Research reveals first-time buyers go months without furniture – for this reason

Startling new stats show just how many first-time buyers and renters struggle to afford furnishings

New research reveals thousands of renters and first-time buyers go without key furniture buys for weeks, sometimes even months after moving in. It appears budgets are simply too stretched, so by the time moving fees have been paid, no money is left for furniture. It's a plight far too many can relate to, as the cost of living rises.

A survey*, of over 2000 first time buyers and renters in the UK, found 58 per cent don’t have the money to furnish their new home. At least one in four admitted to waiting weeks before getting key furniture items, such as sofas.

For first-time buyers: Martin Lewis has an urgent warning for wannabe first-time buyers

room with wooden chair blue vase and drawer

(Image credit: British Heart Foundation)

‘The survey findings show creating a comfortable home on a modest budget can be difficult for first time buyers and renters,’ says Allison Swaine-Hughes, Retail Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF). Especially when faced with the, ‘cost of large deposits, mortgage and rental payments.’

The research, carried out by BHF, found six-in-ten renters and first-time buyers overlook the opportunity to buy second-hand in order to save money. This is something the BHF wants to change, with a little help from this month's upcycle campaign.

The BHF’s Reuse Revolution campaign hopes to encourage the nation to shop, upcycle and donate second-hand furniture. It says that millions more people – including first-time buyers and renters – could be benefiting from the affordable items that are available second-hand.

room with hanging green foliage potted plant white round table and chair

(Image credit: British Heart Foundation)

Allison continues, ‘We’ve seen increasing numbers of people visiting our shops for high quality, affordable furniture and homeware. This trend is preventing thousands of tonnes of items ending up in landfill, and filling homes with unique, often vintage-looking furniture.’

Related: This stylish bedroom makeover is entirely thanks to second-hand furniture

Last year, the BHF reused and recycled over 42,000 tonnes of furniture – included 185,000 sofas and 50,000 TVs. The power of second-hand is demonstrated perfectly here. This helped prevent 53,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Would you be prepared to buy second-hand to make your house a home – or would you survive without a sofa or bed in order to buy new?

*The research was conducted by Censuswide, on behalf of British Heart Foundation. Surveying 1,002 first time buyers and 1,000 renters in the United Kingdom between 07.08.2019 and 13.08.2019.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.