Buying new furniture, updating your home office setup, or freshening up your interiors doesn’t have to cost the earth. Shopping second-hand or local is more eco-friendly and, let’s face it, wallet-friendly. Whether you’re after a new bookcase to brighten your living room, or some kitchenware for those newly acquired or improved cooking skills, there is a treasure trove of affordable furniture and home decor shops in London.
Of course it’s worth browsing the likes of eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree, but if you want to see things up close, here’s our pick of where to go bargain hunting. And don’t forget your tape measure!
Specialist charity shops
Charity shops have always been great for picking up homeware, but select British Red Cross and British Heart Foundation stores specialise in furniture too. For health and safety reasons, they’re strict on the items they accept, so all upholstered furniture has to come with fire labels, etc. You can pick up larger items like sofas from £95 and kitchenware from £5.
North London Hospice Furniture Shop, North Finchley and High Barnet
Head to deepest north London to peruse pre-owned and donated furniture items at North London Hospice. The charity has two furniture outlets, one is in North Finchley, and the other is on High Barnet. North Finchley isn’t on the tube, but it’s close to Whetstone station, on the same branch of the Northern Line as High Barnet. Although, let’s face it, you’re unlikely to be taking a sofa or an armchair on the underground. Good luck to you and your fellow commuters if do, it’s one way to guarantee a seat. There’s not much info on the kind of furniture you can expect to find, but part of the fun is turning up and seeing what you can find, with that trusty tape measure in your pocket, obviously.
Brick Lane Market, Shoreditch
As we’ve mentioned before, Brick Lane Market is actually made up of five different markets. But for new and original homeware and furniture, head on over to Sunday Upmarket and the Vintage Market to browse beautiful things from pre-loved items to handcrafted ceramics.
Wood Street Indoor Market, Walthamstow
Brick Lane isn’t the only place to find furniture at flea markets. Head a little further east to Walthamstow and visit the Wood Street Indoor Market which is open Tuesdays-Saturdays all year round. It’s full of stalls by over 25 independent traders selling everything from vintage clothing to jewellery, home furnishings and vintage furniture. There is a good mix of second hand and original items from handmade blinds and shutters, to colorful, beautifully crafted Moroccan ceramics and vintage and antique furniture.
Aladdins Furniture and Antiques, Hornsey
Tucked at the back of a cute neighbourhood cafe, Aladdins lives up to its namesake. The large back room is like a cave of wonders for the second-hand furniture seeker. The glorious Google description says it’s a “topsy-turvy warehouse selling all types of antique, second-hand, and even some new furniture.” Peruse anything from dining chair sets to chess tables (if you fancy giving your gaff a Queen’s Gambit makeover).
Barnet Furniture Centre, North London
Priding itself on giving pre-owned furniture a new home instead of ending up in landfill, Barnet Furniture Centre is a large warehouse in north London which also sells online via its Boutique Shop. It has a community focus, so operates on a two-tier pricing structure for people on lower incomes. Volunteers help run the centre, snd restore donated furniture where necessary, and all items are sold as seen, so there are no refunds, although you can get a credit note in the event an item doesn’t fit in your home/stairwell etc. That said, it’s worth checking all measurements for your building including door widths etc before you buy anything. As it’s a larger outlet, you can expect a good variety of unusual and vintage furniture, to more contemporary and practical items.
Bright Sparks, Stratford and Finsbury Park
The Bright Sparks website looks almost as retro as the furniture it sells. But, although the photos don’t quite do some of the pieces justice, it’s full of a huge selection of decent quality second hand furniture from mid century design brands like G Planto more modern, lower cost furniture, including a three seater sofa for under £100.00. Variety is its strong suit, the warehouse stocks everything from more unusual pieces to dining tables and office furniture. Bright Sparks delivers to select boroughs including Barnet, Hackney, Haringey, Camden, Enfield, Lewisham and Redbridge with charges ranging from £18.00–£45.00.
Docklands Office Furniture, Cambridge Heath
Kitting out your home-working space can be a pricey affair, especially when you factor in ergonomic chairs and the like. Billed as a “one-stop shop for all your furniture needs,” Docklands Office Furniture is a big warehouse in east London selling new, designer and second-hand furniture. There’s plenty of stock to browse online, including items like a Herman Miller Abak desk for £195 (they go for over £700 brand new).
Retro Hub N16, Stoke Newington
Retro Hub is a brightly coloured warehouse and yard, which also doubles as location for film and photo shoots. It’s not hard to see why. There are pictures hanging off mural walls, pavements filled with old furniture, and an abundance of curios. It’s worth going for the experience of exploring as well as the potential for some interesting furniture or home decor bargains. Van hire and removal are also listed on the menu of services, so you might get a decent deal on delivery for your items too.
Boutiques and Independent Shops
Labour and Wait, (Multiple London locations and Tokyo)
One for Cheapos in London and Tokyo, Labour and Wait started around Brick Lane in 2000 and has grown to include shops in Marylebone, the West End and Shibuya, Tokyo. With design principles that appear to take William Morris’ statement “Have nothing in your house that you don’t know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” and takes it one further – selling everything from stationery to clothing and homeware to gardening tools with, all designed to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Some items are on the spendier end, £95.00 for an enamel bread bin is a little steep, but most items aren’t much more than the chain store equivalent. There are plenty of wallet-friendly home decor items such as beeswax cables, cotton string bags, coaster, placemats, and candle holders.
Tash & Tanya, Muswell Hill
The Muswell Hill shop is run by independent makers Tanya Kriesky and Natasha Barton. Some of their original pieces including screen prints and stitched products are sold in the shop along with other interesting homewares. The shop is a short walk from Ally Pally, and they have an online store where you can place a click & collect order too. The shop is small, but filled with lovely things, from printed lampshades to speakers, prints and retro homeware. It’s a great place to get gifts too.
Committee of Taste, Hackney
The second-hand furniture on display at the brick-and-mortar store (they sell online too) is a home decor lover’s dream. Committee of Taste is big on uncluttered design, so you if crammed storage rooms are a little overwhelming, then this will be more up your street. The focus is on British mid-century, with some antique and modernist pieces too. Drop by to find vintage pieces like oak book shelves for under £150.00. Check out their Instagram page for current stock.