Decorating your HMO: Know when to spend money on new items and where to save on second-hand items

Some easy pieces that you can start with would be something like bedside tables, coffee table, perhaps a tv unit or some bar stools. It’s hard to find a lot of these second-hand pieces in large quantities so for items such as beds and wardrobes it will be quite difficult to find 6 items each. However, don’t let this put you off. Not every single room in your HMO has to “match”. As long as you are sticking to your theme, you can find 6 different wardrobes and it can still look cohesive as an overall look.

FLOORING – this is worth investing in, especially in an HMO. You want something hard-wearing and durable so I would recommend Polyflor Camaro Wood, or you could find Lino flooring but make sure you find a brand that offers very high-quality lino.

KITCHEN/BATHROOM APPLIANCES – as this is a rented accommodation you need to provide PAT testing for all appliance, so it is worth buying new to avoid any accidents with second-hand items.

KITCHEN UNITS – have you thought about saving the current kitchen units and upcycling them by giving them a lick of paint and purchasing some funky door handles to make it feel unique? Or, instead of purchasing a brand new kitchen from Howdens, perhaps look at purchasing a pre-loved kitchen online.

BLINDS/CURTAINS – it’s common to invest in made-to-measure blinds. These will also suffer from wear & tear and effects from the sun, so it is worth buying these new.

Decorating your HMO: Where to shop for reclaimed or second-hand items?

HOME SENSE – this is a great store to find second-hand good quality furniture items and decor pieces. It has everything! The perfect place to find good quality items for a bargain.

LOCAL MARKET/BOOT SALE – This is a great way of finding one-off pieces for a very good price! Make sure to check the item thoroughly before purchasing and if there are drawers check that all of them are working!

CHARITY SHOPS – There are loads of great charity shops across the UK – it’s all about spending the time to search and scour the shops for that one-off bargain! Again, make sure you don’t get blinded by the cheap price tags and buy something you don’t end up using because it doesn’t fit in with your designs or scheme.

PRELOVED.COM – this is a great online tool for searching for second-hand goods. With any online shop, there is a certain level of risk as you can’t see, feel and scale what you are purchasing. Always check your sources and read any previous reviews (and check for their return policies!)

EBAY – Another great online tool to use for finding great second-hand goods. There are loads of steals on there and many have reviews, so it is easy to check the seller’s background and know-how reliable they are.

FACEBOOK MARKET PLACE – This is a great way to not only source second-hand items, but they are also local as well. It’s a great way of finding that one-off piece on your doorstep!

Decorating your HMO: Our top tips to buying Second-hand

  • It’s important to have a clear picture of what you want before entering the realms of charity shops. Make sure to take your mood board for your house with you when shopping and have a clear idea of what exactly items you are looking for. Measure the spaces you want to fill and check the spacial planning. If you want to learn how to make a cohesive mood board.
  • DON’T buy random items purely for the price tag! If it doesn’t fit in the house, you will be left with odd bits and pieces that you will end up taking back to the shops.
  • BE CREATIVE! If you see something you like but you’re not sure about the colour or the finishes – buy it and paint it later. One of our most recent blog posts was how to upcycle IKEA items
  • If you find a piece of furniture that you love but you’re not sure about the colour – why not paint it? You can use Anny Sloan paint for that distressed effect or sand down any wood and paint over the top in a different colour to match your theme better.
  • Not sure about the finishes on that second-hand chest of drawers? Find some different handles (something a bit bold and edgy) and replace the old ones! This will give your piece of furniture a new lease of life and will also make it look more bespoke and one-of-a-kind!