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Outfitting a flat from scratch - can it be done cheaply without crappy quality?

(35 Posts)
fridgepants Sun 24-Feb-13 12:40:00

DP and I are looking at renting a flat together, and we've realised that if we go for unfurnished, it widens our options considerably. The downside is that we will have to buy all the furniture - which is a big chunk of money upfront.

Would it be wise for us to just pick the cheapest stuff IKEA sell, or is there a sweet spot when it comes to balancing cost and quality there?

We know of charity furniture stores in the area (moving to a different part of London from the one I'm in now) and Free cycle, but as neither of us drive we are working on the principle that we will have to buy everything new in order to work out costs.

Urbanvoltaire Sat 30-Mar-13 07:11:46

I'd get the best bed, mattress & sofa you can afford from new & from eg John Lewis. Avoid DFS at all costs for sofa.

For the rest either ikea or charity/auctions. My place was kitted out with ikea table, chairs, chest of drawers, bedside tables all from ikea & still going strong. I've since got a few more bits of furniture from eBay & collected (have estate car). Maybe you could hire a van for a day?

guineadogpony Tue 19-Mar-13 10:49:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

notcitrus Mon 18-Mar-13 08:59:52

Buy new mattress, then bed later. Charity shops will deliver for about a fiver. are useful for arranging cheap delivery when you see bargain good quality stuff on Ebay.

I would get the mattress and then wait a couple weeks until you know what you want where, and also people will start offering stuff. Make sure you measure spaces first!

lightrain Mon 18-Mar-13 07:26:24

Try Tesco or asda direct for sofas. I have bought 2 from Tesco and my friend bought from asda. Great value and they are lovely quality, lasted very well. You have to take a small risk as you can't view them before, but Tesco collected and replaced sofas that arrived and I didn't like for free. I paid £600 for both a 3 seater and a 2 seater, very pleased (ikea cheap sofa bought some years ago broke soon after I bought it, so I won't buy sofas from ikea now!).

Agree with pps who say ikea furniture can be great, you just have to chose carefully.

Ikea deliver most stuff if you order online, btw.

noddyholder Mon 18-Mar-13 07:24:08

eBay for decent secondhand rather than cheap flat pack which is not cheap at all for te quality. Get a new mattress otherwise used is fine

BettySuarez Mon 18-Mar-13 07:23:11

Rather than buy a bed and mattress, could you not just spend more on a really good quality mattress? Might be better to invest more there and get bed frame later when pennies less tight?

hophophippidtyhop Mon 18-Mar-13 07:17:28

The courier service at ikea works out well. Not london but my local one at southampton, I pick and pay for everything, then they will deliver up to £250 worth of goods for £15 the next day.

dinkystinky Tue 26-Feb-13 09:55:26

Check out gumtree for house clearances/furniture being sold - we sold loads of quality furniture when moving via gumtree for a fraction of the price we purchased it for.

poozlepants Tue 26-Feb-13 09:53:45

Gumtree. You can get ikea and other stuff on there for a fraction of the cost and then it doesn't matter if you want better later on you can regumtree it. I have got shelves, beds, tables and chairs from there.

jaynebxl Tue 26-Feb-13 09:51:05

Another vote for Emmaus if you have one near you.

florencerose Tue 26-Feb-13 02:32:56


they frequently have stuff that is as good as new, my understanding is that they will deliver for a fee.

I was told they do electricals and have great deals on TVs

howcomes Tue 26-Feb-13 02:19:29

Go to ikea for a decent mattress and sofa and perhaps the bed frame too, then source out the remainder at charity shops, sales, eBay etc etc as you can, ime anyway, fit most of the other things in a black cab - wardrobes might be tricky I admit!

Best to spend time finding something you really like for the right price then have to effectively buy something twice, ie just buying cheap for now and replacing it later.

I'd rather buy soft furnishings new to avoid dealing with unexpected extras such as bed bugs or fleas but will happily trawl thru charity shops, auctions, gum tree and so on for the rest.

Leafmould Sun 24-Feb-13 15:04:14

What do you mean by cheap?

I would go to the nearest auction. As long as you are not needing all the stuff immediately you will be able to pick up good quality stuff far cheaper than ikea.

Scootee Sun 24-Feb-13 14:55:03

Ikea is great quality (and style) as long as you shop carefully there. They do have some stuff which is total shite. I am sitting in a room with 2 ikea chairs which I bought over 10 years ago and they still look very nice.

