Need to furnish your home beautifully but don't want to spend a fortune? There are bargains galore out there, and not just at Ikea.
By Laura Howard
So, you're on a shoestring budget - what's your choice when it comes to furnishing your home? Of course, you could head for Ikea - and probably part with more cash than you intended - but before you do, it's worth taking a look at the alternatives.
The first thing to do is to hunt for freebies, which is actually easier than buying secondhand. Websites like snaffleup.co.uk, freecycle.org and gumtree.com advertise furniture that people are giving away, so it's worth checking these sites on a daily basis.
You can also sign up to their mailing lists to make sure you're not missing out on any goodies. The website policy may state that you have to give first to receive, but this should be easy if you're also looking to de-clutter your home.
When you're getting furniture for free, you obviously can't have specific requirements. But, as long as you're prepared to be creative, you can turn something old and scruffy into something funky and fresh looking. This may mean painting or re-covering.
Don't forget that you can also accessorise furniture - although a sofa might be old, if you team it with some bright cushions, it can look as good as new.
You can also go the whole hog and re-cover an old sofa or armchair that you've picked up for free. This might not be as expensive as you might think. Make sure you shop around for a price you are happy with. At bemz.com, for example, you can recover an Ikea Ekeskog armchair for £57.78. The site also lets you sample different colour schemes by dragging and dropping colours and patterns on to furniture styles to see how they look.