Finding ways to furnish your first home for free makes a big difference when you're on a limited budget. Whether you've bought a home, or moved into your first rental, there often isn't much cash left over for buying furniture. So what do you do if your new home doesn't have so much as a chair to sit on? Fortunately there are some great ways to furnish your first home for free …
1. Street Smart
This is one of my favourite ways to furnish your first home for free. People often put out pieces of unwanted furniture for passers-by to pick up. This practice is even official in some towns and cities, so find out if your locality does this and on which day of the week. I've found some really great pieces this way, including a sofa and a lovely sturdy bookcase.
Freecycle and other similar websites are a great resource for finding free furniture. There are some points of etiquette to remember though. Always send a polite request to the donor expressing your interest. Don't ask them to deliver the item or call you, or they'll most likely delete your message. It's also frowned upon to post a 'shopping list' asking for everything to furnish a house - this isn't a store, and nobody owes you anything.
3. Beg & Borrow
Ask around, and you may find that friends and family have furniture that you could use for a while. People often have furniture in store because they have no space in their current home, but don't want to get rid of it. Borrowing furniture, even if it's only for a while, could give you the time you need to save up to buy your own.
4. Build Furniture
If you have practical skills, or know someone who does, building your own furniture is an option. Creative people have turned all sorts of unwanted trash into cupboards, tables and even beds. Keep an eye out for anything you can use and convert. An old carved wooden door could make a lovely table, for example.
Local websites often have sections where people give away furniture that they no longer want. As with Freecycle, you'll need to check these sites frequently so that you can act quickly. It helps if you have access to a vehicle and can pick up the furniture quickly, as the giver may want to get rid of it within a very short time - perhaps even the same day
6. House Refurbishment
Keep an eye out for any signs of a house being cleared or refurbished. The owners may be discarding all kinds of usable furniture that could be given a new life in your home. Ask if they are happy for you to take anything away. They could be only too happy for you to take it off their hands, as it will save them the bother of disposing of it.
If your first home is also your first matrimonial home, there's a great way to furnish some of it without cost. Ask people who want to buy you a wedding gift if they would buy you vouchers (or give you cash) towards furniture. Some people think that you shouldn't ask for money, but you may find that people are only too pleased to give you something practical.
Many of these ways to find free furniture are also great news for the environment. Second-hand furniture doesn't have to mean shabby; you can repaint it or make new covers. Your home may not be the smartest, but it's infinitely better than getting into debt. And you can buy better when you can afford it. Some people even furnish their entire house for free and love how much they've saved on creating an individual home. What is your favourite freebie that you've acquired for your house?