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English Homes

Furnish your home for free….well, almost

Homeowners love nothing more than coordinating their soft furnishings, eating a luxurious meal on their mahogany dining table or adding a mountain of plumped decorative pillows to their already over-dressed beds. And while this penchant for all things homely certainly keeps their homes in ‘sale ready’ condition for the entire 365 days that make up the calendar year, a generous income is needed to quench this thirsty habit…

Or so those advertising gurus at Britain’s leading home stores would have us believe. While no homeowner can resist a midnight spending spree at their local branch of IKEA or a quick rifle through the range of colour palettes at Homebase, savvy consumers are always ready to soak up the latest cost savings tips.
If you find yourself rummaging through your neighbour’s abandoned furniture offerings to add a little pep to an otherwise drab room, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

The nation loves a freebie

In fact, a growing number of consumers are going to great lengths to avoid shelling out unnecessary pounds on furnishing their homes. Since 2009, Gumtree.com has seen a 49% increase in its members using its Freebies section, and a 146% increase in the amount of those using the website’s Swap Shop.
“The biggest items are the most common,” says Trisha Routledge, spokeswoman for Gumtree. “Those are obviously the ones that are most difficult to move, if you want to get rid of a sofa it’s easier to give it to someone who wants it rather than taking it to the tip.”
Routledge also feels that; “There’s no longer a stigma attached to second-hand furniture.” There is certainly evidence that homeowners are buying used furniture in their droves.
To join the freebie revolution, take heed of the following advice on how to bring your home furnishing budget to an earth shatteringly low figure of 0…or thereabouts

Freecycle.org

The clues are already contained within the name. This site is all about freebies and recycling.
Speaking to The Daily Mail, James Johnson, 35, who works in marketing, and his wife Caroline, 32, explained how they used Freecycle to kit out their two-bed rental house in Shadwell, East London:
“We came to London last year with very little – only our wedding presents. We needed to furnish the house, and over the past year we’ve done just that through Freecycle,” says Caroline Johnson.
“Among other things we have garden furniture – a gorgeous oak table and six chairs that just needed a rub-down with teak oil to perk them up – a computer monitor, stand and plants. The plants belonged to one woman’s ex-boyfriend, and as he’d left both her and the plants, she was more than happy to donate them.”

Go online

Snaffleup.co.uk works on the same premise as Freecycle. It dubs itself as ‘the recycling website’ and homeowners can get their hands on a whole host of freebies from kitchens to garden furniture and much more. Users of the site can also get alerts when something they’re on the lookout for becomes available. The site also makes postings nationwide, while Freecycle is divided into geographic areas.

Get creative

So, you’ve already saved the equivalent of a small country’s GDP by buying secondhand. However, to save even more money, you could scour the internet for furniture discount vouchers or change your kitchen cupboard doors at companies that offer a ‘furniture facelift’ service.
Try the Furniture Re-use Network (frn.org.uk), a site which recycles bulky household items such as furniture and white goods.

Kate Knight writes for Savoo.co.uk , the money saving, voucher code and destination site for savvy shoppers

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