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Friday 15th November 2019

Charity begins at home: how to decorate on a budget

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From a house to a home - it's the things inside that make it perfect.

Starting out is an emotional rollercoaster of highs, lows, and intense worries. The highs can be euphoric; you’re finally going to get a place you can call ‘home’, you’ve reached that age where you need to invest in what the golden oldies refer to as ‘life necessities’. There is something about buying your first washing machine and fridge freezer, which holds its own excitement – they’re yours and no one can take that away from you. But the lows can be teeth shattering, heart wrenching, and generally very bad for your bank balance (like the extortionate agency fees people get away with charging!).

But, how do you go about buying these ‘life necessities’ when you’re a new graduate waiting to start work, and with no savings?

Did you know how much they charge for a brand new washing machine? Neither did we until we started looking!

You can wait… you can wait until you’re financially stable, with a good haul of savings behind you to help you out. But where is the fun in that?

Fridge freezers, toasters, kettles, washing machines and the like are all things we most definitely take for granted. We just expect them to be in the house. Because what’s a home without a tea making device? Certainly, no home I have ever been invited into, that’s for sure!

With the new trend of ‘upcycling’ (revamping discarded objects or materials in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original) preloved furniture, my favourite past time of charity shop rummaging, and the ever reliable internet sensation that is eBay, we have managed to get to our ‘life necessitates’ at a fraction of what the retailers are selling them for.

You don’t need top of the range, brand spanking new items to make a house your home.

Did you know how much they charge for a brand new washing machine? Neither did we until we started looking!

With our trusty sidekick (eBay), several hours of browsing, and copious amounts of tea, we found one. It was that ‘hallelujah’ moment. It was as if it was glowing on the screen, initiating the “pick me, pick me” scenario. And so, for £60 (with delivery), we managed to buy a 4-month-old washing machine which had just been sitting in someone’s garage following a kitchen refurb.

Admittedly, some people are just out to get rid of their unwanted items and make a quick buck. But sometimes we have to put that faith back into humanity to get from A to B, and that is exactly what we did.

Where can you get items which scream character and have a good story behind them for that price? Certainly not in IKEA!

Feeling giddy after having just spent a small fortune on application fees for our new home, we saw a Headway Charity Store. Curiosity drove us in and voilà, we found a new bathroom shelving unit (which will look gorgeous in our new bathroom, once it’s had a lick of paint and a good dust!). Albeit it was a little pricey at £20, but where can you get items which scream character and have a good story behind them for that price? Certainly not in IKEA!

The moral of the story is, you don’t need top of the range, brand spanking new items to make a house your home when you’re starting out. Swallow your pride, get in those charity shops (check out your high street, where there are bound to be treasure troves just waiting to be explored), find some inspiration (check out Pinterest for some great ideas), and with a little bit of cash to play around with, you can make any house your home.

A great place to check out for cheap(ish) furniture that you can ‘upcycle’ is the British Heart Foundation Furniture Shop. They have numerous stores up and down the country. Also, it’s worth having a good look through Gumtree and Freecycle, you never know what you might find!

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Cait Armstrong

Cait Armstrong

Mouthy blogger

Recent Cardiff grad, undeniable tea lover, avid daydreamer and aspiring lawyer.

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