More time spent at home during various lockdowns has ramped up the home decor craze. But 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.

British Heart Foundation has furniture stores in Walthamstow, Wandsworth, Leytonstone, Lewisham and Mitcham. British Red Cross has furniture branches in Fulham and Hendon.

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).

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.

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. Check out their Instagram page for current stock.

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.

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).

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