How to furnish your flat on a budget: Take a sneak peek at my new Birmingham pad

Birmingham flat living room kitchen

It FINALLY happened. I moved out of my bijou Wimbledon digs, travelled 100 miles up the motorway with the help of the entire Manc Vintage clan and moved into my own place.

I’ve been here a month and only managed to get internet sorted yesterday which is why I’m late posting this.

So let’s take a virtual tour of the place…

It was a little bit intimidating moving into an unfurnished place, but instead of worrying about being able to afford everything I needed I took it as an opportunity to personalise it to my taste.

I knew I didn’t want IKEA furniture, instead I wanted to buy investment pieces without blowing a budget.

Given my love of pre-loved clothing it’s no surprise that I decided to go down that route when it came to furniture buying.

First up is the lounge where I needed a TV table, some sort of storage and a sofa.

I wanted a sofa that would sit nicely in this alcove. I didn’t want leather (too much worry about damaging it), anything too plain (a magnet for dirt) or anything too wacky (not my style).

Birmingham flat lounge sofa charity shop

I kept an eye on a couple from DFS and Tesco but didn’t like the look (or the price) of any of them.

I spotted this new one in a Shelter furniture charity shop in Erdington. Apparently the original owner bought it new, realised it was too big for her place so she donated it straight to the shop.

Birmingham lounge vintage furniture

My dad spotted this sideboard/dresser in the same charity shop plonked next to a table and chairs and a pile of kids’ clothing.

It had a couple of scratches and needed a damn good clean but I fell in love with it, paid the deposit and organised for it to be delivered along with the sofa.

G Plan vintage dresser

It was delivered in two pieces (top separate from the bottom) and it was only then we realised it was a G Plan. Not bad for the £75 I paid for it!

Dad and I cleaned all the woodwork and then treated it using Lord Sheraton Caretaker wood balsam (not on commission, but it was a bargain from Wilkos and really did the trick).

It got rid of the scratches, and just check out the colour and shine on it after!

See that handle on the top left?

Birmingham living room vintage charity shop G Plan

…. it conceals my very own cocktail cabinet! Chin chin.

Birmingham living room vintage charity shop G Plan cocktail cabinet

My dining table and chairs were new but also came from a charity shop.

After a few hours it went from this…

flat pack furniture

to this!

Birmingham living room dining room and chairs charity shop

This dark sideboard is one of the few pieces of furniture (along with my bed) that I didn’t buy from a charity shop.

I spotted it in a furniture store and fell in love with the colour and the look of the grain.

The right-hand side of the sideboard of joy contains my novelty handbag collection. It’s a truly joyous sight to behold!

I topped it off with a giant scarf I picked up in Birmingham market to protect it from scratches.

Birmingham dark wood sideboard

I now have my very own kitchen to potter around in instead of sharing with others so I don’t have to worry about gate-crashing anyone’s dinner or fighting over the hob.

Whatever time of day or night I can get in there and get my Delia Smith on.

Birmingham kitchen

I’ve transformed from someone who survived largely off microwave meals to someone who relishes cooking something different every night of the week.

sparkly green jumper kitchen

Here’s some of the Lean in 15 recipes I’ve rustled up in the last few days…

Lean in 15 recipes

I’ve yet to fully explore what the Birmingham charity shops have to offer in terms of clothing and accessories, but if it’s anything like their furniture offerings then I’m in for a real treat!

My five top tips for furnishing a flat:

  • PLAN: Plan what you need/want and write a list, complete with rough measurements, and keep it with you at all times.
  • BUDGET: Have a budget and stick to it!
  • BE OPEN-MINDED: If you’re after vintage furniture don’t just visit specialist stores (the prices tend to be higher). Have a good mooch around charity shops and keep your eyes peeled for things on Freecycle.
  • ROPE IN FRIENDS AND FAMILY:  Let them know you’re in the market for specific types of furniture so they can keep an eye out when they’re window shopping or let you know when they’re getting rid of pieces.
  • BUY WHAT YOU LOVE: Don’t be scared to mix colours and types of wood. You don’t have to stick to a particular colour palette. If you like the pieces display them how you want. It’s your pad!

8 Responses to How to furnish your flat on a budget: Take a sneak peek at my new Birmingham pad

  1. Your new place is lovely, really lovely! We got all of our furniture from gumtree and freecycle in the end, so many bargains to be had!

    • manc_vintage says:

      Thanks! If I’d had more time I would have liked to have sourced more from those kinds of places but I needed furniture, and pronto!

  2. Porcelina says:

    Congratulations on your new pad! I love what you’ve done with it already, it looks fab. Wishing you lots of happy times in your new place xx

  3. Charlotte says:

    Nice finds:) I normally do quite well in the Kings Heath charity shops (particularly Sue Ryder), and Harbourne isn’t bad either. x

  4. Vix says:

    It looks brilliant and so do you and your dinners! Boldmere & Wylde Green are great for chazzas, Sutton Coldfield itself is dreadful (but the ‘Spoons disco is good fun on a Saturday night!) xxx

    • manc_vintage says:

      Cheers Vix! I’ll make sure I have a trip down there soon. And yes, spotted the disco. Will defo have to give it a whirl! xxx

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