Experiment – how to fill an empty house on the cheap

So my niece is just about to complete on a house and she has a plate, towel and a few other bits and bobs….not enough to fill our spare room!

She’s rented for the last 10 years so money is going to be mega tight at the beginning. I asked her to put together a list of everything she needs, and we are going to see if you guys can give us tips on how to get the bargain household items for the best price.

Some considerations

She doesn’t have a budget in mind and will be living on rice and lentils for the first few months. She isn’t keen on second hand stuff and likes quality……..(not too demanding then). She’s in Birmingham and wants space saving items as the house is very small.


Before she starts to buy anything, I have told her to:

1. Sign up to TopCashback or Quidco

2. Look for a cash back credit card…we use Utility Warehouse

3. Check out the price match policy at John Lewis (remember she likes quality)

4. Sign up for Groupon

5. Check where you can collect Nectar card points

6. Throw a house warming party and accept gifts gratefully

Is there anything else she should do?


Bargain shops to consider

Betel or Restored in the UK – overstocks and returns on high street furniture at really good prices

Boundary Mill – discounted designer household ware

As she buys things, I will update where she got them from:


Room by room

So room by room, this is what she needs. All good advice on how to get the lowest price item or ideas for discounts/bargains will be shared in the comments or on the actual post.


Whole house

Paint – light colour – initially, B&Q came to the rescue, but not until after she painted an expensive paint onto the dark walls without putting an undercoat on first!  She ended up with a multibuy on Dulux Matt Emulsion, so she paid £25 for every two x 2.5 litre pots, rather than one pot for £18.50. Once she realised she needed more paint, she’s also gone for MaxwellsDIY for 10 litres of Crown or Dulux paint £19.99 magnolia and £4.99 guaranteed next day delivery.

A few rolls of fancy wall paper, maybe for hall and lounge

Paint roller and brushes kit – she bought this equipment from Wilko. For example a good quality five piece brush set for £8.95. And for her mates to paint, she bought Harris Professional paint brushes from eBay for £4.59 and free delivery.

White Spirit


Bedroom 1

Double bed with under bed storage and headboard double

Duvet (up to 15 tog) or a combined summer winter duvet


Chest of drawers


Bed side table x 2

Bed side table lamps x 2

Double mattress – Groupon is coming up trumps here and has a good deal on pocket sprung mattresses.


Mirror (could be standalone or wall hung or on wardrobe doors) – HomeSense is a winner here. Some impressive mirrors with a real wow factor.


Bedroom 2

Double bed and headboard

Double mattress – she bought this from Matressman.

Curtains – she used Fabric Warehouse and Dunhelm Mill for curtains.


Bedroom 3




Table lamp

Curtains – Argos as they have good quality ready made.



Shower curtain

Toilet seat

Bathroom cabinet – wall mounted with mirrored front

Rack for toiletries

Small pedal bin

Laundry basket

Bathroom paint






Front door

Doormat outside – given by a neighbour

Door chain

Motion sensor light



Lawn mower

Garden shears

Outdoor broom



Washing machine




Crockery – dinner plates, side plates, bowls

Large frying pan

Cooking pan

Dish drainer

Square bowl for sink

Vacuum cleaner – small cylinder

Dustpan and brush

Indoor broom

Kitchen bin


Utensils – grater, sieve etc

Kitchen knives

Serving spoons

Bakeware – roasting tray, baking tray, muffin tray – Vitreous Enamel bakeware from Wilko.com or Wilkinsons looks hard waring, easy to clean and the price is competitive.

Cast iron pan for cooking on hob and oven

Jars – various sizes

Small food processor

Table mats

Salt and pepper set – received from work colleague who had got a new set and didn’t need hers any longer.


Wooden spoons






Coffee table/ottoman

TV stand

TV – not immediately as she didn’t know you have to pay a license fee!

Floor lamp


Carpet – this is coming from a Neighbour who fits carpets. He has the room size and is on the lookout for a piece that would fit that size and is spare. Sometimes, life really is about who you know!


I really hope you guys can share some great advice on where to go and what tips you’d offer to get her the best deals.




6 Comments on this post

  • Savvy Annie

    November 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm
    What an exciting time for her! She should definitely get on Freecycle to see what people are giving away fro FREE. You can pick up anything on here from TV's to Beds to Sofas. She should also check out charity shops which sell furniture as you can pick up some amazing bargains. Good luck!
  • skintdad

    November 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm
    When we moved in our first home we also had nothing. Well a sofa with holes and a microwave that made a sound like a cat?! Anyway to my point. We didn't have much money so we had to be inventive. We checked eBay, local boot fairs etc. and you know what. There was much to found anywhere for a good price. This got me thinking. Now I used to know someone that did rubbish and house clearances so I though I would give him a call to see if he had any ideas. Low and behold he told me that every week they clear houses and throw pretty much all the contents down the dump!!! The next day I went to see my friend at his work, had a word with his boss and ended up getting a load of stuff for very little money! Now I don't know if this is still the case but I did a quick search for house clearances in Birmingham and come across this company - http://www.pjhouseclearances.co.uk/clearance-removals - which also run a second hand shop. I would give them a call straight away and see what they have in. Hope this helps? Skint Dad
    • Mrs Bargain Hunter

      November 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm
      That is a fantastic idea, will tell her to get on the phone.
  • Mrs Bargain Hunter

    November 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm
    Freecycle sounds great. She has a tiny car, so I reckon she may need to find a man with a van number too in case there's some good stuff to be had!
  • skintdad

    November 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    Another tip: When it comes to a house warming party, suggest to your niece to have a painting party instead. Tell her to invite all her family and friends around and to bring a paintbrush. They can all help decorate the house whilst having a bit of a catch up at the same time. Also whilst they are there one of them might remember a spare piece of furniture they have in the garage or somewhere that your niece could have. It doesn't hurt to ask :D Skint Dad
  • Mrs Bargain Hunter

    November 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm
    I too have mentioned house warming party, which is painting based....free beer and pizza provided.

Leave a Reply