So, you’ve just moved into your new place and it’s unfurnished, semi-furnished or just ugly. Nightmare.
Well, we’re here to help you with tips and tricks on furnishing your house in the Netherlands beautifully, yet cheaply. You have a nice space, you pay your utilities and bills so you want the place to look nice on a budget.
Kringloop winkels, also known as second-hand shops
Ooooh, the almighty kringloops. They have saved me hundreds (thousands, even) of euros when I first got to the Netherlands. I’d moved into an unfurnished apartment, with no internet to buy furniture and no car for transportation. I didn’t know a single person and I was completely at a loss on what to do about the fact I had nothing to even sit on.
I went for a walk around my area and came across a kringloop. Luckily, most areas will have them. I ended up completely furnishing my apartment for only a couple of hundred euros (my sofa was €35, whaaat). The owner was so welcoming and delivered it right to our front door for free. Admittedly I was eating my dinner off a kringloop laptop desk for months and my sofa was a weird blue velvet, but it was home. If you have time to really look around you can get some amazing items cheaply (aesthetically pleasing), which I have also done since. In short, go to a kringloop if you haven’t already! It’s definitely the best place to go if you’re furnishing your house in the Netherlands.
I love Ikea! Then again, who doesn’t? Ikea has 11 stores all over the Netherlands and it’s worth the visit if you have a spare 5 hours or so. Ikea is great if you don’t mind dealing with flat-pack furniture and it’s very cheap. Hence why it’s one of the best ways of furnishing your house in the Netherlands. No car? No worries. Most Ikea furniture can be bought online and delivered to your house for a reasonable price. It’s probably worth going to their stores though, so you can indulge on their cheap hot snacks. Did someone say Swedish meatballs and 50c hotdogs?
Marktplaats (‘market square’), is the perfect place to visit if you’re after a bargain. Both new and used items are put up for sale on this site (some even free)! Some listings are from regular people like you and me and others from online shops. You can also list your things if you want to make a bit of cash yourself. It’s really easy to use and even if your Dutch is not up to scratch, there are many listings on the site that are written in English. For anybody who knows what eBay is, then this is the Dutch equivalent (it’s even owned by eBay).
Facebook groups are the perfect way to grab yourself something cheap. It even has its own market place, where you can see listed items in your area (or another if you wanted to). Just go on your Facebook homepage and you’ll find it in the sidebar. There is also a load of free items if you look properly! It’s updated all the time, so make sure you quickly snap up that bargain before somebody else does.
Another way to get yourself some cheap or free goods is to join expat groups. There is almost always somebody there who is trying to get rid of their furniture. This is because expats are always on the move, so they want somebody to take their furniture off them quickly and cheaply so they can move on. It’s definitely worth joining and looking around these groups. This is also a great place to sell stuff yourself if needed.
There are plenty of places to furnish your house cheaply when it comes to the little bits. DutchReview have already complied a list for this, so check it out.
However, Action is by far the best for these smaller, yet just as important little bits. Action stocks almost everything really cheaply. It has paint, duvet sets, cleaning products, kitchen items, little tables, lamps, garden products, candles, DIY tools and hardware, I could go on forever. This is the place you need to go if your house is bare and you need the essentials, with a bit of decoration too. Luckily ‘Action’ is found pretty much everywhere in the Netherlands, so you have no excuse not to go.
Where I live (block of apartments), we have a bench in the communal area, next to the main door. This began to become the bench of mystery. Once a member of the building had a clear-out or wanted to get rid of something which was still in good condition, it would go on the bench for another person to take. I’ve both taken and put a lot on the bench since I moved there almost 2 years ago. It became a thing of me to ask my partner ‘so, what’s on the bench today?’ as there was a phase of something different being there every day. Ranging from clothes to chairs and children’s toys to lampshades. We even got a lovely coffee table from ‘the bench’ once.
If your apartment doesn’t have one, you better start organising one, the perfect way to get rid of your items without waste and receiving free items in return!
Also, it’s worth checking out the noticeboard or communal walls if you live in a block of flats. People often advertise items such as sofas for sale from within the block. I once got a really nice sofa for only €50, just because someone wanted to get rid of it asap to make room for their new sofa. If it’s in Dutch and you aren’t fluent yet, translate it! You could be missing out on a bargain.
Of course, it’s impossible to list every single thing out there, but these are what saved me from the tedious and expensive task of furnishing my house. Have any other tips about furnishing your house in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image: Emma Brown/Supplied