Bougie* on a budget: dupes for popular homewares
Last Updated: 25/03/2022
*Bougie – High-class, fancy. Someone who prefers the finer things in life.
You’ve moved into your new home and you want it to look perfect. But after the expense of moving, you might not have much money left for decking it out how you’d really like to.
That can be especially true if you’ve been pursuing magazines and social media sites for your inspiration: the likes of Pinterest and Instagram often feature nice but pricier brands like West Elm, Maison Du Monde, Swoon Editions, and John Lewis. But these might not be an option, especially if you’re a first-time buyer and have a whole house to furnish.
Thankfully, there are tonnes of cheaper alternatives for trendy new furniture or homewares. By choosing dupes over originals, you can achieve the look and feel you want for your home, while still sticking to a budget.
- Bargain homeware dupes
- Budget friendly places to buy
- Buy used
If something is in-trend, it’s almost a dead cert that high street stores will start producing their own versions, at a much better price.
Take the poltronova ultrofragola mirror that was made popular by celebrity mirror-selfies, but cost a jaw-dropping £7,000. Thankfully, loads of alternatives popped up, such as these on Etsy for about £150.
Sometimes you’re spoilt for choice for chic alternatives. If you’re imagining yourself enveloped in this dusty pink velvet chair from Oliver Bonas, but don’t fancy the £495 price tag, then why not try Aldi’s version for £110, with its golden legs. Dunelm has another version for £104 and Homebase has one on offer at £60.
Your eye may have been drawn to West Elm’s mid-century aesthetic. One of West Elm’s best-loved pieces are its ladder style shelves, such as this one at £499. But Dunelm has a much cheaper version for £119. Or how about actual mid-century? Facebook Marketplace and second-hand fairs are bursting with G Plan and Nathan furniture that people often get rid of without knowing the value. Go for the originals and save money while shopping more sustainably.
Or if you’re after a more industrial-style storage solution, then this bookcase from Made.com is oozing with style. It has a £495 price tag to boot. Or for precisely one fifth of the price, £99, you could pick up this alternative from Ikea.
If you’re lucky enough to move into a home boasting some decent outside space, then you’ll certainly want somewhere to sit. One particularly luxurious option is a corner sofa set, such as this one from Moda. But starting at £2,295, this would be out of reach for most people. Again, high street stores to the rescue. Laura James has a 4 seater corner sofa set with LED cantilever parasol and base on sale at £699, while Homebase has its own version at £295 and Aldi has one at £299.
These are just a few examples to whet your appetite: from lamps to mirrors, rugs to plant pots, if you fall in love with a piece you see online or in an upmarket store, it’s always worth shopping around to see what alternatives are on offer.
All prices quoted are correct at time of publish.
Velvet cocktail chair dupe from Dunelm
You’ll have noticed a few store names pop up frequently when it comes to chic dupes: Dunelm and Aldi are certainty among them. Other good options for to fill your home on a budget include:
- Asda Home
- The Range
- HomeSense (part of the TK Maxx group, great for big discounts on furniture with minor flaws)
And plenty more! Also, mid-range options include H&M Home and Zara Home, which are great for accessories like vases and candles and dupes for more expensive brands.
Even if you’re on a tight budget though, still check out the more upmarket stores. They can be a great source of inspiration and starting point before you go off bargain hunting. Think the likes of West Elm, Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie or Maison Du Monde.
Remember too, when choosing new items for your home, to prioritise what's most important to you – if you have young kids or dogs, a fancy sofa might not be a high priority whereas a sturdy dining table could be. Or you might want to splurge on a sofa and cut back on more affordable accessories like mirrors and lamps.
The great thing about furniture and homewares is that they often age well - or can be quickly updated and refreshed to match your taste. Also, trends go in cycles: today’s hot pieces may have been popular in another decade, like the 70s, so you can pick up used pieces that are exactly right.
That’s a long-winded way of saying, consider buying used! By shopping second hand, you’ll get the most for your money, while getting the satisfaction of knowing you’re reducing waste and furnishing. Your options include:
- Facebook marketplace
- Ebay – where you can sometimes find barely used second hand versions
- Charity outlets, such as British Heart Foundation
- Lots of tips and recycling centres across the UK have second hand centres for furniture they’ve salvaged
So, get shopping, your home is going to look fabulous!