How I Furnished My Entire Apartment for $600

When you graduate college and have to get your first real place to live, you are faced with the huge task of furnishing an apartment for the first time. Many people feel like they have to spend thousands of dollars furnishing an apartment. My wife and I were able to accomplish this huge feat for under $600. Here’s how we did it!

How I Furnished My Apartment:

furnish an apartmentYou may have heard it before, but I will say it again. Craigslist gave us the opportunity to find quality furniture and/or accessories for a great price. I must admit we were quite lucky with some of our ‘finds’. The key to success with craigslist is diligence and continual effort. Luckily, at the time when we were furnishing our apartment, I had a week before I started working at my new job. This allowed me to make multiple trips to various locations at all times of the day to accommodate the sellers (all the great deals had lots of competition).  Here are some of the gold nuggets that we found:

  • Dresser/Desk – $10; Our very first purchase was our best deal yet.  I saw an ad for a wooden dresser for $10. There wasn’t a picture posted on the online listing, but I decided to take the 15 minute drive to look at it. It was a nice, solid wood dresser that would cost at least $100-200 brand new. It did have a few scratches on the top, but for $10, you can’t ask for better. To my surprise, this seller also gave me a matching mirror and a desk that she didn’t want for no extra cost (She was unable to sell them at her garage sale the day before when it was raining).
  • Table w/ Chairs – $60: We didn’t have the biggest kitchen (and no dining room), so we were looking for a small rectangle table with four chairs. We missed a few great deals by a couple hours and had to settle for a nice table and chairs for $60.
  • Kitchen Island – $50: This is one of my favorite purchases. We bought a kitchen island from a young couple who had just purchased their own home and no longer needed a kitchen island. The kitchen island came with everything: stainless steel countertop, knife slots, and 2 shelves. This would have easily sold for $200 brand new.
  • Two Loveseats – $110; We ended up buying two separate loveseats. We had originally purchased a loveseat/sofa set for $150. This was quite the steal. The couple had decided to upgrade their furniture and we were left with the near-perfect condition of loveseat and sofa. It would have been the best deal of our craigslist purchases had our sofa fit through the front door of our apartment. When we returned with the sofa and loveseat, the sofa was about a foot too long to fit through the door. Oh, what a disappointment. To make a long story short, we were able to sell the sofa by itself for $125 ($25 less than the price of the pair) and then had to buy another loveseat for $85 before our moving van had to be returned.

Overall, we got a few more odds and ends to finish off our apartment. My wife’s parents generously donated an old full-sized bed to us, to save us from that expense and the worries of bed bugs if we were to buy a mattress used. While we did not have matching sets when we started out, we were able to get quality furniture for an affordable price.

The key to doing the same thing is starting to look now. If you are looking to get something in particular, you might as well watch the classified listings in your area for the next couple of weeks before buying new. It could save you thousands of dollars.

27 Responses to How I Furnished My Entire Apartment for $600

  1. Looks like you won on Craigslist. I am always amazed at what you can find second hand. When we got married we really wanted a big wood dining table and to our luck, we found one for 300. We were so happy since new ones in the store cost 2000.

  2. When I first moved into my apartment (out of college), I got 2 chairs at thrift stores for $25 each and a bed at IKEA for $50. IKEA items can be surprisingly expensive on Craigslist, but the flip side is that when you are ready to sell, they hold their value *really* well.

    • It’s true. When my wife and I moved to our second apartment, we upgraded to a matching set of ikea loveseats and we’re happy with them.

  3. My boyfriend and I wanted a huge island for our kitchen 6 foot by 3 foot but when we priced them they were super expensive. We found a desk in a neighbor’s garbage, and we painted and added a countertop all for under $125.

  4. Our entire apartment is furnished via craigslist too. I am very picky, so I had to wait for 6-8 months to collect all the pieces I wanted, but it worked out great.

    • Suba, that’s great to hear. I must admit that we got two bookshelves from Ikea, but the majority is from craigslist. We couldn’t wait 6 months to get bookshelves. 🙂

  5. […] 20′s Finances is a wealth of straight-up financial literacy, written by a man who apparently has great advice. He recently graduated from college and is now pursuing a master’s degree, is living in an expensive U.S. city with his wife, who is also pursuing a master’s – and all of this without debt. The best thing about his blog: weekly lists of 5 frugal tips like 5 Ways to Cut Costs (a ten-week series) and furnishing your apartment for $600. […]