As if renovation weren't costly enough, furnishing your flat can cost thousands of dollars. Travel is back, meaning you can try your luck in Johor Bahru, but if you don't have the time or resources to cross the border, you can always try buying things pre-loved right here in Singapore.
This is not only a more affordable option, but it's a more environmentally friendly one as well - it reduces waste by extending the lifecycle of products that already exist in circulation.
More often than nought, secondhand furniture is in good condition. Some sellers let their items go because they're moving house; others do so because the piece was an impulse buy.
Either way, if you know where to look, you can find something that looks as good as new, or at least charmingly vintage.
While this seems like an obvious place to start looking, the sheer number of listings can make one's treasure hunt feel a little daunting.
So here are two pieces of advice:
First, filter your search results by recency. There are dozens of new listings a day, so pounce fast because items get claimed quickly!
Secondly, search by brand. I was eyeing an $850+ TV console in the Castlery showroom a couple of weeks ago, only to find the same one on Carousell, lightly used, for only $300.
Facebook has a plethora of groups from expats who are leaving Singapore, and who therefore need to get rid of their furniture. In these groups, you'll find everything from beds, to entertainment sets, to sofas. We even found teak daybeds and dining tables for less than $300 each!
Elsewhere on Facebook, you can check Marketplace or groups like Renovation & Furniture Lobangs SG.
Singapore Freebies by Sharetings
Jonathan How created the Singapore Freebies by Sharetings Telegram Group in 2018, as a freshman in university. Four years later, it's gained 10,000 subscribers, with 120k items being shared in the group and on the Sharetings app.
A quick search in the Telegram group reveals hundreds of listings for chairs, tables, and Ikea products, all of them F.O.C.
Plus, did you know that Jonathan was inspired to start Sharetings after seeing how many useable items are discarded at HDB void decks? You read more about his story in our interview with him here!
Secondhand furniture stories
Replete with quirky, one-of-a-kind items, secondhand furniture stores give you easy access to goods that can help your house feel a little more lived-in. There's Hock Siong, a family of former karung guni traders who have since moved into selling secondhand furniture.
You can also check out Noden for handpicked vintage Scandinavian furniture from the 1940s-1970s. And if you favour items that look truly ancient, check out Junkie's Corner on Turf Club Road - they've been amassing antique and vintage collectibles for more than 30 years!
Finally, have fun! Hunting for pre-loved treasures can be a little more time-consuming than mass ordering everything from a furniture retailer, but after you're done, your house will look anything but generic.
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.