What is the cost of furnishing a home?

Posted 30 May 2017 by Helen Christie

Research suggests that furnishing a new home can cost on average £15,215, but as we see, it can be done for much less...

Furnishing a new home is often a combination of new and old, and maybe even borrowed pieces. Of course, it depends on the size of your property, but it can be done on a budget.

A survey by Terry’s Fabrics showed that owners of three-bedroom homes spend an average of £15,215 on their furnishings. The research spoke to 3,186 three-bedroom homeowners, aged 18 or over, so the cost will naturally vary depending on the size of your home.

Take your time

While this number may sound like a lot, remember that you don’t have to furnish your whole home from top to bottom straightaway. The costs of buying a new home can seem fairly daunting, so work out what it is you need first, rather than what you want. Furnishing a home doesn’t need to be rushed, you can take your time making it exactly how you want it. Focus on one room at a time, and that should help you not only spend your money wisely, but also get your home just right.

Before you begin, work out exactly what your budget is, and work out what the essentials are. If you’re moving into a home that was occupied – why?! Here at WhatHouse? we’re always telling you the benefits of new build and list thousands of new homes currently for sale!

Grab a bargain

But in all seriousness, if you’ve bought a re-sale home, find out if the previous owners are planning to leave any of their furniture or white goods. They may not be the ones you ultimately want in your home, but if they work for the time being then it may be an idea to keep them and prioritise other furnishings first. If you’re happy with using pre-owned white goods and furniture, it’s definitely worth looking on websites such as Freecycle where people list household items for free. Just keep in mind you’ll probably have to go and pick up the items. Find out if any of your friends and family have any pieces put away in a loft or garage that they don’t want any more, there’s no harm in asking if you can have it, or buy it off them - moving home is a great time to start being thrifty!

Gumtree and eBay can also be great for finding furniture at a fraction of the cost, although similarly to Freecycle, chances are you’ll have to collect the items, but you can filter by your location to minimise travel and costs. Car boot sales could also hold some gems if you’ve got the time to have a bit of a hunt around, and charity shops can also turn up some great finds, the British Heart Foundation for example, has shops dedicated entirely to furniture.

The research from Terry’s Fabrics showed that, on average, the lounge was the most expensive room in the house, with homeowners spending around £5,830 on the room, and 26% of people saying the sofa was the most expensive item they bought, followed by 21% saying the television took the most out of their budget. While the lounge is obviously a very important room in the home, it doesn’t need to be the most expensive. If your lounge doesn’t have carpet, you might consider buying a nice rug rather than carpeting the whole room straight away, and places like IKEA have a great range of rugs that won’t break your budget – unlike the most expensive rug ever sold at auction, which was the Clark Sickle-leaf carpet, and sold for £26.3m in 2013!

Retailers such as Furniture Village have outlet stores, where they sell off old stock at discounted prices, or homeware stores such as IKEA are ideal for getting new furniture and home accessories without the premium price tag (as long as you don’t mind the fun of self assembly!) and you can get a two-seater sofa from around £200. Other high street stores such as Argos often have cheaper furniture options, as well as a range of televisions to suit different budgets.

The kitchen was, according the Terry’s Fabrics research, the second most expensive room in the house to furnish. While the kitchen has many items that are essential to the home, you may find you don’t need to buy everything all at once. For example, while a fridge/freezer will be needed almost as soon as you move in, a dishwasher could be something you invest in at a later date.

Some of the more upmarket retailers, such as John Lewis will still have a range of options for different budgets. Keep an eye out for sales, or price matching – it doesn’t hurt to shop around before investing, and John Lewis, and other stores will usually match competitors’ prices. Electronic stores such as Currys often have sales, particularly around special occasions such as Easter or Christmas, so if you have your eye on a particular model of television, it could be worth waiting to see if it is reduced in a sale.

Bigger budget?

A lot of stores also offer finance schemes for furniture, which could be an option if you have your heart set on a particular, more expensive piece. Most stores also offer warranties or guarantees, so if you do opt for something more high-end, at least you know you will be getting your money’s worth.

For the bigger, more expensive items you are purchasing, it’s worth thinking more long-term when it comes to choosing. While that bright orange fridge/freezer might seem like the best thing ever right now, will you still want it in five years’ time? Choosing a more classic or timeless design may mean you’re less likely to want to replace it before it needs replacing.

Furnishing a house from scratch can be a huge and expensive project, but if you break it down and tackle each room at a time rather than trying to do it all at once, and focus on the essentials first, then it will seem much easier, and much less expensive. 

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