Over the past year and a half, I’ve been renovating my home on a tiny-weeny budget. Once the building works were paid for, I’ve had no spare cash for basics like furniture or accessories. My solution? I furnished my entire home for free with goodies found on streets of Brighton. Here’s my favourite bits that cost NOTHING – plus my tips on how you too fill your home for free too.
The Industrial Shelving Unit
Where did I find it? By the large black bins, Queens Park Road. Brighton
My thinking? I spotted this metal shelving unit on my way into town. I hid it in some bushes and on the way back, scooped it up – dragging it nearly a mile home. This shelving unit has housed my paperwork in my dining room and it’s add a metallic edge to my space, slotting neatly into my small alcove.
What’s it worth? I think it is Ikea. £10.
My advice? Always grab things as you see them.
The Anthropologie Style Armchair
Where did I find it? Lewes Road, Brighton
My thinking? When I found this cane chair by a large bin, I could see it’s potential. I squeezed it into the back of my car and drove it home. Once it had been sanded, then painted and I put a lush fur throw on it – it looked great. In fact it exactly the same as one I’d seen in London’s boho interiors shop, Anthropolie.
What’s it worth? Anthropolie ones are £400!
My advice? Think about different uses for thrown away items. Officially this is conservatory furniture. But painted, and with comfy cushions on it – this armchair looks the part in my living room (and the dog agrees).
The ‘Banksy’ art
Where did I find it? In the road, Seven Dials.
My thinking? It was on the pavement and I walked past it, stopped in my tracks, went back and popped it in my pocket. Brighton is filled with graffiti and I think this might have fallen off or been hacked off a bigger piece. The black and white colouring goes with my whole living room style. I can’t work out which way round it should be. I can see a face in it, can you?
What’s it worth? Millions. Or nothing. Depending on how much you love it.
My advice? Don’t try to pull off street art from the walls – you will only damage it. Take a photo of it with your smart phone and then have it put on canvas. Or track down the artist and ask for a copy.
The Designer Tables
Where did I find it? Outside a shop, Portslade.
My thinking? I drove past this nest of tables in my car and had to emergency stop to grab them before they were binned. I knew they were G-Plan – as I recognised the shape from hours looking at them on eBay. Yes, they are a bit marked on the top but I’m going to vamp them up with black paint in the style of Jay Blades from Street Dreams who up-cycles furniture in his on-line store.
What’s it worth? On eBay these for for £45. Jay’s sells for waaaay more.
The Limited-Edition Print
Where did I find it? Coalition Night Club, Brighton
My thinking? As part of the Great Escape festival, the made one-off posters that they give away to mark the event. I loved this design by a local artist. It’s of Brighton Pier, it’s got the date on it and it is special as I went to about 3 of the gigs list on the front. Oh, and did I mention it cost me NADA.
What’s it worth? It’s irreplaceable.
My advice? Frame up your free posters for gallery art status.
The Architectural Detail
Where did I find it? In a skip, Peckham
My thinking? I dug this ceiling rose out of a skip when I was 25 years old and I have taken it from home-to-home for the best part of 10 years. Finally this year, I had it plastered into my bedroom ceiling – complete with chicken pendant shade to set it off.
What’s it worth? It’s very old and made from solid plaster. To replace would be about £275.
My advice? Never pass a skip without looking in. Always try to find out who owns the skip and ask their permission for the goodies inside. Most people won’t mind but I think legally the stuff inside still belongs to them. Always best to double check.
The Storage Solution
Where did I find it? My mum, Southwick.
My thinking? I wanted a storage in my bathroom so I ‘borrowed’ this pine shelving unit that I found in my mum’s garage. A lick of paint later – and I had a new home for all my bathroom clutter.
What’s it worth? About £120 I would think. Maybe more.
My advice? If you need to furniture your home on the cheap, always ask family and friends what they might be chucking out. And a can of paint can transform anything ugly into a smart new piece.
The Garden Lounger
Where did I find it? Freecycle, Worthing.
My thinking? I’m going to do up my garden (again) next year so I wanted some furniture that would be perfect in the short term. I found these which were on free-cycle website. I got a pair of garden sofas and matching coffee table – for free.
What’s it worth? About £200 – it’s a decent set.
Do you feel confident now to fill your home for free?
Let’s do the maths = by my estimates I have bagged myself between £600-700 worth of free stuff. And this is stuff I would have actually gone out and bought so that has saved me money. All this furniture was destined for the tip and instead, it has a brand new home. It’s an eco-friendly, affordable and fun way to decorate your home.
I’m not the only one either – in the Summer, I worked on a Channel 4 TV show in the summer called Goks’ Fill Your Home For Free so you can see whole house makeovers done for nothing (that where I met Jade Blades).
Have you found things in the street like me – I’d love to know your best found treasure.
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