As a postgraduate student, I now live in a two-bed terrace home with more rooms than I’ve ever had to furnish, especially since I’m still on a student budget.
In my undergraduate days, a bookshelf, a bed and a desk were all I needed to get along. However, I now live with my partner of two years and our cat, which means the new house required more furniture to store the belongings we collected during the last four or five years.
Moving somewhere unfurnished can be daunting, and you may think it will be costly. Brig will share some of the best places to find preloved and cheap furnishings that look wonderful and are great for those on a student budget.
Bear in mind that we are living in a place we don’t see ourselves moving from for a while, so we are trying to make it feel like home.
We allowed ourselves to furnish it over multiple months, so don’t expect it to be perfect as soon as you move in; it takes time and searching.
I found Facebook Marketplace to be a treasure chest of beautiful furnishings. I bought a vintage-looking mirror for £20 and a fake leather desk chair for £40 (including a £10 delivery fee).
My best tip for Marketplace is to ask the seller if they can deliver; this is especially handy for students like myself, who don’t drive.
You can also get notified for specific searches, and whenever an item matching your search is listed, you’ll get a ping.
We managed to find a massive wooden sleigh bedframe for £60 on Gumtree. It would have cost hundreds had we bought one new.
Since we got our bedframe relatively cheap, we invested money in a new IKEA mattress. Luckily IKEA we’re cheaper than most online brands.
We also found a tall bookshelf for £20 on Gumtree, which was great for our small library. This, however, did have to be picked up by a family member.
We found dining chairs for £10 each, which paired with a table donated by my family. Sometimes you can find free items like we did with our glass television stand.
B&M Bargains have great deals on furniture, and we managed to get a lot of matching furniture, including a tall wooden cabinet for £30 with two doors to use as storage, a small side table for £12, two bedside cupboards for £20 each and a ladder type bookshelf for £15. These were all part of the same decorative range.
Keep an eye on sales and charity shops
Charity shops have been a saviour for us. When we first moved in, we had no sofa or seating in our living room.
We found a stunning mustard velvet two-seater for £230 in the British Heart Foundation. Although this was probably our most expensive purchase, we wanted a nice couch for our living room that wasn’t over £300, which is ridiculously hard in today’s economy.
Make sure you monitor sales in big stores, as they sometimes reduce furniture and home items. We found a mustard Habitat clock in Sainsbury’s for £7, reduced from £15. Asda had also reduced food storage containers down to £1.50 each.
As I said, moving into an unfurnished house can be daunting, especially when you want it to feel like home. If you allow yourself time to furnish it, you can find some great bargains instead of buying brand new. These places won’t break the bank on a student budget, especially if you split the costs with a partner or flatmates.
Featured Image Credit: Robyn Duffy
BA (Hons) Film, Media and Journalism graduate. Freelance Journalist for Brig Newspaper and Entertainment Daily. Head of Social Media for Brig Newspaper.
Passionate about diversity, inclusion and representation.
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