I don't like Argos at all for furniture, ikea far superior.

EnjoyResponsibly Sun 24-Feb-13 14:50:50

Our British Heart foundation often has good wardrobes, dining tables and chairs too.

You can sand them down and paint them.

Corygal Sun 24-Feb-13 14:49:48

Don't forget the joy of junk renovation, which is the last thing you will feel like after humping your stuff around, let me tell you, but... a chest of drawers for a fiver from the chazza, plus some white paint and new knobs cheap on ebay can get you properly nice, good quality, interesting furniture that lasts.

I've done it, and I am clinically clumsy, but it really does work and costs pennies not hundreds of quid.

EnjoyResponsibly Sun 24-Feb-13 14:49:34

I second that the crucial point to IKEA flat pack is taking the time to assemble it properly. I've got stuff dating 15 years and 3 house moves because DF worked his patient magic, counted all the bits and had a range of Phillips screwdrivers smile.

I've also had a settee from IKEA for 15 years. It's lovely and the quality is great. I think I paid about £400 for it, supplemented it with a couple of cheaper chairs and voila!

They often have good sales for end and coffee tables too-I bought end tables for £5 in the summer.

And you can't beat their kitchen stuff. Looks good, functional and great value.

JulesJules Sun 24-Feb-13 14:42:17

I think Ikea stuff is great. When we moved into our house from a small flat, we needed loads of stuff and got nearly all of it from Ikea. I think I spent the first few months building flat pack furniture. I found the quality is higher than a lot of other retailers and a lot better value - we had a wardrobe from Next, for example, that was pants, and a chest of drawers from Argos which was fine, but much more expensive than Ikea.

Oodsigma Sun 24-Feb-13 14:33:34

We have the cheapest ikea dining table & 4 chairs ( can't remember its name) and its survived 7 years in a building site/3 children/ house move and doesn't look too rough. We were going to replace it but are now holding off to save up

catlady1 Sun 24-Feb-13 14:09:22

If you're not bothered about second hand it is definitely worth looking at charity shops and furniture projects as well as second hand or discount furniture shops. They do tend to have a lot of crap but they also have some good stuff.

I don't think any of the furniture in our flat was bought new or full price. Our sofa and armchair and bed, wardrobe and drawers we were very lucky with, someone we knew bought them new to furnish a flat he was moving into but then ended up moving in with his partner and sold them to us very cheap. Our hallway table and bathroom cabinets we were given by family, fridge freezer is from freecycle, and our cooker and washer were ex-display models that we got for half price. Our TV stand and display cabinet in the sitting room are from a furniture project thingy, we also got a table and chairs and a computer desk from the same place but gave them away because we don't really have the space. It's all great condition and looks fine together.

If you're crafty, you could always buy second hand and then repaint/reupholster furniture and really make it your own for a small price.

FellatioNels0n Sun 24-Feb-13 14:00:06

If budget flatpack stuff is all you can stretch to then IKEA is streets ahead of places like Argos and B&Q for quality. But you still have to be realistic. If a table is 20 quid it's probably not going to be great. If it's eighty quid it could be fabulous.

ihearsounds Sun 24-Feb-13 13:37:42

Ikea is a lot better than argos. Ive had stuff from argos that hasn't lasted a year, and some of it wasn't cheap. Yet I've got stuff from ikea that's 14+ years old.
I don't drive, but look on ebay as you can get deals for man and van for ikea.
You also have free cycle and gum tree for the basics, as a temp solution while you save.
Sofa, go to independent furniture stores. Friend bought a massive (8 seater) corner leather unit for less than £600, over a grand elsewhere.

WishIdbeenatigermum Sun 24-Feb-13 13:09:48

Yourself. You may be surprised at what friends and family want to offload on you.
Emmaus and British Heart Foundation stock good quality second hand furniture.

Fallenangle Sun 24-Feb-13 13:09:11

Oh, and look out for internet clearance stuff from the likes of Sainsburys M&S and John Lewis, you will get it delivered too. Avoid Debenhams , their service if something is damaged is apalling.

WishIdbeenatigermum Sun 24-Feb-13 13:08:12

Ikea is definitely better quality than Argos, but delivery's more complicated- can be great if you can take it home y

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