Furnishing your new home is one of the easiest ways to make your mark and stamp your personality on a property. And the state of the home before you move in — whether you’re starting from scratch or moving into somewhere that’s already furnished — will give you a clear jumping-off point for picking your sofas, shelves, and seating. And, of course, the main choice when it comes to picking furniture is whether to buy new or go second hand.
Either way, you’re likely to be on the hunt for a bargain, especially if you’ve put most of your money into the deposit for the home itself. But just because you want your furniture to be affordable, doesn’t mean it has to look like what you paid for it. Sadly, though, that doesn’t stop people from being too easily swayed by the price of furniture, without first inspecting what state it’s in. Read on for our guide to making your furniture look less cheap.
One of the big changes people tend to associate with growing up and moving into a more grown-up place to live is graduating from blu-tacking posters to hanging them up in frames. But this doesn’t guarantee that any frame you pick will look as good as you think it does. Most notably, thanks to their affordability, many people plump for clip frames, a simple approach to hanging artwork at home. All you need to do is pop off the back, slip your poster in, and clip the backboard back on before hanging it up.
Unfortunately, despite the convenience, clip frames are going out of fashion, with the Guardian pointing out the current vogue for “gallery walls”. These involve mixing and matching different types of more professional-looking mounted frames, which have already seen an over 160% rise in sales from the likes of John Lewis.
Some framing companies have become keenly aware of the increased demand for bespoke frames. Soho Frames, for example, have expanded their service to include same-day framing and next-day service across its products. Expert framers like these are also able to provide free advice on types of frames that work best with the items you want to frame, ensuring you pick the best materials to showcase your artwork and make it a focal point of a room.
Your sofa is the centrepiece of your living room but it can be tough to keep it looking neat, considering how much use it gets on a daily basis. There are two ways to spot a cheap-looking sofa — either the fabric is covered in tears and stretch marks, with sagging cushions, or the cosmetic damage has been conveniently hidden by a throw. While they can sometimes themselves look fancy, and occasionally add a touch of class, buying a decent throw shouldn’t be a substitute for picking up a good quality couch.
Unless you can bag a bargain on Gumtree, this may well mean having to set aside at least £500, so you want to make sure you pick a good sofa from the get-go. This is generally just a matter of shopping around in person, which is the best way to get an idea of how the furniture will look in your home. We recommend taking a tape measure so you can get accurate measurements, while also taking your time to test the frame and cushions, ensuring that they are sturdy, comfortable, and something you want in your home for years to come.
As another centrepiece of your living room, a quality coffee table can make or break your decor, so be sure to choose one that suits the way you use the room. If it’s a family room, pick a coffee table that’s going to be less sharp-edged and more resistant to being clambered over by your little ones. If you’re going for a more chic, minimalist look, try a glass-topped table for a formal, elegant style.
That said, sometimes you don’t need to splash out for a proper table. You can easily take a creative approach and upcycle a second-hand table with a fresh lick of paint if this fits your personal style. Just be sure to invest in good-quality paintbrushes and DIY tools, as they’ll last longer and give a more professional finish. Going DIY with some unusual objects, such as crates, bits of wood, and even upturned rubbish bins can provide a your living room with a real statement piece, unique to you, that transcends its origins to look like a million bucks.