Where to go for furniture/home stuff apart from Ikea!?

Posted 18th Nov 2012
Hi All - hoping you can give some advice on this one! It's looking like I'm shortly going to be moving into a place that I'm going to have to furnish. Only a small flat you understand, but still, the first place that I'm going to have to buy everything for. It's looking like I'll be here at least 2yrs so I'm not going to opt to go bargain basement throughout.

I've priced things up at Ikea (The obvious choice eh) but the one thing that strikes me is the huge price gulf between their value stuff and basically any other stuff they do. I don't mind this for the most part but I'm wondering what other shops other than Ikea I should actually be researching? Is MFI still around? Is it decent value? Where else should I be looking if I want to buy everything from a bed to a wardrobe but I want to make a decent saving or at least get a good deal on decent quality furniture?

My budget won't stretch too far - so for example I'll be looking at nearer £400 for sofas instead of £2000 for example. I know to a degree you get what you pay for, but can you offer me any good advice? Is there something in particular I can scrimp on? Something I shouldn't? Some great websites I should be bookmarking?
Community Updates


Small budget:

Look on ebay for you sofa. I copped a corking leather one a few weeks ago.
Go check out you local auction house, (ok, not for a mattress) You'll be able to find good quality furniture at a fraction of the price you'd pay for mdf build yourself stuff, and it will last a lot longer. Now is your chance to get an individual style and not follow the crowd. Have fun
I see you're in Manchester? I know a decent auction house in Miles Platting. They have an auction every few weeks but you can go any time and he'll give you a price if you see anything. I got a cracking Silentnight pocket sprung mattress and drawer base for £150. The cheapest I could find the mattress alone was £160.

have a few bits from here, quality is awsome!
Heart foundation could get a sofa and stuff out of there .

The only thing I would not buy 2nd hand is a bed, but thats just me

Small budget:Argos.


Noone should ever.. EVER buy furniture from Argos.
I wouldn't wish Argos furniture on my worst enemies.
I got my sofa from the YMCA charity shop, £70 for a leather sofa and chair. Couple of throws on it, and it's great.

Most of my furniture is from Ikea, got some other more expensive furniture ( that we got given) and it's not looking as good as the ikea stuff now.

The 2 sets of chest of drawers I have from ikea I have had 10+ years now, and they are going great.
If you like the quality of Ikea, and fairly local keep checking the sales and bargain corner, they reduce heavily and you can get some cheaper bits to build.

Build to Price ratio, I struggle to beat Ikea, I like the quality so tend to mix and match John Lewis (sales) and Ikea (standard prices mostly).
Argos is really rubbish quality...maybe worth trying 2nd hand collection items on ebay/facebook etc?
When we first moved in we spent £500 on a bed and mattress, then budget everything else (argos etc.). We didn't have that much stuff. Futon as a sofa, wicker hand me downs for armchairs etc.

Since then we've gradually started replacing stuff for good stuff. Our bed was still brilliant up until last year (8 years later) and I bought a super king size one as I'm pretty tall.

My advice is buy the bare essentials cheap then replace as you go. Don't buy cheap pans, don't buy a cheap mattress.

Freecycle, friends, family, ebay, argos, poundstretcher etc
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Exactly what I was looking for.

Heart Foundation - good shout!

Argos - I've had a couple of bits from here before and I found the quality worse than Ikea. Happy to change my mind if things have improved though!

@deek72 - Can you remember the name of that auction house? Google gives me Cohens Furniture Auctions Ltd & Ian Michael Auctioneers

@philmitchell - Yeah, I had friends who bought from there. Looks superb, but it's just beyond my budget I fear. I know you get what you pay for but I just can't drop £300 on a nice bookcase :-(
Beds don't look too expensive though.

Any more experience of Ikea stuff would be handy. I know a lot of it's v light, but is it hardwearing? Or does the quality just vary greatly.

My advice is buy the bare essentials cheap then replace as you go. Don't … My advice is buy the bare essentials cheap then replace as you go. Don't buy cheap pans, don't buy a cheap mattress.

Yep - pans are something I would agree with you on. Never thought I'd hear myself saying that..

Mattresses - Should I be buying one online? I am keen to get a decent one as the one I have at the moment is a right shocker. Again something I didn't think I'd ever be discussing in earnest!
On the ikea front, I have been given a sideboard, tv unit and dvd shelf by my parents, all of which they had for around 10 years before I got given it, when they moved house about 2 years ago. And it's all doing well. It's survived 2 moves, and the chest of drawers I have, one has survived 4 moves, again with no issues. (I had to rebuild the 4 moves one though, as my idiot ex couldn't follow simple instructions, but that was before I moved it again)

It may also be worth checking out house clearance places, and places like St Vincent D'Paul.
Ian Michael Auctioneers

It's near to Oldham Rd/Hulme Hall Lane.
See if you have any furniture outlet stores locally
@deek - Thanks, will have a look.
Dwell it's a bit expensive, but you can get a few bargains in the sale. I wouldn't touch Argos with a bargepole
We bought our first sofa from Ikea, that was about 5 years ago and it is still going strong and looking good, the quality v price factor in Ikea is very good.

Keep away from Argos, and Homebase (for those that don't know they are the same)

Look at DFS who always have sales (no **** sherlock) - Harveys, Next, M&S, TJ Hughes and eBay, if you don't mind second hand.
I agree with the other comments that ikea is pretty decent value overall, most of my furniture is from there. Tried other places but always go back to ikea
Edited by: "deleted87803" 18th Nov 2012
The Malm bedroom furniture is actually pretty good, some of the cheaper stuff I found falls apart as soon as you use it, also coffee table get the Lack stuff, has lasted a few years so far and got that cheap, still got plenty of life in it. Your pots and pans are great from there and we are still using some of the cheap cheap plates from ikea as our spare/overflow when extra family turn up.

We also buy a lot of the ivar shelving, you buy it in bits and join it together so can extend it and grow it, again not to expensive has lasted us quite a while we have loads around out house, looks plain to begin with but you can stain it and colour and the bonus is you can go back and get a single shelf or an extra cupboard if you need/want one.
Cheers for the Ikea comments. Guess I'll just have to compare some of the ranges instore and work out what seems fragile!

Also if anyone else has recommendations RE a sofa in particular that would be great. The other half wants a sofa bed which is fair enough because the place isn't exactly huge.
Edited by: "stanglish" 21st Nov 2012
Id recommend going on 'Gumtree' its a listing site, very well organised just type in the area you live in and what your looking for ^^ then the rest is easy. Got some great bits of furniture of there for my flat- as long as you don't mind its second hand, easy living ^^
Thanks xxWonder & intenso.

I'm mainly struggling for where to find a sofa from. When we need it we'll need it pretty quickly so there might not be anything on Gumtree at the time. Especially so because we want to try and find a decent Sofabed.

Also, I had trouble finding the sofa, but I found the website http//ww…uk/. I was able to buy it pretty cheap
Join your local Facebook buying and selling pages. I see some pretty decent stuff on our local one and have used it myself to literally give half-decent furniture away.

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