Home Is Where The Heart Is by Martina

So, 2016 has seen me take the biggest step of my adult life so far – buying my own place. After what seemed like a lifetime of searching and stressing, I finally stumbled across my perfect pad. It was love at first sight – through the empty, bland, magnolia rooms; I could envisage my ‘New York City’ style apartment taking over the lower level, and my ‘fit for a princess’ girly haven, taking shape upstairs.

So that all seemed well and good, until my bank account emptied itself almost overnight with deposits, solicitors fees, stamp duty, insurance… I won’t bore you with the never ending list.

The realisation sunk in that I wasn’t about to become Oliver Bonas’s best customer, however after a near diva strop, I soon realised that I could still make it look like I had envisioned.

Charity shops don’t just have hidden clothing treasures, they also have a heap of fabulous home bargains, that I guarantee will give any room that magic sparkle without spending a fortune!


Take my dining room for example. The whole room has cost me under £100 (excluding the blind, but that’s boring anyway…). I picked up an old picnic table, painted it a dark wood and made it the feature of my room. With a few cushions or a sheepskin rug or two thrown over the benches, the table will look like its cost a lot more than it has.


My local Barnardo’s furniture shop was packed with barely used IKEA  units, like the above bookcase which was only a few quid. I went with red as my main colour theme, and found a plethora of home accessories to match this in my local Barnardo’s.

These beautiful dark wood candle sticks were £2 for the set, but with the gold embossed floral pattern, they look much more expensive.

I also spied a vase to match my candle sticks, and Barnardo’s sell their own range of fake flowers (ideal for me as I am the world’s worst at watering plants) which add vibrancy and colour to the room. The photo frame was new, ideal to frame a painting of my workplace given to me as a flat warming gift. I also couldn’t resist this cute little Japanese style dish, which adds an oriental feel to the room.

Moving into the living room, I couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted this beautiful grey ceramic vase for only £2.50! I picked up lots of little knick-knacks to bring my ‘new York City’ theme to life, such as candles, photo frames, vases and plates.

This black and gold floral version is perfect for the feel of my room, whilst the candles and photo frames add a homely atmosphere.

Charity shops can be great for finding kitchen items you wouldn’t even think you would need! I got this brand new fondue set in my local Barnardo’s for only £4, which can double up as a candle holder when you’re not using it. This fruit bowl and kitchen roll holder were £1 each, and I instantly fell in love with these super cute flamingo napkins which were only 20p. I recently used them when I had the girls round for dinner, and I think they liked them more than the dinner set!

These little chick salt and pepper shakers are simple yet fun; you’re bound to find lots of different designs on charity shop shelves. I love these cute coffee/tea/sugar jars too and they complement the other white items perfectly.

I collected a variety of different photo frames from charity shops, printed out my favourite pictures, and created a Pinterest worthy wall (if I do say so myself!).

My bedroom is filled with little gems you are bound to find in any charity shop, from fairy lights and cute candles to trinket boxes and photo holders. It’s important that your bedroom matches your personality; this is where you spend much of your time so you want to enjoy the decor.

So I urge you to get down to your local charity shop and fill your boots, I guarantee you will be amazed at how well you can update your home for next to no cost!

Follow my Instagram for more homeware updates – essentiallyginger

M x

Inspired to go on a Barnardo’s shopping haul? Find your local Barnardo’s store here with our store locator.

Want to share your top Barnardo’s looks with us and feature on The-Thrift? Comment below and we’ll get in touch!

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