Moving out of your parent’s home or upgrading from your dorm room is a daunting task. Not only do you have to worry about paying rent and utilities, but you’re also probably lacking a lot of the basic necessities you to need to start off. Don’t worry, though, because it is actually easy to furnish your first apartment with a small budget!
This guide will help you find the furniture, household essentials, and home decor you want and need to furnish your first apartment at a price that won’t break the bank. One thing to keep in mind before we begin: while I do mention several popular stores, thrift stores are your best friends when on a budget. You can sometimes find a great piece of furniture for the fraction of a price you would find it at popular department stores.
However, many people feel uncomfortable buying secondhand items, so let’s check out what there is to be found online and in stores! Let’s break it down by room.
Before You Shop
Before you even think about what you might want to buy, you need to sign up for Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates. With Rakuten, you can do all of your shopping conveniently online and also get cashback on your purchases! That’s right, you can actually make money while you shop.
Rakuten is the largest cashback site that partners with over 2,000 of biggest name brands, including Walmart, Macy’s, Amazon, and many other stores that you will shop for furniture. When you make a purchase using Rakuten, Rakuten receives a commission from the retailer. Rakuten, in turn, shares that commission with you. Your online shopping experience is exactly the same, only you’re earning money while you do it.
This might be the most important room in your apartment, because everyone’s gotta eat, amirite?
Utensils, Cookware, and Other Tools
It’s easy to forget the simple stuff when moving into a new place. This list on Family Share compiles all the essentials you will need in your first kitchen. By no means do you need to buy every item here!
Take into consideration your level of comfort in the kitchen: Are you constantly making home-cooked meals or are you on a steady diet of frozen veggie burgers? Forego some of items that require expertise in the kitchen (like a roaster, muffin tins, or pie pans).
Are you lacking counter space? There are few options that will help you utilize your small space to your best ability and make your apartment look adorable! Buying a kitchen island or a small kitchen cart will give you extra storage and counter space in the kitchen, and the best part is you can simply push it aside when you are done using it.
Check out this adorable kitchen cart from Ikea, which you can order on Amazon Prime. Not only will this provide extra storage for a smaller kitchen space, but it only costs less than $50! If you have a little more money to spend are looking for something a bit more substantial, this kitchen island from Amazon will only run you about $90 and is great for spaces needing additional storage.
Depending on whether you have a dining room or not (I didn’t when first moving out) you might want to buy a kitchen table. I was lucky enough to have a lot of counter space and storage space, so my roommate and I bought a kitchen table instead. It was most costly, because a table is a bigger piece of furniture than a cart. Plus, we had to buy chairs as well. But it’s all worth it to have somewhere to eat, right?
For those on a budget, I truly feel that stores like Target have the best selection for the lowest price over any department store. You can shop on Target through Rakuten and immediately take advantage of coupons to save even more money.
The Living Room
The most important thing to remember is that clutter and overpacking a room will make your space look more small and hectic, so try to keep in simple! One great way to do that is to make sure you are choosing furniture that will complement the size of your living room.
Amazon Prime offers an extensive array of selectional sofas that are great for any size room. Remember that before buying a sofa, you will want to measure your room to make sure it will fit perfectly! Check out the amazing transformation pictured above here in which a small, dark room into light-filled, cozy space. To emulate this, choose furniture that sits low to the ground. Doing this will make your ceilings seem higher,
Also, start with larger pieces and fill in around them. For example, buy your couch and area rug first and then shop for your coffee table and any additional pieces.
This sleek coffee table is a great way to still have some storage but not over clutter or overcrowd your living room. It also provides a great place to hide your remotes, coasters, magazines or any other small stuff that tends to pile up!
In addition, always remember that lighter colors will make the room appear to be bigger, and some well-placed art will make your apartment feel more homey.
Just because you have a small space doesn’t mean your bedroom can’t still be adorable. I’m obsessed with the layout of this small room which Traci featured on her blog, Beneath My Heart. Check out the full tutorial on her website to make your own! By keeping the furniture in this bedroom simple and using the shelves to create accent touches, this room does not feel as small.
If after adding shelving you’re still lacking storage space, you might want to invest in a storage bed. This piece of furniture will allow you to store more clothes and additional items without taking up more space in your room.
For example, the TARVA chest below comes in multiple colors. You can buy it in pine if you’re looking for a more natural look, or you have the option to stain or paint the chest of drawers yourself. This option will lower the price drastically; other similar painted dressers they stock are more than double the price.
Brighten It Up
If your bathroom is on the small side, why not try adding a fun shower curtain to brighten things up? Amazon Prime has an awesome selection of quirky shower curtains that will make your small space beautiful.
You can also add color to your bathroom with a fun bath mat. Pick one out that’s made with memory foam and you’ll feel like you’re in a high-end spa every day. Another way to add fun accents to your bathroom is by picking out some wall art. Find the best hand-made art selection on Etsy and support an artist in the process.
Although we want our bathroom to be cute, it’s important that we have ample storage space for all the products one needs to store. Thankfully, these bathroom hacks will show you how a little organization can go a long way in your apartment. For starters, buying a little shelf will provide you with additional storage and will just look pretty darn cute in your bathroom as well.
Another great idea way to organize when you furnish your first apartment is buying stacking bins for underneath your sink. Now you can simply throw your lipstick back in the appropriately marked bin rather than digging through a mountain of makeup to find that one elusive item.
When you furnish your first apartment, you might be feeling a mixture of emotions. You’re excited to take this step in your life, but it’s also stressful to be working with a small budget. Don’t forget to use Rakuten when shopping online to get cashback on your purchases to help out your budget.
Now you’re all set to furnish the first apartment you’re moving into! Know any great steals or life hacks that will make moving easier? Let us know in the comments below!