November 2019 - Fife Properties
Fife Properties

How to save money when furnishing your first home

You are buying your first home, which has most probably dominated the landscape of your day-to-day life for some months as you go through the property purchasing process for the very first time. You have been saving every penny you can in order to get your deposit together and pay any legal fees, but now that the property is secured you need to furnish it.

Now you’re wondering how you are going to fill your property with furniture and your budget is tight. So, we have put together our top tips to make your house a home, without having to spend a fortune…

Speak to the Seller or their Estate Agent

Whoever is moving out of the property that you are buying will most likely have their own plans for their next property, and those plans often involve new furniture as they upsize or downsize. Don’t be afraid to discuss leaving any furniture behind with them – it saves them the hassle of moving items, making this is a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Buy Online

We are all aware of the rise of online auction sites and when furnishing your first property they should be your best friends as there are plenty of bargains and hidden treasures on the likes of eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Amazon, Gumtree or the Shpock app. Search for pieces of furniture that have small imperfections or are second-hand and you can pick up some really quality affordable pieces, especially if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease and refurbish them (think of giving a bargain Welsh-dresser a lick of chalk-paint to give it a traditional yet chic feel).

Friends and Family

Your family and friends will most certainly have items of furniture in their homes which they are either not happy with, do not have the space for, or are simply looking to get rid of – this is the time to cash in on those good relationships! Offer to pick things up from their homes to take the onus off them, and in return you could end up with a fully furnished home at a fraction of the cost.

Destination Sweden

Love it or loathe it, there is one furniture giant which has been furnishing homes affordably for some time – Ikea. The Swedish giant certainly offers good value for money, and when it comes to the essentials, it could be a real lifesaver. We would recommend shopping around for any item of furniture and not simply furnishing a room just so that it is finished – the general consensus says to wait two weeks before making a furniture purchase just to mull over your options. Buying at specific periods will also help you to save – think Black Friday, Cyber Monday, New Year or summer which all offer extreme discounts.

Finishing Touches

If you’re furnishing a home with a budget in mind then something you will want to avoid is an aesthetic that looks “cheap” or mis-matched, and the finishing touches can help you to create that chic finish which you will no doubt be aspiring to. Soft furnishings should be at the top of your list in terms of finishing off a room – curtains, blinds, cushions and rugs can all set the tone of a room no matter what other furniture is present. Visit vintage stores and fabric shops and you will be able to find some nice fabrics to work with, especially if you are a dab-hand with a sewing machine.

Wondering what the essentials are? Here’s our list…


Dining table and chairs


Wardrobes (if you have built in wardrobes you’re on to an instant saving)

Chest of drawers


Kitchen items (kettle, toaster, pots and pans)

These are just some of the key points to focus on when furnishing your first home.

Landlord – prepare your properties for winter with our guide

As we head towards the Winter months, now is the optimum time for landlords to prepare for the potential issues that may arise from the harsher weather. Spending a little time and effort now may well save money further down the line in the event of an accident or repair cost. Here’s our list of essential landlord checks:

Boiler Service

The number one priority for every landlord should be checking that the boiler in your property (or properties) is in good condition, as repair costs can be extremely expensive. Book a boiler service to ensure that everything is working correctly and safely as boilers can break down with the surge in gas consumption that comes in the colder months.

Protect the Pipes

Adding lagging to your pipes (specially designed pipe insulation) is an inexpensive measure which will give you peace of mind knowing that your piping will not burst due to freezing and splitting. Focus on pipes in external areas and lofts which may be subject to the most extreme temperatures and you should avoid any problems as the cold sets in.

Smoke and CO Alarms

In line with regulations interlinked smoke alarms must be installed in each hall on each floor including every reception room and a heat detector in the kitchen – now is the perfect time to double-check these are in good working order and that your tenants are safe in your property. If your rental property has a fireplace (or solid fuel appliance) or central heating system then an additional carbon monoxide alarm must be fitted within one meter of the appliance in the same room, as the chances of these items being used increase astronomically in winter.

Open Dialogue

One of the key pieces of advice that we can give to protect your property through the winter is to create healthy dialogue with your tenants. As they are living in the property day-to-day, they will be able to tell you about any smaller issues so that you know how to avoid any larger issues. Make sure your tenants know where the stopcock is in the property, where the fuse board is located and who to call in case of an emergency. This could be invaluable in saving you time and money.

Protect the Roof

Chipped, cracked or dislodged tiles on your roof could lead to significant water damage and in cold temperatures this can lead to structural issues with water freezing and expanding. Double-check that your roof is in tip-top condition, and whilst you’re at it take the time to clear out your gutters to avoid blockages when the inevitable rain falls.

A Guide to Designing a Child’s Bedroom

Designing a child’s room can be tricky; there are a number of factors to consider so it is hard to know where to begin. Design trends are forever changing and your child is constantly growing, so it is important that you consider a few things before starting.

