How to avoid buying new furniture

Ned Browne 30 April 2022

Do you really need that sofa? Here's how to cut back on excessive furniture purchases

Most economists believe inflation is here to stay for some time to come. Across the pond, our American cousins are seeing the highest price rises in more than 40 years. Households across the world will feel the pinch, but not all households are the same. Every one of us has our own personal level of inflation.

Earlier this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) stated that one of the biggest contributors to inflation was from furniture retailers and household goods stores. So, do you really need that new sofa?

The buy nothing movement

One way to minimise the impact of rising prices is to buy nothing. Across the world, people are waking up to the realisation that consumerism is destroying the planet and, indeed, bank balances.

The Buy Nothing Project, founded in 2013, is a global network of community-based groups that encourages giving and donating goods. They also have the aim of building communities by connecting people through “hyperlocal” gifting. And this makes sense. Most people have things they don’t need or no longer use—by reallocating these items everyone wins. There are over 80 Buy Nothing Project Facebook groups in the United Kingdom alone.

Upcycling

Breathing new life into tired looking wooden furniture is one of the most satisfying jobs you’ll ever do. If it’s been painted already, it’s easy to sand it down and repaint it. Or, if you’re feeling more ambitious, strip off the paint, sand it down and then use beeswax to bring out that natural wood grain.

Another great thing about wooden furniture is that it should last a lifetime. So, don’t throw out your old bed frame if it squeaks. Instead, reinforce it with some additional timbers. In fact, you might even find a little WD40 does the trick.

"Another great thing about wooden furniture is that it should last a lifetime"

Reupholstering is another way to extend the life of your furniture. If it’s just a seat cover, that’s a pretty straightforward task, especially if you own a staple gun. Sofas, on the other hand, should be left to the professionals. Nonetheless, it should be a more cost-effective option than buying a new sofa. Plus, you have the added bonus of having a far greater range of materials to choose from.

Dying shabby looking duvet covers or pillow cases will leave them looking shiny and new. Save even more money by making sure you dye the maximum amount of material recommended on the box—or, perhaps, a little more.

Deep clean

Before you rush out to buy new duvets or pillows, consider cleaning them. Most dry cleaners will charge very reasonable rates—it will be far less expensive than buying new ones. On a greater scale, the same can be said for carpets. There are relatively inexpensive carpet cleaning devices on the market and even paying for them to be professionally cleaned will cost a fraction of the cost of new carpets.

Think before you buy

Martin Lewis, of moneysavingexpert fame, encourages people to think before they buy: Do you need it? Can you afford it? Will you use it? Is it worth it?

Now is the time to adopt these mantras. This doesn’t mean living a lesser life. In fact, it may mean the opposite—mending and making do is rewarding in so many ways.

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