There’s no need to bring stuff with you to set up your new home in Australia – there’s a wide range of stores and online marketplaces around the country that offer affordable furniture and other home items, as well as discount supermarkets to help stock your pantry and ways to give your house a homely touch.
Furniture and homewares
There are several options when it comes to buying furniture and homewares to suit a range of different budgets. Remember, you don’t have to buy everything all at once – just the essentials. If you can live without a dining table for a few weeks, for example, it might be worth waiting for sales (usually around the end of the financial year in June/July or towards the end of the year to coincide with Cyber Monday and Black Friday). Here’s where you can buy furniture and homewares in Australia:
- Furniture stores – Most capital cities have IKEA stores, where you can find reasonably priced furniture and homewares. Fantastic Furniture and Amart are also good options for larger items, with locations around Australia.
- Second-hand stores – If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind, affordable furnishings and home items, second-hand stores are fantastic places to look. Australia is home to second-hand chains like Vinnies, Salvos and RSPCA ‘op’ shops, as well as independent shops and boutiques.
- Online marketplaces – In Australia, Gumtree and eBay are two of the biggest online marketplaces for new and used furniture and home goods. On Gumtree, you’ll often find people giving things away for free.
- Facebook – Facebook is a great resource for buying (and selling) furniture and homewares. Facebook Marketplace is full of secondhand furniture, appliances, decorative pieces, cookware, and even clothing, electronics, and hundreds of other items.
- Department stores – Look for your nearest Kmart, Target or Spotlight – these stores sell everything from furniture and lighting to kitchenware and bedding at low prices.
- Buy, Sell, Swap – You’ll find plenty of buy, swap, sell groups on Facebook that are dedicated to particular suburbs and cities. There are also websites such as Ziilch and Freecycle.
TIP! If you’re dealing with a small bedroom or study area in your new house, read our interview with an Interior Design Manager for her tips on maximising space here.
Your first grocery shop will be quite an expensive one, but remember that when you’re buying staples (oil, salt, pepper, spices, and so on), you won’t have to repurchase them for a long time. There are also ways to look out for deals to make stocking your kitchen a little cheaper.
Discount supermarket, Aldi, is the most affordable option in Australia, although you can always check Coles and Woolworths online to see if there are weekly specials. If you have easy access to Costco – a discount warehouse where you can buy bulk groceries and other household items cheaply – it might be worth considering purchasing a membership with them.
Once your kitchen is set-up with staples and pantry items (such as rice and pasta), you will only need to worry about fresh groceries week-by-week.
TIP! Check discount Japanese variety store Daiso for any extra kitchenware you might need.
A taste of home
Once you have all the necessities, you can start to include a little more of your personality in your new home (if you’re living in student accomodation, find tips on how to make your apartment feel like home here). Photos from home are always a nice touch, and you can buy inexpensive frames from Kmart or IKEA. Some other options to liven up the house can include:
- Plants – either fake or real, plants are a great way to bring some colour into your house. Bunnings Warehouse and IKEA are perfect for plant-shopping
- Colourful rugs and cushions
- Books – whether you’ve brought some books from home, or plan on buying new ones in Australia (Book Depository is a discount online book retailer that offers free shipping), it’s always nice to have some leisure-reading books available to you, rather than just textbooks
- Snacks from home – Australia is full of international grocery stores, so chances are you will be able to find your favourite snacks from back home. Have some on-hand for if you’re ever feeling homesick.
- Artwork – if you’re in a private rental or student accommodation, you probably won’t be able to put nails into the wall. Instead, buy wall-protectant adhesives from stores like Kmart or Bunnings Warehouse, and buy posters (Blue Dog Posters are a great option) or local artwork to liven up blank walls.
TIP! You’ll find more, city-specific information about setting up your house in our Guides – you can find downloadable copies here, or sign up to receive your relevant guide below.