Posted in Practical - Living in Australia

Cost to fill a house in Melbourne

Although an empty house is a perfect playground, according to our kids, we do prefer to be able to sit down while eating. So when we arrived in an empty house five months ago we had to start looking for furniture, appliances and lots of other practical stuff.

When moving from Europe, from a complete house full of everything, you wonder how much can actually bring along with you. And if you don’t what it would cost to buy it.

We did not want to ship our furniture, mostly since it is all wooden furniture and that can be an issue with Australian Customs. So then you have only the little stuff left, lots of it, but still little stuff. We looked into groupage (only a part of a shipping container), but that is relatively expensive for just 2 or 3 m3. We are also planning to return to Europe again, so everything we move into Australia, we will then likely want to ship back again.

That is why we decided to buy everything ‘new’ that we could not take on the flight. Before making that decision we looked on the Ikea website to have an estimate of the costs that we would have buying everything, so we had an idea of our maximum costs.

Here is our experience of what it has really cost us.

Costs for furniture

After our first Ikea run, we were a bit shocked of how much money we had already spent just on a table and a computer chair, so we changed our strategy to searching on Gumtree. That turned out to be a good decision, since we did find a lot of good things there.

Furniture amount price bought at
Dining table + benches 1 $250 gumtree
coffee table 1 $50 gumtree
Ikea Klippan sofa’s 2 $65 gumtree
book shelf 1 $70 gumtree
tv cupboard 1 $50 gumtree
pillows benches 6 $60 asian store
Cubboard kids 2 $160 bunnings
dresser bedroom 1 $40 gumtree
queen size bed 1 $160 gumtree
matrass 3 $0 gumtree
chest of drawers 1 $90 ikea
computer chair 1 $79 ikea
computer desk 1 $106 ikea
total spent furniture   $1,180  

The sofa’s would have cost us $ 500 if we had bought them new. Now we only paid $ 65 and have two matching ones. The good part is that you do not even see or feel the difference.

Most bedrooms in Australia have built in robes in every bedroom, so that is one less expenditure when renting a house. We were lucky that the kids bedrooms also have built in beds, so we did not have to buy those either.

Costs for appliances

Rental houses come without a fridge, so that is one of the costs that you will have to account for.

Appliances amount price bought at
fridge 1 $200 gumtree
washing machine 1 $470 sunny electronics
tv, HD 32 inch 1 $250 jb hifi
stereo 1 $130 aldi
HP printer 1 $79 jb hifi
scanner -all in one 1 $20 big w
steam iron 1 $15 aldi
vaccuum 1 $75 K-markt
wate purefier 1 $40 target
water boiler 1 $39 K-markt
tosti maker 1 $7 aldi
toaster 1 $7 aldi
adaptor travel 2 $20 bunnings
total spent appliances $1,352

For a washing machine we found it too risky to buy one from a private person, so we went for the middle way. We found a store that would sell discounted electronics. There can be various reasons why the machine is cheaper, it was always posted on the price tag.

We decided to go for a better black and white printer and bought a separate scanner that can also do color prints, the latter one is cheap to buy, but has very expensive cartridges, which we do not need. We could have bought it in one machine, but that would have cost us a lot more.

Costs for kitchenware

For the kitchenware we bought everything new. But again, there are many ways to get good bargains.

Kitchenware amount price bought at
breakfast plates 4 $3 spotlight
diner plates 4 $5 spotlight
soup plates 4 $4 spotlight
bread box 1 $20 target
salad bowl 5 $6 aldi
glasses 4 $20 ikea
coffee cups 6 $6 target
small towels 4 $7 spotlight
bamboo spoons etc 1 $12 K-markt
plates, bowls 1 $29 Big W
knife set 1 $10 HS Glenn
bamboo boards 4 $40 ikea
extra deep plates 4 $3 spotlight
pasta spoon 1 $3 spotlight
scissors 4 $5 aldi
knife sharpener 1 $5 aldi
Cookware set 1 $59 ikea
coffee maker 1 $20 homeware store
extra set cutlery 1 $15 K-markt
total spent kitchenware

We are still buying things now. Like last weeks stones, to bake pizza on. And we are still missing things occasionally, like a mashed potato maker. But do we really need all that? No, but we just like food and cooking. So I guess this is an endless list for us.

