If you’ve just rented or purchased your first apartment, then first of all — congratulations on your big move.
Second of all, it’s normal that you don't feel comfortable immediately and might need some time to adjust to your new living space.
This is largely due to both a sense of unfamiliarity with your surroundings and a feeling of still being in a new place, rather than in your home.
The easiest way to get rid of this feeling of unease is simply to leave your mark on the place and buy some new furniture.
This even works if the apartment came fully furnished since you might not like the furniture, and instead of having it take up space in your apartment, you can instead make some money off of it on sites like Offerup or even your local thrift store.
While you might not have the funds to hire a team of interior designers to spruce the place up for you, there are plenty of ways that you can make your new apartment into a new home by yourself and without breaking the bank.
How to Get Started
There are only two rules that we recommend you follow to keep the spending to a minimum.
The first rule in how to furnish an apartment for cheap is going to be avoiding any major retailers and prioritizing second-hand stores for most of your purchases.
Most major furniture stores have an amazing selection on everything from dining tables to colorful toilet seats, but most of this selection will probably be out of your price range.
This is not to say that you won’t be able to afford it, but rather that the more you spend on a single item, the less you’ll have leftover for the rest of your apartment.
The second rule is not to buy any sort of purely decorative ornamentation for now.
A bit of flair can tie a room together and give it more of a personal touch, but for budgeting purposes, you should probably save that for after you acquire the more necessary items that we go over.
The bedroom is the easiest room to decorate in your home.
This is mostly due to the fact that you’re very unlikely to decide to entertain guests there, so the only people that are going to see it are you and your partner.
This means that you don’t have to do much in order to make it feel comfortable, and all you need are three crucial items - a bed, a dresser and a clothes rack.
When it comes to the bed, you’ll need to need to decide if you want to go for something affordable like the Zinus SmartBase Mattress Foundation or if you want to splurge a bit on something more luxurious like the Zinus Gerard Faux Leather Upholstered Platform Bed Frame.
And finally, you’ll need to choose a dresser. We recommend that you go for the incredibly economical 6-drawer Sorbus dresser or for the more aesthetically pleasing but pricier Mainstay 4-drawer dresser.
We recommend you get a dresser over a full wardrobe because they take up a lot less space and cost significantly less.
However, if you still want to get something like a wardrobe so that you can keep both your hanging and your folded clothes in the same place, then we recommend that you go for the Amazon hanging storage organizer rack.
Living Room Area
Regardless of whether you’ve got a simple studio apartment or a full-duplex to yourself, there are very few pieces of furniture that you actually need to tie any space together.
For your living room area, these are going to be a futon or couch, a coffee table and a TV stand.
We’ll simply assume that you’ll have a TV or monitor placed somewhere in the living room, because in the words of Joey Tribbiani - “If you don’t have a TV, then what’s all of your furniture going to be pointing towards?”.
You can easily find a TV stand of every shape and size on Amazon, and Craigslist is almost overflowing with people that want to sell you a coffee table for cheap. If you’re looking for suggestions, we highly recommend this triple-tiered TV stand and this double-tiered coffee table.
As for the couch/futon, there are plenty of choices on sites such as Overstock, and you might also find some cozy blankets and a few throw pillows as well.
The pillows aren’t strictly necessary, but they’re usually very cheap and can really tie a room together and make it seem less sparse.
Dining Room Area
If your living room and kitchen are connected, then you might not have space for a grandiose 6-person dining table, but you still might want to get a more narrow 4-person one.
There are plenty of options when it comes to narrow tables that can fit two chairs to each side, so depending on the exact size of your apartment, you have plenty of choices to select from.
These items are incredibly light, take up virtually no space, can easily be taken out and folded away, and cost virtually nothing in comparison to even a modestly priced dining table.
Of course, there is also the option of getting a dining table and a TV tray so that you can enjoy a meal in bed or on the couch as well.
A bookcase can be of great help when trying to furnish your first apartment.
One reason is that if you live in a small apartment and don’t really have a lot of storage space, you can use the bookcase to stack most of the items that you wouldn’t know where else to place.
Another reason is that IKEA has a wide selection of high-quality and affordable bookcases, meaning that you’ll have a wide selection of cheap furniture to choose from based on your preferences.
And finally, if you want to save even more money, you can get simple DIY shelving that you can place anywhere in your apartment to fulfill much the same function.
We would also say that the shelves can be used for books, but there are plenty of other methods to read without your book collection taking up shelf space.
Whenever people think of sprucing up their bathroom the first thing that always comes to mind is spending massive amounts of money and getting a full new bathtub-toilet-sink set.
In actuality, there are plenty of little things that you can do to completely change your bathroom's appearance without having to burn a hole in your savings.
The first thing that you can do is get a shower curtain. This item does have the practical purpose of keeping the water from splashing everywhere when you’re showering, but it also adds a bit of aesthetic value to the toilet as well. If you don’t know where to start, let us give you some recommendations - we absolutely love the colorful Hanhaoki Monet Irises and the absolutely majestic Purple Nebula.
If you go on Amazon, you’ll easily find shower curtains that come with depictions of various sceneries, items, colors, and so on. Buying a playful curtain with something you like on it might just bring a smile to your face every morning when you’re preparing for the day.
Speaking of novelty items, you can also buy a few interesting towels as well. Any local Walmart is sure to have an entire section dedicated to just this item, and as long as you’re there, you can also buy a new towel rack to place them on as well.
What’s the Main Takeaway?
The one thing that we want you to get out of our little guide on how to furnish an apartment for cheap is that you don’t need to entirely renovate or replace everything from the floorboards to the ceiling light fixtures.
There are plenty of little things that you can do to change the look of your new apartment entirely and there are plenty of sites and shops where you can manage to find reasonably affordable furniture as well.
There’s no need to rush. Check more than one place, look around for something you genuinely like, take your time when selecting what you’ll get for your place and we give you our word that you’ll feel right at home in no time.
You might also be interested in: 12 Essentials for a Cozy Apartment [That You Can Get on Amazon]