A few weeks back I was at my friend’s wedding in Ohio. I was part of the wedding and got to spend a lot of time with one of my closest friends. There are very few things that are better in life than spending quality time with those closest to you. When we were talking about the upcoming changes for the married couple, I heard that they were investing in a nice bedroom set. They were well connected in the furniture business and were able to get a family discount on wholesale prices for a really nice set of matching dressers, but they still spent a good chunk of change.

furnishing an apartment

Thinking about how much they were spending on two dressers, I couldn’t help but think of all of the other things I could buy. I can’t help it – it’s part of who I am. If you remember, the topic is close to my heart because I was able to furnish our first apartment for $600. Then, my friend said something very interesting – they were looking at is an investment. They’d rather get a nice set of furniture now than go the cheap route and have to replace it multiple times over the next few decades. So, which route is better? Furnishing your apartment with quality, expensive furniture or going as cheap as possible via craigslist.

Two Approaches to Furnishing Your Apartment

While I imagine that there is a spectrum of different approaches to furnishing an apartment (in between these two options), it’s an interesting discussion to have. Is it better to invest in quality or go as cheap as possible and use the money elsewhere. While there may not be one right answer, I thought it would be an interesting conversation. Let’s start by examining the pros and cons of buying the high end furniture.

Pros of Buying Expensive, Quality Furniture

  • Less chance of having to replace nice furniture
  • You get nice furniture
  • You don’t spend lots of money on different pieces of furniture, upgrading slowly
  • You can take pride in having nice items
  • A better looking (and maybe more hospitable) home
  • Spend less time shopping for furniture over lifetime

Cons of Buying Expensive, Quality Furniture

  • Spending a lot of money per item
  • A chance of your furniture eventually becoming outdated
  • If something were to happen to them (either in a emergency or moving), the loss would be more devastating
  • If you refuse to buy cheap furniture, it might take a while to furnish your apartment completely

It’s hard to say whether buying expensive furniture has more pros or cons. On the one hand, it would be nice to have, but on the other hand, I can’t help but think of the functionality as the priority. In other words, if a drawer opens and holds clothes (and doesn’t look too ugly), isn’t that all that’s important? Let’s consider the pros and cons of buying cheaper furniture.

Pros of Buying Cheap Furniture

  • Spending a lot less per item
  • Much more options for furniture and easier to have matching furniture
  • Doesn’t matter as much if it breaks or is destroyed

Cons of Buying Cheap Furniture

  • Increased chance of furniture breaking or falling apart
  • May go through several sets of furniture
  • Spend more time shopping for furniture

Again, it seems to be difficult to choose without knowing the person that the furniture is for. If you are going to respect and take care of the furniture, it may be wise to invest in something nice that you don’t have to replace. But, if you are known for breaking things, it may be a smart move to go cheap, knowing that you will have to replace the furniture either way. If you are looking for answers to what I am finding to be an incredibly hard debate, consider these questions to help you decide:

  • Am I going to get sick of one set of furniture?
  • Do I want to buy new furniture every few years?
  • Will this quality furniture be outdated in 30 years?
  • Is it better for me to spend this money on more important things now (like debt, investing, car, etc.)?
  • Can I afford nice furniture?
  • Will I regret not getting quality furnishings?
  • Will it make my apartment more hospitable? Will anyone even care that I have nice furniture?
  • Will it be hard to re-sell if I get this or that?

While the questions could go on and on, the important thing to do is to consider all of your options. The way that you furnish your apartment could influence how you approach all of your financial decisions. If you overlook the importance of weighing all of your options, it could set you on course for ruining your finances. Be sure to consider all of the factors before jumping into something that could affect your finances for decades.