There is a bargain shelve somewhere and since you need basically everything you are sure to find something that you can use.  My best bargain has been this knife set:

When I told Oliver I had saved $ 210 he got a bit scared on how much I had spent…but this really was a bargain, there was a scissor and a sharpener missing.

Good to know and tips

A rental house in Australia already has carpet on the floors, curtains or blinds for the windows and fixed lights, so these are all covered for, which saves on the costs. In the Netherlands this usually is not the case and in Germany the kitchen is not included in a (rental) house. The only things that are missing are a fridge, washing machine and all other things that you can fill up a house with.

  • check out special buys on the Aldi website, with offers every Wednesday and Saturday
  • home ware stores have special buys shelves
  • Spencer Outlet Centre at Southern Cross station has some homeware stores that are worth it
  • Clearance sales are where the real bargains can be found, we got lucky at Spotlight
  • There are Opportunity stores everywhere (second hand stores that sell for charity), honestly I have found better stuff in the stores below, but you might get lucky
  • Offers from Big W, K-Mart, Target, Two dollar stores, lots of Asian Budget stores

Multi tasking and thinking out of the box can also help. Two weeks ago I found this offer at Aldi for a camping dining set. This table now functions as our outdoor dining table and we can easily move it indoors to fill up that empty spot in our kitchen! And who knows, we might even take it along on holidays. Wait, is that what it was intended for?

This has been our experience. I am convinced that it can be done a lot cheaper, since a lot is offered for free on Gumtree. On the other hand it is also very easy to spend a lot more, when you buy everything new or if you do not have a lot of time to search for the bargains.

You can still go on a guided tour though our house, or read more of our tips and practical experiences of moving to Australia.

What is your experience? Where have you found your best bargains? I would love to hear it.


Mother, wife, explorer and loving the outdoors. We recently moved to Australia, so lots to explore here. We are keeping a blog about our experiences of moving and living on a different continent as a family.

8 thoughts on “Cost to fill a house in Melbourne

  1. I love that you list the stores you purchased items at. I’m moving to Sydney in two weeks and I’ve been wondering whether or not there will be stores that I am familiar with (like Target and Kmart). We too are planning to just bring what we can fit in our luggage and not ship anything. Were there any items you wished you had brought that you didn’t?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Megan, good luck with the many last things that are probably on your list. It will be a great adventure! We did not really miss any items, most of it is sold here, or can be replaced with something similar. We were happy however that we brought some extra sockets (so we have more holes to plug our European plugs in), you can hardly have too many of those. I did not think we would need that many, but we still do. I am looking forward to reading your stories!


  2. great post! Do you know there are also lots of OP shops (opportunity shops) where you can find lots of second hand stuff for really cheap prices! You can find anything from furniture to books, kitchen ware, toys etc… This is another super way of buying stuff! 🙂


  3. Hi one of my friends (lives in Mount Waverly) before the end of the month he will close his office and have at least a desk and I assume a chair or may be more to give away, I already send him an email to send me some pictures and a list,

    I know as well in the list it is an old metal file cabinet not in good condition for a house but me good to keep it in the garage to store some bits used for the car or garden?

    The office it is in Caulfield but we have a trailler and at the time of cleaning the office we can take the bits to your place,

    Let me know by email or can leave my phone but I do not like the number to be publish in the blog



    1. Hi Camilo, thanks for the reply and the offer. That is really kind! We did end up buying the desk and chair at Ikea as one of our first purchases when we arrived. We learned afterwards that there are other and better ways of finding your furniture. Our house is completely furnished now.


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