Striking the balance between fun and practical is a challenge and designing something that your child does not grow out of too quickly is not easy, but by taking the time to think it over, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and create a space that is fun for them and easy for you to manage.

Draw Up A Floor Plan

Before you start buying all sorts of cute and colourful furniture, it’s important to remember that depending on your child’s age, this room could have a variety of functions.

Have a think about what the room will be used for and draw out a plan. If the room just needs to be a comfortable place to sleep then you should have plenty of freedom, however, if it also needs to be an area to play and study, you’ll require a good amount of floor space and maybe a dedicated little corner for a desk.

Everyone’s home and preferences are different but you want to get as much out of the space as possible, so take a moment to consider the role that the room will play and how it may change over the next few years.

Choose The Right Colour

It may be tempting to simply ask your child what their favourite colour is and then start buying paint or wallpaper.

While it is a good idea to include your child in the design of their room, if their favourite colour resembles a highlighter pen, then your best option is to go with the more neutral shade of that colour.

Your best strategy is to aim for a colour palette that nicely blends with a variety of furniture and will not look so childish once your child turns into a teen. Save yourself a redecoration job in 18 months by picking a colour that will age well with the rest of the ever-changing décor.

Decide On The Flooring

When it comes to flooring you have a few options, all with their pros and cons, so you just have to decide which will be best for you.

Carpet helps keep the room a little warmer but is vulnerable to stains. Hardwood is much more durable and easy to clean but does not provide much cushion for a child that is a little more clumsy than most. You could also opt for rubber flooring that does offer the benefits of both carpet and hardwood; however, it is the most expensive option of the three.

The flooring that is best for you is dependent on the age of your child, but research your options while keeping your budget in mind and make sure your choice of flooring compliments the room and doesn’t break the bank.

Getting The Furniture Right

There are two key things to keep in mind when choosing your furniture, functionality and lifespan.

We’ve already established that space is a valuable commodity so finding multifunctional furniture can be a real lifesaver.

Beds that have storage built in underneath are quite easy to find and the extra storage they provide can go a long way, as well as free up more of the room for other essential items. This also gives you an opportunity to get a little creative and look for ways to combine 2 items into one such as adding some padding to a desk or dresser so that it also can be used as a changing table.

The other consideration for furniture is its lifespan. There is a lot of cute miniature beds, tables and chairs that might look great, but you must remember that they will grow out of it quicker than you think. A good strategy would be to buy some furniture that they can grow into. Their small clothes may not justify full sized dresser just yet, but it will not be long before you are looking for extra storage space and their feet are hanging out of the end of the bed.

Add Character Through Accessories

Now that your room has been planned out, you have chosen your colour palette, had the flooring fitted, assembled and placed the furniture, it’s time to add character.

The great part about this phase of designing the room is that because the rest of the room’s features were kept neutral and timeless, you can now give your child a good amount of freedom to add their own personality to the room from accessories.

Whether it’s action figures, bed covers or posters, you can basically style the room however you want and the best part is, these accessories can be easily replaced and changed over the years at the same rate as your child’s taste in décor shifts from one thing to the next.

Easy steps to decluttering your home


Do you sometimes feel as though you’re drowning in a sea of clutter? Or that your house has become more and more disorganised? Well, now’s the time to hit those common, messy areas!

Start by sorting through everything you own

Getting started is always the hardest part but performing an audit of everything you own is a great first step. Gather common built-up items like books, items of food, jewellery, paperwork, loose batteries or anything you’re saving “just in case”. Find out how many duplicates or useless items you have and throw them away. Whatever there is leftover, sort and store them properly.

Next… tackle the wardrobe

Let’s face it, a wardrobe is a totally different beast to the random things you tend to collect.

A good system to operate in the future is a one in one out system. Every time you buy a new item of clothing, throw away an old item.

Whilst you’re at it, you should tackle your sock drawers. Throw away any old and worn out items, and add an organiser to the draw to keep everything separate and neat.

Sort out your utensils drawer

You know you’ve collected too much cutlery when the draw starts to stick. Take everything out of the drawer and throw away those useless tools (like your melon baller or your citrus juicer) and add a divider to better divide your essential utensils.

Organise your garage, shed and/or loft space

Transparent boxes are your best friend when it comes to organising your storage spaces. You can stack them all on top of each other and you can see all the contents you’ve stored inside them, meaning you don’t need to go through a hundred boxes to find something.

Get the kids involved

Encouraging your kids to keep their bedrooms neat and organised  (easier said than done) is a brilliant way to keep one of the messiest areas of your house neat and tidy.

Introduce them to the idea of donating unwanted toys to charity shops and how doing so can have a positive impact on the lives of others. It’s also a vital life skill your children will need to learn, so everyone wins!