Did you breathe a sigh of relief the moment you finally got yourself a home for the upcoming semesters? However, signing the lease is just the beginning of your life as a tenant. Now you need to quickly – and, if at all possible, cheaply – furnish your place to serve the needs of a university student.
If the first and cheapest way to get furnishings for your bedroom or kitchen that comes to your mind is visiting IKEA, you have successfully fallen victim to a sophisticated marketing campaign – but that is now beside the point. Even if it is in many ways one of the cheaper alternatives, there are other options in Brno that offer higher quality for a lower price. Added benefits are close proximity to the city centre and environmental friendliness. Among the drawbacks could be limited offer or varying quality. Now what are these options – besides buying particle board furniture in hypermarkets? Second-hand shops, antique shops, jumble sales, charity shops and flea markets.
If you are moving into a flat that has already served as student accommodation, the easiest way to furnish it is to buy the furnishings from the previous tenants. The turnover rate in Brno is high and students' needs are often very similar: everybody needs a desk, a chair, a bed, a wardrobe and some basic kitchen equipment. You can find second-hand furniture and appliances on social networking sites or specialized webs and they are often offered for free if you arrange the transport.
If these options do not work out or you want to find something more unique, charity shops are a very cheap option, too. The best-known charity shops in Brno are run by the Veronica Foundation and you can find them at Pekařská and Svážná streets as well as at Palackého street in Královo Pole. The League of Human Rights also runs a small shop called Šuplig. For textiles and clothes, try the shops of the Brno charity.
“Our shops sell everything with the exception of furniture and larger appliances. Students can find various types of tableware, tablecloths, curtains and bedclothes as well as pictures and cleaning and sports equipment," says Helena Továrková, the director of the Veronica Foundation and an MU alumnus. She points out that some items such as bedclothes are often donated as new in their original packaging, so there is no need to worry about their quality. You can get unique pieces for a few crowns and help a good cause at the same time.
And one more tip: every first Tuesday of the month from noon to 6 p.m., Veronica Foundation holds a sale at their Královo Pole store at Purkyňova street, where you can buy individual items for as little as 10 crowns.
Second-hand shops are especially good for furniture hunting. There are several of them at Cejl and Křenová streets. Some of the furniture might need a quick fix or some dusting, but you can also find valuable pieces with wonderful history. Connoisseurs can visit the antique shops at Nové sady or Veveří street. Until the end of the year there are also monthly flea markets in the Alfa arcade, which is in the very centre of Brno. You can find more information and dates at blesi-trhy-brno.cz.
However, there is an increasing number of both flea and exchange markets – just use an internet search engine or social networking sites to find them. And there is also one less recent, but still working method: ask more experienced students or those who come from Brno.