Buying your furniture and essentials before starting university

Halls of residence

By Lois Looker,

If you’re moving away from home to go to university and are either staying in halls of residence or in private accommodation, then you’re going to have to buy some bits and pieces of furniture. For some people, starting university is like a clean slate and all you want are a few new pieces of furniture to go and start this next phase in your lives. Others might want to take all of their earthly belongings with them including those sketch pads that they’ve never used before, but hey, maybe university will be the time where they will actually take up drawing as a hobby. Whichever category you fall into, you’ll be wanting to do so on the cheap and there are many ways for you to save money as a student.

One of the main pieces of advice is that you shouldn’t spend too much on furnishings for university. You don’t want it ruined during a flat party or bashed when you’re moving between places. Have a look on your universities’ website; they may have students who are graduating that are looking to sell their furniture now that they are moving back home or onto a new place. In cases like this, they simply want a small margin of what they paid for the furniture so that someone can take if off of their hands. If you agree to pick it up from their house they might even give it to you free.

If you’re planning on buying new furniture then your best bet for good furniture for your accommodation is IKEA. Yep, you’ll probably need to round up all of your flatmates just to help you build the stuff, but for quality and cheapness, you’re onto a winner and you can just call it a bonding exercise! You’ll never mind if someone doesn’t use a coaster when they put their drink down on a table which cost you a tenner. Most of IKEA’s furniture is also quite lightweight so if you decide you want to take it with you when you move onto somewhere else, then it can be done pretty easily.

It’s quite likely that before you go off to university, you’ll have people that are willing to help you out. Your granny might give you that spare bedside table or your sister might give you a loan of that lamp she doesn’t actually use anymore. This will save you a lot of money and even though you might have a room full of miss-matched furniture, you’ll probably just blend in with everyone else’s eclectic collection of belongings as well. There’s no need to turn up to university with beautiful furniture which is well coordinated and matching perfectly but you’ve had to spend a full year’s student loan to get it. Try and get as much for free as you can.

If none of your friends or family have any spare pieces of furniture then look for a local car boot sale. You can find some gems amongst the knock-off DVDs and even if it needs a bit of polish or a lick of paint, you can find bargains for under a fiver. Charity shops are an equally good place to look for furniture but it’s better to research this a bit first as many charity shops specialise in clothing and brick-a-brack and their furniture stocks might be quite limited.

Just remember to pack all of your essentials from home such as your music and DVDs for when you just need a break from studying or socialising and a few things which will really make your room yours. Our checklists of what you need for university will help you out.

What are your essentials for starting university?