Nice, shiny new things is what you want when it comes to electronic equipment, but some things improve with age and develop a lived-in-loved sheen of their own. And furniture comes in both categories. Ikea fresh, new and disposable which has its place, antiques which you buy to keep forever, and between them, the best of both worlds: second hand furniture. Yesterday's quality purchase, tomorrow's valuable antique, and you get it in the middle when it's at its most affordable.
Once you've made the decision to live amongst pre-loved things the news is bright for you if your home is in London. People move in and out of houses and flats in the capital ALL the time there's probably a statistic somewhere about a person moving every hour of the day, or maybe even two people so there are loads of quality buys out there, it's just a matter of finding your own furnishings amongst them.
One of the best places to look for second hand furniture in London is online. Gumtree, Preloved and ebay provide an almost endless source of treasures people are parting with. The problem with buying online is that you need to have faith in the photos you see, there's not always a guarantee and there's a possibility that you're going to have to traipse across town to pick things up as there's no delivery service.
If you prefer to purchase sight seen then Past Caring is a local treasure trove, with wares piled out onto the street (on Essex Road N1). The secret to this haven of cool coffee tables, bright, retro, plastic dining tables and chairs and fantastic 60s glassware with crazy patterns so space age chic is to pop in on Tuesdays. They get their new stock delivery on Mondays so they have the freshest stock Tuesdays. 76 Essex Road, London N1 8LT
There are lots of stores that have friends in trucky places, so if your priority is getting things home easily, and you're living north London way try Aladdins Furniture, who have second hand bordering into antique and will include delivery in the price if requested. 1 Hazellville Road, Hornsey, London, N19 3LW
There's even a way to do something good for your fellow man while furnishing your home, with many charities collecting and reselling. The Red Cross and the British Heart Foundation both have a couple of different furniture and electric shop fronts around town when you'll be able to find washers and fridges as well as furniture.
If you're looking for something special to keep forever, then London has hundreds of antique stores. Some of the best places to peruse because of their eclectic and varied collections provided by a number of different sellers contributing their wares are Alfie's Antiques Market near Marylebone station, The Old Cinema Store in Chiswick and the Tower Bridge Antiques Market.
And if you like to do your furniture shopping on a Sunday morning, then Greenwich Markets, Camden, or Camden Passage in Angel might be more your thing.