Furnishing a Flat on a Budget

Basic chair, sofa and coffee table

With the cost of a deposit running into thousands, even if you’re renting, there isn’t always a lot of money left over for furniture. So, if you need to furnish, say a one-bedroom flat, on a budget how little can you do it with?

Some stuff might already be there and some stuff, you hadn’t thought about, might not be…

It’s not unusual for some furnishings to come as part of the deal which means you often don’t have to worry about buying a carpet or some basic appliances.

However, there’s always some stuff you need to buy that you may not have budgeted for? Curtain rails, clothes rails, light shades, etc are all inconsequential items normally but when you have to buy them all at once the cost can be surprising?

Some stuff you already have may also not fit into your new home.

If you’re moving from one place to another it might be safe to assume your sofa and bed will come you. But check measurements carefully because even if the new rooms are big enough the entranceway or staircase may prove to be an obstacle?

If you do have to buy new stuff though fear not because there are plenty of budget options available to you.


Small 2-seater sofas are not hard to find these days and you can get something decent for £300 – £500. If you don’t have this much to play with though it may be worth looking in charity shops?

Faux leather sofa
This 2-seater faux-leather sofa, for example, was just £149 from The British Heart Foundation Shop.
They sometimes get ex-sale items donated from big retailers and the stuff is brand new too.

Of course, you won’t always be so lucky but it’s an option that’s well worth a try. And there is always the likes of eBay and Gumtree too where brand new, ex-display items can often be found at bargain prices.


Beds are another essential furniture item that you need to think about. Some traditional styles of divan do not always fit through small entrance ways so a bed you can dismantle is always going to be the smart option.

Wood and metal frame beds are normally easy to take apart and re-assemble, these kind of beds can be relatively cheap too.

And, if space is a problem, there are small double beds available which are perfect if you’d normally have to make do with a single.

Anyday Pine Bed Frame
This ANYDAY Wilton Double Bed Frame from johnlewis.com is just £199 and comes in 3 colours too.

Tubular metal frame beds can to be the most affordable option but go for solid wood if you can. The few extra quid may be worth it in the long run.

Obviously, you also need a mattress and a decent option can, sometimes, cost as much as the bed?

Budget mattress
ANYDAY Double Open Spring Mattress – just £79 @ johnlewis.com

Try and resist the urge to buy the cheapest mattress possible as this is likely to be a false economy. A good memory foam mattress can be found for less than £100 and this is a deal you’ll find hard to beat.

These kind of mattress come rolled-up and vacuum packed too, so you shouldn’t have any problem getting it in the bedroom.

ANYDAY Essentials

You may be prepared for the cost of new furniture but all those other essentials like bedding, dinnerware, etc, can easily break your budget if you’re not careful.

Set of 4 yellow mugs
Don’t be a mug when it comes to buying kitchenware. These Stoneware Mugs are just £12 for a set 4 from the ANYDAY Range at johnlewis.com

The good news though is that even stores like John Lewis have budget ranges of stuff like towels, mug sets and lighting aimed specifically at people like yourself.

Amazon also have their own basics range with an ever-growing selection of everyday items at low prices. The quality of both options is also pretty good too.

A few more tips for furnishing your new home on a budget…

Go Begging – OK, not literally, but think of all those relatives you have but don’t see that often. Chances are they’ll have some unwanted furniture stored in the garage or loft that they’ll be all too willing to let you have for nothing?

Freecycle – It’s a site where people recycle their unwanted furniture for free. All you have to do is pick it up. And, if you concentrate on the posh areas, you’ll be surprised what some people are willing to give away. Similar sites include:

Shops you don’t normally frequent – There are some places on the High Street where it’s not fashionable to be seen. But you can find some decent stuff in these shops and cheap too. Think of places like Wilkinsons, B&M Stores, etc.

Car Boot sales and local markets may also be alien concepts to you but have a look, you may be surprised what you find?

Charity Shops Selling Furniture – Although nearly all charity shops will sell odd furniture items there are a few who specialise in this area and these shops are more likely to have the best stuff, some donated directly from retailers.

The process of moving into a new home will always throw up some unexpected expenses. But, if you plan ahead, you can usually avoid most of the nasty surprises.

ANYDAY at johnlewis.com