This Second Hand September, we’ve teamed up with Haule, an online marketplace for vintage and second hand homeware, to talk about furnishing your first home. Second Hand September was created by Oxfam in 2019 and has inspired thousands of people to shop in a way that is kinder to people and the planet.
We invited Haule to give some advice on furnishing your first home using vintage and second hand items. Read on to find out what they have to say.
A blog by Haule
Furnishing your first home
Furnishing your first home can be a daunting process, and building up that confidence can take thoughtfulness and planning to get the desired look. We will talk about where to invest, how to get started when finding your interiors style and why it’s now more important to shop second hand.
Where to invest
We strongly believe that spending on key pieces of furniture is a good long-term investment. You are more likely to move them with you to future homes, so choosing good quality pieces in timeless designs is a good place to start. Selecting pieces you love and with the future in mind helps with building your style and prevents getting stuck with pieces you want to get rid of when you move on, which ultimately contributes to waste.
You will often find vintage furniture is made from better quality and sturdier materials and is less likely to be ‘trend led’. Most furniture that ends up in landfill has been manufactured in the past 20 years, as pieces are now designed for fast-moving consumption. This creates lower quality, cheap and impersonal items not made to last.
By investing in classic pieces, you’re then able to have some fun with accessories – these have a lower financial burden and are easier to sell or re-use as your style and space changes.
How to get started
We appreciate that figuring out your personal style can be tough, but there are many ways to get inspiration when faced with blank spaces.
Firstly, it’s always good to establish your budget. When you’ve just bought your first home, the unseen cost of furnishing it can come as a shock (and no one wants that)! Often, it can feel intimidating being faced with an empty space, so it could be good to start with a checklist of things you can do to mitigate that stress.
Next, think about the function of each space – what key items will make the space work for your personal needs. Here it can be useful to see what spare pieces of furniture family and friends have. Sometimes it’s better to have a few existing items as a starting point.
Once you have established the practical needs of the space, you can start thinking about style. Some people have a very clear idea of what their personal style is, but if you don’t, then our interiors style quiz is a good starting point. You can also look to other areas of your life such as your wardrobe for colour and pattern inspiration.
We also love using mood boards to bring together various ideas and influences into a coherent theme for each room. It is one of the most effective ways to visualise what you want and makes the process fun. It is up to you whether you use boards on Pinterest, save content from Instagram or TikTok or simply hunker down one afternoon with a pile of magazines.
Here, you’ll be able to establish what colour palette works for you and the space, interiors styles and themes, how to incorporate your modern conveniences and what are absolute musts that make it personal to you.
If it’s your style, we suggest adding a few colourful key items to the space that showcase your personality. From cushions on a sofa to a vase or glassware, vintage accessories are a great choice for something unique you won’t see elsewhere. Head over to Haule for a huge selection of accessories and decorations or simply have a browse. We’ve also got lots of tips and ideas on our blog.
If you want to get offline
Whilst online shopping has become fantastic for vintage and second hand buys, if you want to find things offline, your local charity shops are a great resource too! You can pick up affordable pieces of small furniture that can be very expensive brand new. We’re talking small tables for living rooms or bedside tables, small shelving units or coffee tables. You’ll be surprised what you can find.
Now that you have some tips to begin, get going on building that decorating to do list to help structure this exciting new project!
Why shop second hand?
Lastly, in the spirit of Second Hand September, we wanted to also mention why it’s so important to shop second hand and the positives are of vintage homeware.
It reduces waste
This is the most pressing reason for shopping second hand. With alarming headlines on climate change arising every day, it is the most important shift of our time. In the UK each year, over 22 million pieces of furniture are thrown away. Furniture is currently one of the least recycled products globally, so most of this waste goes straight to landfill.
It supports local communities and economies
Not only are you helping the planet, you’re also supporting small local businesses who are experts in their trade and put time and care into what they source. When we pay for items that we purchase from our community, we support the financial wellbeing of those around us, thus building and strengthening a circular, small business economy.
It reduces carbon emissions
Second hand products limit carbon emissions that would otherwise have been produced from manufacturing new items. They also decrease carbon emissions from landfills where greenhouse gases would be released during decomposition. To put the impact of one piece of furniture into perspective: buying a second hand chest of drawers saves around 320kg of carbon; this is the same as driving 800 miles in a car.
It helps prevent exploitation
Many parts of our consumption systems use labour from marginalised communities who are paid low wages and are forced to work in terrible conditions. When we choose to buy goods that are quick and cheap, it is at the expense of those labourers. Second hand shopping is an opportunity to opt-out of that system by choosing not to buy the new products that keep it going.
It is one of a kind
There’s no chance that someone else has the same thing! Aside from this, you’re buying something that is truly special and unique and often comes with a story that no new item would have.
Stay tuned for more content from us with Haule throughout Second Hand September, and keep an eye out on their website and Instagram for exclusive collections, tips and important information about the impact of fast furniture and building a slow home movement.
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