Furnishing with used items

Is it possible to get a nice home with limited budget and by only buying stuff on the secondhand marketplace Finn in Norway? “That’s not a problem,” says interior decorator Trond Ramsøskar.

VG Partner Studio challenged Trond Ramsøskar to decorate an entirely empty apartment with used furniture and interior details – within a budget of 1,000 Euros and with a time limit of merely two weeks. And he accepted.When all this was done, the owner of the apartment, Vegard Dokken, had saved two tons of greenhouse gas. This is the equivalent of four return trips Oslo – New York or driving 9 000 kilometers with a Volvo V70.

“To me, marketplaces like Finn are auction houses, flee markets, and wastebins. You can find anything there. If you just have enough time there’s no problem to decorate a home with used furniture,” says Trond Ramsøskar who owns the interior decorating firm Ramsøskar.
He thinks it’s easy to fill an apartment with either new or used products – the challenge is to create a home. A functional, stylish and personal home where you like to live. “To decorate with used products takes some sence for details, eyes for quality and also a talent to create a homogeneous style,” says Trond. “But the joy in reading the ads, fetch the furniture and finally place them in your own home is so much more fun then to only shop new things.”

Vegard Dokken sold all of his old furniture when he bought an apartment in Majorstua in Oslo. A new apartment with new furniture was the plan for the thirty year old, who works in an IT company. When we got in contact with him, he was renovating and was soon going on holiday. The next move was to fill the place up, but he didn’t have any concrete thoughts on what he wanted the apartment to look like.

“This place I’ve been planning to make into a small office, and over there is where you plug in the TV,” Vegard explains when showing us around, in what at the moment looks like a building site. He then leaves the key with us and ensures us that the apartment will be move-in ready in one week.
“I trust that you know what you’re doing, so you can do exactly what you want,” Vegard says before leaving.
Vegard is aware of that the limited budget, and the fact that the whole apartment will be decorated with used stuff, is a challenge.

While Vegard is away we spend many hours searching for furniture and interior decoration on Finn.no. We travel around to more than 20 sellers and we arrange transport – and use the service ”småjobber” on Finn to find people who help us put everything in place. With the exception of a few plants and a bed that Vegard already had ordered, the apartment is filled with used things. All that remains is to see if Vegard will like it.

Almost two weeks later we are meeting with an excited man in the staircase outside the apartment. He is uncertain of what is awaiting him behind the door. When walking into the apartment, the first thing he notices is the signal green sideboard. His eyes go to one piece of furniture to the other, but always back to the sideboard.

“This is beyond all expectations!,” he exclaims. And the he adds: “Now I understand how limited my horizon is when it comes to decorating. I would never have bought anything of this myself, but the result is unbelievable good, he says before pointing at the green sideboard adding: And I’m already used to that one. It’s extremely funny.” Trond is showing Vegard around, explaining his ideas and telling him about the chairs that probably were used already in the fifties or sixties, the yellow designer chair that is an eye catcher and that the sofa from Ikea for 500 NKR almost looks exclusive in combination with the other things. Vegard is obviously surprised – and truly satisfied.

Four good reasons to choose used products

Trond Ramsøskar has written a book on interior decoration and one chapter is about reuse. The main reason is that you contribute to a more sustainable development. But there are several other reasons:

  • It’s easier to find something unusual
  • Give old furniture a new life, by painting or renovating – then they will be unique for real
  • Find good bargains
  • Combine new things with old stuff


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Gard Steiro
Editor in chief, VG