Thursday, 22 November 2012

Furnishing on a budget

I've had this blog post in the pipeline ever since we moved to this flat in late June, but I think it's finally time to share my thoughts! We've been able to fill the flat and make it a home without spending loads and here are a few ideas I've implemented. Let me know if you have any to share too!

1. Ask friends and family if they have anything spare. A lot of our furniture was free because a friend generously gave it to us as she was moving out of the country. Ask your friends and relatives if they have anything spare going or pieces they don't use. A lot of people have furniture stored in their shed or garage and may even appreciate you taking it off their hands as it saves a trip to the tip!

2. Using a spare bed as a sofa. We moved into a one bed flat but we wanted the option to have guests to stay too. We didn't want to shell out too much for a sofa (those things are expensive!) so we used a bed instead! This single bed was one of the things we got from our friend, and it's a simple ikea frame that doesn't have a headboard or anything. It allowed us to be able to transform it into a sofa without it being too obviously a bed. I used a lot of cushions to bulk out the back so it wasnt too wide, and I've been spending my spare time making cushion covers for them. Our colour scheme in the living room is red and to save more money, I brought scrap fabric and clothes from charity shops to make the covers. For the sides, I created bolsters out of a spare duvet which I cut in half to make two. They definitely add to the illusion of a sofa, but the cushions can be easily taken off to create a spare bed for a guest.

3. Use wallpaper samples for artwork. You can take wallpaper samples from any DIY or Home shop (ours was from The Range) and then simply place them in a frame. The samples are free as they often have rolls unwrapped for people to tear out and take home to match to their room, but I've also requested samples from wallpaper websites.

4. Use postcards to create wall art. This is similar to number 3, but I loved this postcard set from Quill and Fox on Etsy. I simply bought a four pack of frames from ikea and framed them instead of using them as actual postcards. I love the art and it's a good way to display prints you love.

5. Use doilies, candles and frames to add interest. Little doilies are a simple way to add interest to the tops of cabinets and definitely don't just belong in your Grandma's house! Mine were in a pack of 5 which you can find in cheapjack stores and pound shops. The Lizzy Stewart print in the white frame above came free when I bought a tote from her from Many Hands, so it's always a good idea to utilise any art you may have lying around.

6. Use storage units as tables. These Hol tables from ikea are pretty popular as they can be used for storage too. They're great for a flat with limited space and are very reasonably priced. I really recommend joining as an ikea family member aswell as when I got mine I managed to get 20% off.
If you've just moved to a smaller flat than you're used to and there's not much space to fill all your things in (and throwing things away isn't an option!) it may be a good idea to consider self-storage. There are storage units of any size and suitable for any budget across the UK. I got rid of quite a bit when we moved into the flat but there are plenty of great ways to store more important things.

A lot of our furniture is from places like ikea and argos. As it's our first flat we didn't have much money, but as we move from house to house and grow older, I'll definitely purchase some investment pieces. Don't shy away or snub places like ikea, they have some great bargains and it's easy to personalise them. Make cushions and table runners to add interest and create something unique but still cheap. Also, don't forget to look in the bargain corners as you can find some really great discounts on things that are slightly damaged but can be hidden easily (with a runner for example!)

I hope you found this helpful and enjoyed a little peak into our flat! xo


  1. This is a great post! I can't wait to have my own home and furnish it, but I'll definitely be thrifty with my homeware purchases! One thing I've really picked up on is the growing trend for charity furniture shops - there's one near me and the prices are so brilliant for the quality you get! x

  2. such lovely ideas I never thought about turning a bed into a sofa brill idea

  3. Great post! I will be moving into my first house next year (as a student) and although a lot of furniture is included i love to find cheap ways to decorate :) xx

  4. Great advice, a lot of our furniture is second-hand and I really don't mind turning my hand to a bit of craftwork to spruce a few pieces up. I really like what you've done with the single bed and cushions. I'm such a wallpaper sample addict too xxx