"Like everyone else, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct. If I saw something like clever coffee table sin the shape of a yin and yang, I had to have it. I would flip through catalogs and wonder, "What kind of dining set defines me as a person?" We used to read pornography. Now it was the Horchow Collection. I had it all. Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous peoples of wherever."- Fight Club
Us 20 somethings are definitely the Ikea generation. Cheap, functional, clean cut.... just don't fall into it as it will completely collapse under the weight of a toddler. So what is a young person to do when they need to outfit a house from scratch on the cheap... but they don't want to do the same in another year?
Well the one alternative are websites like craigslist.org or its UK version gumtree.com. If you are patient and have a good eye you can slowly collect the perfect housewares and furniture at less than half the price of even Ikea. Also an advantage is gained if you have your own transport and manpower to haul things away. A fabulous real wood dining set for £50... sure! Leather sofa and chair for £150... Score!
But somethings are just need to be bought new. Example one- a bed- mainly due to the cootie effect. Appliances also are worth the investment as repairs can be very costly. But everything else... gumtree here we come.... (except the 365 dish set, we will hit up Ikea for that... if you can find it in the maze)