Furniture frenzy: How Aussies are splurging on home renovations this year

By Katherine O'Chee ·

Chances are we’ve all picked up a new hobby during the pandemic, whether it’s sewing or baking. For a big portion of Australians though, their newest obsession is with home improvement projects. 

New research from retailer Amart Furniture found over a third of Aussies used the extra time spent indoors to update and restyle their homes. But rather than knocking down parts of the living room or bedroom for large-scale renovations, 58% of respondents said they opted to buy new furniture instead. 

In fact, furniture sales have been steadily increasing since the start of COVID-19. Couches (30%), chairs (28%), coffee tables (28%), desks (27%), and mattresses (24%) top the list as the five most popular items Australians purchased over this period, according to Amart Furniture. 

“So many of us can relate to making changes to the way we live in our homes at the moment, whether that’s creating a new office space from scratch or turning our living rooms into makeshift restaurants, cinemas and gyms,” Amart Furniture’s general manager of buying, Steve Norman said.

How much will furnishing my home cost me?

If you’re considering a home renovation project of your own, the big question is often around cost: how can you add value and comfort to your home without breaking the bank? Is upgrading your furniture really an affordable option?

Of course, the answer comes down to factors like which pieces of furniture you’re looking to replace and from where you’re purchasing them. For instance, with a three-seater couch, a quick Google search reveals you could be paying any amount from under $500 up to the thousands, depending on the quality, design and brand.

But to show you how the costs can add up, we’ll give you a scenario based on estimates. Let’s say Sam is living in a two-bedroom house with a backyard and wants to redecorate a number of his rooms with new furniture. He’s written a checklist of the items he wants to revamp, which includes the following.

Living room furniture: $890

  • Three-seater couch - $700
  • Coffee table - $130
  • Side table - $60

Home office furniture: $320

  • Desk - $165
  • Office chair - $95
  • Bookcase - $60

Bedroom furniture: $1,580

  • Queen-sized bed frame - $650
  • Mattress - $880
  • Nightstand - $50

Dining room furniture: $330

  • Dining table and chair set - $330

Outdoor furniture: $280

  • Outdoor table and chair set - $280

TOTAL BUDGET: $3,400

While you might start off with spending a few hundred dollars here and there, remember that for a more holistic furniture makeover, your budget will likely need to be in the thousands. In Sam’s case, he could be forking out $3,400 to acquire all the furniture he’s planning to get.

Money-saving tips for your next renovation

Ultimately, renovating is just another way of saying ‘renewing’, and there are many ways to do this. Here are a few tips:

  • Prioritise needs over wants: See yourself working at home in the foreseeable future? Then it goes without saying that you’re going to need that office desk more than a brand new coffee table. Once you’ve put together your furniture wishlist (and discovered you might run over budget!), an easy way to cut down on costs is to go through that list a second time and cross off the least essential items.
  • Try rearranging first: Before cracking open your wallet, see if moving things around will help create a more comfortable living space - you can always move it back if you don’t like it! For instance, pulling your furniture a few centimetres away from your walls can actually make the room feel more spacious. The trick to rearranging is to find a focal point in a room (e.g. a large window, TV, bed) and then position your lamps, tables, pillows, artworks and other decor to bring out that feature.
  • Pick pre-loved: Online sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are a goldmine for secondhand furniture, which for all the bargain hunters out there, usually means significant discounts. If you aren’t too fussed about a small chip or a minor scratch, you should be able to find sofas or dining tables made from quality material sold for far less than their original retail prices. Just beware of any scams - make sure your seller is legitimate by checking their profile; avoid paying for the item in advance if you’re meeting up; or if you’re making the transaction online, use reputable payment methods like PayPal or Facebook Checkout.
  • Go for cheap fixes: As amazing as the results on The Block might look, not all transformative renovations require major changes. In fact, brightening up your home could be as simple as DIY projects like painting your walls, removing stains from your bathroom sink, or replacing the lights in your dining room.

For more tips and ideas, see our room by room guide on how to renovate for less

Or if you’re looking to fund a bigger project beyond your savings bundle, check out a few competitive renovation loans below. You can weigh up even more options over at our personal loans comparison hub.

Compare renovation loans - last updated January 23, 2021

Search promoted personal loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure.
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