed to win it for £350! The catch? It was in Belgium. However, for £50 the seller delivered it to my front door 2 days later! They had obviously set this up as a business, buying them over there where they are cheaper and setting it up to catch the ferry over a day after the auction ended. So, it’s definitely worth broadening your search and just seeing what is out there.
eBay doesn’t necessarily mean second hand though. There are so many small businesses that have shops or are set up on eBay, which can often mean savings for you.
Earlier this year I wanted to update the coffee table in our front room to an upholstered footstool. However, with ones from DFS, Made.com and Laura Ashley being £400+, I took to eBay and found a company that makes many different styles, in different sizes and choices of fabric. I ordered one and it arrived perfectly, and for in total £178! I think that eBay can sometimes come with a stigma attached of not being reliable or lots of conmen on there, which I’m sure there are, but if you use PayPal and your common sense then you will always be protected. I buy so much from eBay and *touch wood*, am yet to have had any bad encounters.
It’s not only small businesses that have shops on eBay, but many high street brands have outlet shops on eBay where you can get a bargain for something that may have been returned, or have a small bit of damage. Here are just a few:
Laura Ashley: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/lauraashleyoutletstore/
Seek Inspiration and DIY
Although ridiculously expensive, online and high street shops can be great sources of inspiration. You can do some window shopping, find something you like and either try to find a cheaper version or make it yourself.
For example, I saw this mirror online for £355 and fell in love, just not with the price. So, I ordered these antique mirrored tiles, Toby to get some plywood and silicon from work and we stuck them on and painted the sides black. It looks stunning and creates the exact same effect that the £355 one would, except it cost a fraction at just around £80 in total.
Another example is this print that I originally saw for £150 in Oliver Bonas. I shopped around online and found the print only for around £20, and then ordered the same sized frame from amazon for around £30. Put them together and volià! The exact same look for a 1/3 of the price.
Of course another great way to save money is to up-cycle existing or second hand furniture by painting, changing handles/knobs, chopping and changing etc. But thanks to one of the greatest inventions of our time, chalk paint, you no longer have to limit yourself to what you paint. For example, I had a range of different photo frames that I had picked up from charity shops that were all different colours, however I wanted them to be all white, so instead of going out and spending £20 on lots of new frames, I simply slathered some paint on all of them.
Apart from the obvious up-cycling of painting things, if you get creative you really can up-cycle other things to save a lot of money. For example, as our house is Victorian our ceilings are very high, and unfortunately no ready made curtains were long enough for our bedroom windows. So, instead of spending a couple hundred pounds getting some made, I bought the longest pair available from Dunelm for around £60 maybe and then bought some fringed trim from b&m, trimmed them to length and hot glued them to the bottom of the curtains. You could easily do this to any curtains with a complementary strip of fabric to make them longer and save you a lot of money.
Just another quick example of an up-cycle is this print I made. I bought a cheap frame from the range and a piece of card, cut it to size and then chose an image from a Vogue book I found in a charity shop and glued it on. Looks really effective and cost under £5.
Finally, my last tip for getting what you want cheaper is to shop around. Never buy the first thing you see and you may be able to find the exact same for a lot cheaper on another website or on eBay, or may be able to simply make it yourself or up-cycle. Pinterest is great for inspiration. This especially goes for anything from IKEA as well, if say you wanted to buy a bedside table from there, have a look on local selling sites and gumtree/eBay, 9 times out of 10 someone around the corner will be selling one for half the price and already built (that in itself is reason enough!).
Thanks for reading!