Moving into your first apartment is an exciting step. It can also be an expensive one. We’ve put together a cheat sheet on how to furnish your first apartment for $1,000 or less.

While you need to find a place that fits your needs, you also need to find a place that you can afford. Not only that, but you’ll also likely have to come up with first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, a pet deposit (if you have a pet), and additional funds to get your utilities turned on. And If you can’t move all of your stuff yourself—or recruit friends or family to help you—you’ll need to hire movers (hint, hint…call Bellhops).

Once you’ve moved in and unpacked, you’ll then need to figure out how you’re going to afford furniture for your new place. While this can certainly be a challenge, it’s not impossible. The trick to how to furnish your first apartment for $1,000 (or less) is focuses on just the essential items like your dresser, couch, bed, and kitchen table.

Here’s how:

Dresser

renovated dresser to help furnish your first apartment

While you may be tempted to buy a really gorgeous dresser or an entire bedroom set in a furniture or department store, don’t. Instead, shop around at your local discount furniture stores, secondhand stores (plenty of people donate good stuff that simply didn’t meet their redesign needs), consignment shops, boutiques, flea markets, or on Craigslist. Chances are you’ll find a solid, heavily discounted piece that meets your needs and matches your taste.

Couch

Finding a decent, inexpensive couch to furnish your first apartment can be a little more tricky. First, ask around to see if any friends or family has one they’d be willing to part with. If that doesn’t work, try some of the same discount or secondhand stores that visited in search of a dresser. You might also find a good deal on a good couch on Craigslist or on one of your local Facebook yard sale groups. If you still can’t find a good sofa—of if your place is too small for one—you might want to consider shopping for a pair of love seats instead.

Bed

You’ll spend more of your time in bed than anywhere else, so a new mattress should account for the biggest chunk of your budget. Katherine from MyFirstApartment.com furnished her entire apartment for $1,000, and she recommends picking up a mattress and bed frame at IKEA for roughly $399. (There are a few to choose from, and she loves hers.) If you don’t have an IKEA in your area, or don’t want to pay for the shipping to order from IKEA online, shop your local mattress stores. They are always running sales—especially on holidays—and you can often negotiate to get the best possible price.

Kitchen Table and Chairs

renovated kitchen table and chairs to help furnish your first apartment

If you look hard enough, you can find a small kitchen (or dining room) table and chairs for a little bit more than you paid for your dresser. Browse at all the same places you shopped for a dresser, and also be sure to look online, as you might find a really cool set that someone has refinished or painted for a fraction of what you’d pay for it in a trendy local boutique or consignment shop. 

Curtains and Blinds

Trust us: You are going to want curtains and/or blinds, and when it comes to shopping for them, IKEA (again) and Bed, Bath, and Beyond are great choices. Both places will have all the rods and hardware you need, and BB&B has an enormous selection of curtains and blinds. BB&B will also regularly send you 20%-off coupons if you fill out their online offer form.

Once you’ve found your essential pieces, it’s time to move on to all the fun, decorative stuff like rugs, lamps, coffee tables, bookshelves, and art. Pro tip for rug hunting: hit up a carpet store and ask if they sell remnants (the bounded leftovers from carpet installations). You can often find all these items for pennies on the dollar, and since you don’t really need these items right away, you can take your time—and have fun—looking for pieces that’ll be just the right fit for your new place. The real fun is learning how to furnish your first apartment with all the mix-matched pieces you’ll find along the way.

Happy shopping and thanks for reading!


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