How to Furnish Your First Apartment

Bubba May
Written by Bubba May
Updated June 15, 2021
staged apartment living room
When picking out apartment furniture, consider your main living areas first and focus on storage solutions. (Photo by Jeremy Martinez)

Some tips to consider as you hunt for furniture and storage options for your new apartment.

As far as first apartments go, space limitations and budget are common considerations. Apartments that are overly furnished tend to look crowded and hectic, so the good news is that you don’t have to spend a bundle filling it out.

Start with few well-placed foundational pieces and follow up with smaller items to give your new apartment a sense of order. Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you’re furnishing your first apartment.

Stay on budget

Before you get started, determine what kind of budget you’re working with. This is going to help decide how to best distribute your investment.

For example, you may need to go the completely 100-percent secondhand and DIY route. Alternatively, you may have the means to invest in a couple of high-ticket department or furniture store items for long term, which you can compliment with items from your favorite big-box discount store.

Used furniture and DIY

There are plenty of nice items that you can secure for a fraction of the price at thrift and consignment stores. The strategy here is time and patience … and when you see something you want, get it before it’s gone forever!

Craigslist and garage sales are other ways to save major dough when furnishing your apartment. Combine this with DIY projects to really maximize the savings (Pinterest is your friend).

yard sale sign on metal furniture
Check garage sales and consignment shops for cheap furniture. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Organization to declutter

Keeping your home simple and free of items you don’t need is key when furnishing your first apartment. This means not purchasing the entire Martha Stewart collection for your kitchen, but rather only buying what you need.

Storage solutions for the kitchen, bathroom and surrounding your couch (think remote controls and magazines) will be helpful here. Let your decorative pieces perform double-duty by also serving as stylish accents.

Finishing touches

Finally, your apartment isn’t really yours until you put up some "uniquely you" wall art and a shower curtain that really gets your personality across.

The last step will be to go to a club savings retailer or dollar store to stock up on toiletries, cleaning supplies and other everyday items you’ll need.

Remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out at once when you’re furnishing your first apartment. Give yourself the time and space to grow into your new home and have fun with it!  

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