Bargain Decorating and Furniture Buying Tips

NINE STEPS TO CREDIT CRUNCH DECORATING.

Stylish ways to shop smart during the credit crunch.

1. SALE SHOPS
Check out your nearest HomeSense, the homeware sister to TKMaxx. Also investigate Trade Secrets and National Brands with lines from Laura Ashley, House of Fraser, John Lewis and M & S.

2. ONLINE OFFERS
Annoyed but intrigued by all those 20% off offers that keep being forwarded to your inbox? Sign up to vouchercodes.co.uk, and access them all from one manageable website. Also try secretsales.com – an online sale club with discounts of up to 80% – moneysavingexpert.com, and moneysupermarket.com.

3. USE SHOPBOTS
Price comparison sites sift through retail sites to find the cheapest – but use at least three – from kelkoo.co.uk, pricerunner.co.uk, pricegrabber.co.uk and shopping.com – as not all retailers have relationships with all of them. '

4. GET A STORECARD
… but do not use it. Many lure you in with a massive discount on your first purchase, which is great if you are furnishing a home. Take out the card, use the discount, access the privilege club, then pay the bill and cut the card up.

5. FREE AND EASY
Check out freecycle.org and pick up other people's unwanted items. Great if you want old furniture to customize.

6. BE CHEEKY
Many sales personnel will go to great lengths to land a sale so do not be afraid to ask for a discount. Or offer to pay in cash, which saves them on credit card commission.

7. FACTORY SHOPS AND OUTLETS
Some of our favorites include Arthur Price, the Fired Earth Outlet, Christopher Wray Lighting, OKA Discount Shop, Portmerion, Sanderson Clearance, Waterford Crystal, Wedgewood and Wesley Barrell. Go to their websites to join the mailing list of your favorites and you'll get prior notice about special sales and exclusive discounts.

8. OUTLET VILLAGES
With manufacturers increasingly producing merchandise specifically to sell through outlets, they no longer have that 'last-season's reject' vibe. One of the smartest is Bicester Village with the likes of Cath Kidston, the White Company, Bodum, Descamps, Molton Brown, Calvin Klein and Paul Smith at bargain prices. Also try York Designer Outlet, Cheshire Oaks, Ashford and Gunwharf Quays.

9. HIGH DESIGN ON THE HIGH STREET
Savvy shoppers will already know to head to Habitat, who have enlisted the talent of top names such as Paola Navone, David Adjaye, Daisy de Villneuve, Christian Lacroix and Celia Birtwell to add to their already impressive collection. Graham & Brown have produced wallpaper ranges with Basso and Brooke, Barbara Hulaniki and Marcel Wanders, whilst Debenhams have long had collaborations with a Matthew Williamson, Julien Macdonald and John Rocha. House of Fraser stock both Jaeger and Ghost bed linen and Orla Kiely's new collection for Heals launched last autumn. Designer style at high street prices – what's not to like?

Visit our decorating archive for more modern decorating ideas.

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