Buy Nothing New October, Footnote Frivolity***, Going Green, Second-hand Scavengers

Cheaper than Ikea? Yes, we can!

We’re not going to try to explain life, but we know there’s more to life than furniture. And everyone deserves to have a beautiful home and still have money left over for other things. At IKEA, we’re inspired by all the magical moments that happen every day. These moments keep us going, evolving and constantly thinking of how to make life at home better, more beautiful, simpler and more affordable. (2012 Ikea catalogue)

Unfortunately, affordable for IKEA is a $1899 Kivik three-seat leather sofa. A flick through their 2012 catalogue inspired me to throw together some IKEA looks that were truly affordable. Many of the items featured in my mockups are second-hand, found, or repurposed objects that I’ve brought home over the years. Most cost me less than $30; some were even free*.


Hektar pendant lamp ($99), Bravur wall clock ($79), Bracke tealight holder ($9.99/each), Ursula throw ($39.99), Ivar cabinet ($129), Kaustby chair ($39), Raskog kitchen trolley ($79), Ursula cushion cover ($20), Ludde sheepskin ($59/each).


Metal megaphone from op shop ($35), grandpa blanket from op shop ($25), ladder from garage sale ($30), Airflow fan from op shop ($20), Harvest literary journals (some free, some not), secretaire from hard rubbish week (free!), repurposed incandescent light globe & tap fittings (free!), wire milk crate from hard rubbish week (free!), cushions were probably bought in a store (but they belong to Cheap Geek so they don’t count).


Lyrik shade ($29.99); Sockerart vases ($9.99-$14.99/each), Berta Ruta fabric ($14.99/m), Hemnes chest of 3 drawers ($249), Dekad alarm clock ($9.99/each), Alvine Raffla cushion cover ($20/each), Hemnes bedside table ($99), Alvine Ruta rug ($249).


Teapots and milk jug from op shops (<$15), retro tablecloths from op shop ($3-4/each), tea cosy from a vintage/retro store ($10), homely picture from a garage sale ($4), jar repurposed into vase (free!), Cheap Geek’s chest of drawers from his childhood (I took them off him when he tried to dump them on the side of the road).


Ystad armchair ($699), Benzy Land cushion ($19.99), Benzy single quilt cover set ($49.99), Hermine throw ($29.99), Benzy cushion ($29.99), Marby table lamp ($49.99), Persisk Belutch rug ($399/each), Skor bowl ($17.99).


New Big Sleep mug on sale at Borders ($19.95), lamp from op shop ($15), horse pillow from op shop ($4), old books from op shop ($1-2/each), metal cupcake stand from op shop ($2), repurposed pickle jar (free!), couch and brown pillows probably bought new from a store (but they belong to Cheap Geek so they don’t count), Chinese rug (inherited from Cheap Geek’s nanna).


Aspelund chest of 3 drawers ($179), Ekne room divider ($69); Emmie Blom shade ($14.99), Dromlik scented candle in pot ($7.99/2 pack), Emmie Stra cushion ($39.99), Ektorp armchair ($499), Emmie Land cushion cover ($5/each), Hermine throw ($29.99).


Stool from op shop ($15), art deco light fitting from garage sale ($15), rattan mirror from Savers (<$15), plate from op shop (<$5), rattan trunk from op shop (<$5), ballerina box from garage sale ($2), spatula from garage sale ($0.50), toiletries case from hard rubbish week (free!), floral rug left behind by previous house owner (free!), crochet nanna blanket left behind by previous housemate (free!), leftover homemade apple crumble (mine not yours).

Decorating with second-hand, found, or repurposed items saves money and resources*. Such items also help inject much needed character into a home. Reclaimed hard rubbish, for example, is ‘valued…because these objects ha[ve]…histories and lives before them’ (Dr Tania Lewis of Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction, via The Age), unlike IKEA consumables, which are identical whether they’re bought in Sweden or China.

So if you’re feeling strapped for cash but are sick of eating off the floor, don’t rush out to buy an entire IKEA catalogue. Instead, take home the following Swedish advice:

This post is part of a Buy Nothing New series for Buy Nothing New Month 2012. Yep. 

*Every cushion/desk/textile that I don’t have to buy new not only saves me money, it also saves on resources and landfill space. Yep.

4 thoughts on “Cheaper than Ikea? Yes, we can!

  1. LOVE it! Yours look so much better than the IKEA catalogue pics too. I love op-shopping for furniture. I’m gagging to actually buy my own house so I can furnish it with stuff from markets and op-shops.

  2. Your blog rocks! I love how your items look so much more unique than Ikea stuff! I’d much prefer to have those pieces in my home. I’m sure your friends say ‘where’d you get that?!’ rather than ‘oh is that from ikea… i have the same one in black’. I am in love with op shopping too!

    1. Thanks for the love.

      I agree. There’s something horribly ubiquitous about Ikea, and their products are very easy to recognise. I don’t understand why anyone would want to buy Ikea artwork when there’s secondhand/found alternatives that are usually cheaper anyway.

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