provided by WarmSleepy via flickrIf you are looking to furnish your first apartment, you may be wondering where the best place to buy your major items from. There are many great stores to choose from these days and it is hard to establish the best place. While I often suggest that craigslist is the best place to buy items because it ensures that you are not paying the mark-up price for a new item. There are many things that you can buy there that fit within a young person’s budget, but it does take time. Regardless of whether you want to rent or buy, if you are needing quality furniture in a pinch, Ikea might be a great alternative (and I’m not getting paid to say this).

Great Deals I have found at Ikea

Dishes – My wife and I bought two sets of dinnerware for cheap. I don’t remember the exact price, but it was around $24 for a set of 6. This included bowls as well as big and small plates. Because we don’t have a dishwasher, we purchased two sets because that allows us to do dishes less often (yes, that means there is a stack of dishes at some point during the week – don’t judge me).

Bookshelves – My wife and I love books! We have almost all of our books from college plus the other books that we have collected over the years. Some people may think we are book hoarders, but we have actually stopped buying books lately because we are using our public library. We don’t want to just get rid of our books, so we needed bookshelves. Have you ever had a cheap bookshelf that bends in the middle of the shelf? Yeah, we didn’t want that, so we had to go a little more expensive than the cheapest one available. We were able to find two nice bookshelves for $60 each (on sale).

Candles- Candles may not be a necessity or major item when it comes to furnishing an apartment, but it does add a little flavor to decorating (and no, I do not mean eating them). Buying candles are often put off because they are so expensive ($8 for a medium candle? I don’t think so!). Ikea has a great collection of candles at reasonable prices – you should check it out! Having lots of these candles were what was heating our house for four days during the October winter storm. Yep, that’s right. If you have enough of them lit, they can bring the room temperature up 1 or 2 degrees.

How Ikea Can Cost You

Before you rush off to the closest Ikea store, you should know that the store is designed to get you to buy lots of items. They literally build each store like a maze, so that you have to go through all of the departments before you can check out. I often feel like a herd of cattle going through the winding store because everyone is going the same direction. While it is designed to encourage splurge spending, if you can convince yourself that you are only going to buy the items that you need, it can be a great place find furnishings for your new place.

Where have you found great deals to furnish your home?