Renting: How to Save Money on Furniture

Living room with brick wall

Looking for a place to rent but put off by properties listed as unfurnished? Learn how to save money on furniture and you may even end up in profit when you move out!

In October 2016 I joined the several million other renters living in London. After shelling out over £2150 each on the deposit and an additional 6 week’s rent, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more money on furniture. But I’d moved from a furnished one bed flat to an unfurnished three bed property, so acquiring furniture was a necessity.

Myself and my partner were housesharing with my sister who let us borrow some bedside tables and a wardrobe, but that still left us in need of a whole host of items.  Searching online I quickly realised that if you’re not too picky you can purchase furniture at bargain prices. You can also typically sell secondhand furniture for the same amount (or more!) than you paid for it, which effectively allows you to furnish your house for free.

Disclosure – Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Amazon products from which I may earn a small commission.

Items Purchased and Price They Later Sold For

ProductConditionPurchase PricePrice Sold ForOverall Cost
Storage BedNew£124.99£95£29.99
Double MattressNew£69.99£30£39.99
SofaSecondhand£150 + £80 delivery£400-£170
Dining Table & 6 ChairsSecondhand£59£75-£16
Total-£51.05 (a profit!)

Where to Buy Your Furniture – New

I chose to buy a bedframe and mattress from Amazon as I was keen for them to arrive quickly, with minimal hassle and no delivery costs. I also wanted a storage bed which could have been quite tricky to assemble secondhand. As a newbie to mattress shopping the prices blew my mind! Keen to save money I settled for a  low cost foam mattress priced at £69.99, reasoning that I’d been perfectly happy with a foam topper in my previous flat. Buying from Amazon has one more perk as I later included the link to reviews when selling the items so purchasers could see they were high quality products!

Where to Buy Your Furniture – Secondhand

Buying secondhand is the best way to save money on furniture.  Sofas in particular can be picked up very cheaply and you can always put a throw over the top. We purchased our sofa in fantastic condition for just £150 (despite it being worth £1250 new!) as the owners had a new sofa due to arrive the next day. Buying secondhand also involves a lot less commitment, as transport costs aside if you later decide an item not right for you, you should still be able to sell it for close to the amount you paid. This is because depreciation is already built into the price.

Gumtree is great for buying locally and you can use a filter on eBay to find items located nearby. I’ve only recently discovered Facebook marketplace but it’s also perfect for secondhand purchases, along with the shopping app Shpock. Local buy and sell groups on Facebook are also worth a look.

Make sure to only pay via Paypal or cash in hand. For items such as sofas where you may be committing several hundreds of pounds it can also be worth viewing the item before arranging transport. I’d also highly recommend signing up to your local Freecycle group as you may find something suitable pop up.

Transporting Secondhand Furniture

My sister managed to transport an entire dining set complete with 6 chairs (and myself!) in her Micra, but for those who don’t own a Tardis I highly recommend Any Van. I’ve used them several times for house moves and I booked them to move our sofa across London and up one flight of stairs for £80.

For items located nearby it’s always worth asking if the vendor can deliver for a small fee. If you’re confident driving  you can also look into self-driving van hire schemes. Alternatively, if the item is close enough you may be able to transport it yourself Chuckle Brothers’ style!

Tips for Selling Furniture

When the time comes to move onto your next property you should act early to maximise the returns from the furniture you’ve temporarily owned for the last year. Get a feel for the market by listing items early at a high price and gradually decrease it as your move date approaches.

List your items on lots of places, don’t hold items for anyone, make buyers aware others are interested, take great pictures and list all of the measurements. There are no fees when selling through Gumtree, Shpock and eBay cash in hand. Although you can no longer request buyers pay cash in hand through eBay many will offer to do so.

Now that I know it’s possible to furnish a property for next to nothing I’d definitely rent another unfurnished flat in future. I’d also be quite tempted to buy secondhand when I eventually own my own home as it’s such a great way to save money on furniture.  In a culture that’s often so obsessed with the latest new thing it’s  really lovely to see items going on to their third and fourth lives.

Do you have any tips for furnishing a rented property on a budget? Share them in the comments below!

graphic of piggy bank


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *