How to Furnish Your Apartment for Cheap

Furnish apartment for cheapOne of the most common places that people overspend in their budget, in addition to buying food or groceries, is in home furnishings. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most expensive areas for people. Furniture and major appliances are expensive. I have been considering upgrading our 20 inch TV for about a month or so, but I just can’t bring myself to buy a $250-300 TV. That is money I could use elsewhere, like contributing it to my Roth IRA.

If you are constantly upgrading your furniture, or perhaps getting ready for a big move, it might be time to investigate how to furnish your apartment for cheap. If you haven’y read my popular article about furnishing my first apartment for $600 yet, you should – it’s a great example of how to be creative with little money to spend.

Why Saving Money on Furnishings is Important

Beyond the general rule that saving money is good for your budget, cutting your expenses when it comes to furnishing your apartment or home is an important process for any young adult. Young Adults will often face this task at a pivotal time in their life. Whether it is graduating from college or moving for a new job. The simple fact is that you are already spending a lot of money in a short period of time. Adding on unnecessary financial stress during this hectic time could push you over the edge.

On top of that, it is always a good practice to buy quality products. As I recently discussed in my article on why cars are destroying our society, buying new is not always the best option. In fact, this common belief that new is better is not always the case and often results in over-priced purchases. Many pieces of furniture maintain their quality despite many years of use. For example, a dresser may get used day after day, but there are rarely major signs of wear. Why pay more for new furnishings when it isn’t necessary? With furnishings ranking one of the most expensive costs of moving, it only makes sense to find cheap alternatives.

Ways to Furnish Your Apartment for Cheap

If you are wanting to furnish your apartment for cheap, there are many ways that you can accomplish it without sacrificing quality.

Buy Used: My wife and I took advantage of this when we were furnishing our first apartment. It’s hard to know what you are going to get, but you can often find really good stuff. The primary reason is that there are lots of people who upgrade their furniture for no other reason than a change of scenery – or maybe they are changing the color scheme in their house and have to get rid of the conflicting colors. Either way, it is a great way to take advantage of others’ financial carelessness.

Cheap Furniture Stores: Another great alternative that decreases the time investment is finding a cheap furniture store like Ikea to furnish your apartment. Recently, when my wife and I chose to upgrade our desk, we got one from Ikea. It not only matched the rest of our furniture, but was fairly affordable. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest desk we could find (because we already had that – free), but that’s the cost of being organized.

Build it Yourself: I have a friend who has recently taken an interest in building his own furniture. He found instructions on how to build a kitchen island from scratch. He bought all of the wood, cut it according to specifications, stained, painted, screwed, nailed and a couple weekends later he had a great looking kitchen island. This not only saved him money, but helped him find a new hobby. It may have taken longer to do it, but when you like it, why not spend more time to save a few bucks?

Furnishing your house or apartment for cheap is about being creative and finding the best option for you. There are going to be certain things that you don’t want to buy used, but that doesn’t mean your frugal options are gone.

What do you do to save money on major furnishings or appliances?

13 Responses to How to Furnish Your Apartment for Cheap

  1. This is how I roll. I went cheap when I furnished my first “on-my-own” apartment, which I still live in 5 years later. I did the hand-me-downs, the Ikea and the garage sale strategy. I actually didn’t have any other way to go since I didn’t have any money. I guess I could have used credit or credit cards but that has always seemed dumb to me. Today, after 5 years, I still enjoy the same cheap furniture and I plan on continuing to enjoy it for years to come until I’m ready to make my next move.

  2. A buddy of mine got a bunch of scratch and dent furniture from the local store for about 50% off. Most of it you can’t even really tell there is an issue. I’ve been holding off on a new couch, mainly because I am getting more comfortable not caring that it looks a bit shabby.

  3. Christa says:

    We loved, loved, loved Ikea in our twenties. Our apartment was small and we owned a ton of hand-me-down furniture, so we didn’t need much. What we did buy ended up costing $1,000 over the course of a few years. Now that we own a home, I like to paint used furniture whenever we need a new piece — cheap and a fun hobby!

  4. Modest Money says:

    Personally I’ve become anti-Ikea over the years. Anything I buy from there just ends up being low quality and doesn’t stand the test of time. I would’ve been much better off finding that stuff used on craigslist made from actual wood. Sometimes it is just not worth going with the cheapest option.

  5. Ikea was my place to go in college. Cheap things but they hold up nicely.

  6. Ikea is not cheaper in the long run. You could spend double and make it last 10x as long (or more) buying REAL stuff.

  7. I wish Pinterest was around when I was furnishing my apartment. Pinterest has some amazing ideas and step-by-step tutorials on how to furnish and accessorize your place.

  8. All of my furniture has either been in the family longer than I have (the desk I’m sitting at right now was my father’s in high school, and I’m using a dresser that was my grandparents wedding present) or came from 1)the free section of Craigslist, 2)Freecycle, or 3)one of the many thrift stores in town.

  9. Jai Catalano says:

    Did I tell you the millionaire story? I was watching 20/20 and they interviewed 4 families. Each one of them bought used furniture and spent less than 100 on a couch. WHAT!!! Where have I been for all of these years?

  10. IKEA and I are best friends to this day. I know most people have an issue with the quality, but I’ve never had an issue with it.

  11. When my wife and I got our first apartment pretty much everything was a hand-me-down from other family members or bought from Craig’s List or from an estate sale. The only way to go!

  12. [...] 20s Finances presents How to Furnish Your Apartment for Cheap. [...]

  13. Hubby and I definitely used Ikea for our stuff, and hand me downs from our family. Target also has some nice stuff like futons and decor. I’ll definitely be using Craigslist soon too.

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