For international students arriving in Copenhagen, housing is the top priority.
But once the key to the anticipated dorm room or shared apartment has been collected, it is time to make the tiny bare space feel like home – a cosy refuge from the social whirlwind and new experiences that lie ahead.
For tips on how to decorate on a budget, the Copenhagen way, here is our top 5 list of places to scavenge, barter or buy cheap stuff:
5. Flea markets
Do your bit for charity and get a bargain! Every Saturday year-round there is a large indoor flea market owned by a charity called Svalerne (Emmaus in other countries). All of the proceeds go to help children in India and Bangladesh.
You can get furniture, cutlery, crockery, clothes, shoes and much more. They even sell electronic goods like stereos and cameras.
The warehouse is in the Northern part of the city on Nattergalevej 6 (see map here) and is open from 10-15 every Saturday.
If you don't find what you need at Svalerne, the best place in Copenhagen for antique shops with good second-hand furniture is Ravnsborggade in Nørrebro. Read more here.
4. Online bartering
When Danes want cheap stuff, they go to Den Blå Avis (dba.dk.)
Here, you find anything from a new apartment to a cheap sofa, or even a stuffed fox. Remember to barter and get the price down!
The site is in Danish, so get hold of your mentor, or have a dictionary on hand.
A Danish equivalent to the auction site Ebay is called QXL . This site is also in Danish.
3. When in Scandinavia, do flat-pack
What could be more Scandinavian than mass-produced, colourful flat-pack ready-to-assemble furniture?
Ikea is the place to go for the finishing touches of plaids, bedcovers, cushions and plants when you have found your funky retro furniture on the cheap elsewhere.
While you are there, don’t miss out on the famous IKEA meatballs, with jam and DKK 5 ice creams! (Swedish 'Köttbullar', pronounced 'SHIT-boola')
The nearest Ikea is in Gentofte (to the North of the city). You can get there by taking bus number 150S from Nørreport Station, towards Kokkedal Station. Get off at the stop called ‘Brogårdsvej’.
2. Stolen goods, the legal way
Make (other people’s) crime pay and snag a bargain at a police auction!
The Copenhagen police regularly hold auctions (via the company Topauktioner) to get rid of all the stolen and lost property that they receive and can’t reunite with its original owner.
The best-known auctions are the stolen bike auctions. The next auctions are being held at 15 and 29 January, and 19 February 2011. The address is Slotsherrensvej 113, 2720 Vanløse. They start at 8.30 in the morning, so get up early and drag a Dane along so you know how much you are paying!
At the same time, and on the same dates, there will also be stolen/lost goods auctions where you can buy pretty much anything. These are held in Tæbyvej 3 B, 2610 Rødovre.
If you would rather spend your cash on drinks and travel, you can scavenge good free furniture at one of the city’s recycling stations. There is often good quality furniture, lamps and even clothes.
One of the best places to start is Møllegade Genbrugsstation in Nørrebro.
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