The art of bargains

I don’t know about you, but when we moved to Eindhoven we had an empty apartment with nice white curtains, functioning kitchen and a wooden floor. Everything else was our responsibility.

Of course everyone who has experienced at least once renting an apartment in the Netherlands, knows the story about houses that are empty. And by empty I mean you also need to bring your own floor. Obviously when you leave, you need to take your floor back; no one wants your used floor in their house. Joking aside, having an empty apartment means you have to buy all the furniture you need. We, just like a normal young couple, went straight to IKEA. We bought our huge bed, closet (last time I will ever buy one from IKEA), couch, table, chairs…well you can imagine. Almost everything you need in a new house.

After my awful experience of putting all the furniture together, which in the end luckily looked very good, I decided we still missed a lot of details. We did have all the necessary furniture but we didn’t have all the small things that make a house HOME. Since IND was still in doubt whether I am worthy of working in their country or not, I was on the waiting list regarding my working permit. So while I was waiting, I decided to do some research for vintage/second hand shops that might have what my house needed – some warmth. Yes, we have a lot of black furniture. Needless to say that I was happily surprised when I found out that right across my apartment there’s the Emmaus Those of you who know it – very good – those of you who don’t – it’s time you should. You can find all household items there.

The first time I went, I was in shock because we could have bought so many things from there which would have cost way less than the price paid in IKEA. So, my advice for anyone moving to a new place and needing some furniture, please check EMMAUS first…you never know what you could find at a cheap price. I do have to confess that I am a geek when it comes to vintage/old/antique stuff so this might not be a solution for an ultra-modern, PlayStation lover bachelor. Surprisingly enough, even my boyfriend (he was the one who wanted black furniture) said we should have checked this place first, instead of rushing to IKEA the second day we rented our apartment. So, guys, I win. After checking this awesome shop, which was the foster father of my small wooden cupboard, a vintage vase, 2 black gorgeous belts (I know, unrelated but they are really cool and I paid 50 cents) and some other decorative items that are now sprawled around my house, I decided I needed to upgrade. So I did some intense internet research and found ‘Het Goed’. After that I became truly happy. Het Goed is the place where you can really find everything you require. All you need is to be a little creative and of course, accept the fact that they are indeed second hand goods. When I got there the first time, and the second, and the third it was like Charlie at the chocolate factory minus Willy Wonka himself. Don’t get me wrong, I like all the new shiny things just as everyone else, but there is something attractive about old stuff that makes them irresistible. Last time I went there, it was very hard for me not to buy an old typing machine, which was like 6 or 7 euro, but I had no place at all in my apartment. Every visit was an hour’s long visit, just looking and touching old objects and imagining they would look great in my 2 floor imaginary mansion. I bought from Het Goed all the frames for my pictures (the ones I wanted from Blokker were pretty expensive, so I found better solutions for only 5 euro), some cute colourful unique espresso cups, a marble chess board that I use as support for 2 whisky glasses, 3 old record discs that I put on my kitchen wall (who needs paintings right?) and a dolphin necklace. And there are many more things I will definitely buy in the future.

A couple of weeks ago I met a nice couple (he is Italian and she is German) who bought most of their stuff from similar places and their house really looks amazing, cool and not ordinary at all. They also told me to check out this place which I did. It is another option just like the ones mentioned above. Moreover, if you are into vintage clothing, there is this place I recently found called Inu4Vintage So I’d like to recommend these places for young people or students who need to buy stuff at an affordable price, for those interested in vintage/old objects that could change the inside of a house, for those of you who feel creative and find different use for various objects (like the discs I used as paintings or the vintage video camera I saw at Het Goed that would be a great decorative idea for a fire place), in all, for those who like to dress up their house and don’t want to spend too much money in doing so.Do you know other similar places that our readers could check out for themselves?

Elena Axinia

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