Furnish your House for Free - Broke in London

Furnish your House for Free

Just moved? Get your furniture for free!

By Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellythekiwi)

I have recently moved in to a new flat. Sure, we could move to a fully furnished flat but to make the place seem more like ‘home’ we decided that we would take it unfurnished. We were lucky in that we already had some furniture of our own (the bed and bedroom furniture); and there were some bits that we wanted to buy new (a sofa bed and TV unit) but there were a couple of things, such as a wardrobe, that we just didn’t have the budget for.

#1 Friends and family

If you are lucky enough to have friends and family living nearby ask them if they have any unwanted furniture that they no longer have a use for. We received a blanket box from my boyfriend’s parents; another friend inherited a sofa from a work colleague; and another friend gave a new home to a desk that was unwanted by a girl in her netball team.

Furnish your House for Free

your grandma may have this awesome retro chair you always wanted

#2 Gumtree Freebies

One of the most popular websites for acquiring free furniture is the Freebies section of Gumtree. There are currently over 800 unwanted items available ranging from mattresses to sofas, doors to desks. The bigger items are the most popular – you will just need to arrange the transportation.

Gumtree also run a Swap Shop in which you swap your unwanted items with others. This seems to mostly be used for tickets and technology so I would be a bit careful about swapping but if you have a bookcase that is too big for your new living room, you may be able to trade it for a smaller one.

Gumtree Freebies - Free furniture

Ad on Gumtree

#3 Freecycle

Freecycle is probably the number one site for getting items for free. You register for a group (your local area) and then browse what items are for offer.  I have sometimes found this website to use as it is hard to know which items are ‘TAKEN’ and people have not always been good at replying. On a positive note, registering for your local area makes the website very convenient and there is usually a wide range of items. You can also put online items that you are looking for. You can also check through Facebook to find a Freecycle group for your area.

Furnish your House for Free

Freecycle Logo

#4 SnaffleUp

SnaffleUp works in the same way as Freecycle in that you can either donate items or add items that you are looking for. The site is run on a nationwide scale rather than a local one; enter your postcode for items to be listed according to distance. If you are looking for something in particular you can create an ‘alert’ which will notify when what you are looking for is posted.

SnaffleUp - Furnish your house for free


#5 Local area forums

The East Dulwich Forum was one of the best resources we had when we moved into the area. After scouring the ‘For Sale’ section for a couple of weeks, I was lucky enough to come across a wardrobe that was being given away as long as you could both dismantle it and collect it. One evening at home, a quick lick of paint and the wardrobe fits perfectly in our new bedroom. 

I am not sure which other areas of London have these types of resources. Greenwich does, and so does Ealing but neither of these are run to the same extent (or usefulness) as East Dulwich. It may pay to have a Google of your local area and find out!

Furnishing your new flat or redecorating your current one? This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you can cover transportation costs, you can pick most items up absolutely free. A quick lick of paint, and a little bit of TLC and somebody’s old dressing table will look brand new.

Follow these sites on Twitter:

Gumtree: @Gumtree
Freecycle: @Freecycle
Freegle: @thisisfreegle

If you have a nice Tip to share just drop me a line at kelly@brokeinlondon.com.

Find more Super Tips.

You may also want to check our post about Selling your Old CDs and DVDs online.