First time apartment hunting can be a fun, yet slightly intimidating, time. You’ll quickly learn that a flexible second bedroom is big enough to fit only your cat. But unless you’ve waited long enough to afford a luxuriously big apartment, you’re going to be living in a place that’s rather small. A first apartment isn’t going to be as well decorated as your parents’ home, but there are numerous ways to save space and money without completely sacrificing style.
Furniture should be focused on first before you worry about small accessories and nick-knacks. Bedding, dressers, and dining and living room furniture are the most important. Before you begin purchasing furniture, ask friends and relatives if they have anything they’d like to “donate” to your home. It always seems that someone you know is looking to get rid older furniture. With you out of the house, your parents will probably refurnish their own home and would be happy to give you some hand-me-downs.
Next look to garage sales, the internet, and vintage furniture stores. Most will be happy to sell you their old furniture at a very cheap rate. Just remember to properly inspect everything you purchase; you don’t want an item that’s been a bit “overused.” When you shop at vintage stores, you can easily find some unique repurposed furniture that will give your apartment charm and character. What was once damaged and boring can have new life with a fresh coat of paint or some new upholstery. Learning how to repurpose furniture is also another way to save. One man’s old computer desk can now be your kitchen table at a fraction of the cost.
Avoid big name department stores while you’re at it. They can easily overcharge you. Some online retailers might even offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money, but sometimes it is best to visit a furniture showroom so you can test out the furniture before buying. Also look for items that are multifunctional. A pull-out couch can serve as a guest bed. A storage ottoman can house your DVDs and even turn into a coffee table.
When you’re finally ready to add some decor items, get in touch with your inner Martha Stewart. If anyone is good at repurposing random items, it’s her. But of course there are plenty of online resources to find new uses for your decor. It’s easy to turn everyday household items into something a little more festive and eye catching.
With a little creativity, you can be a savvy shopper. Your first apartment won’t look like a palace, but it can still house beautiful, unique furniture that fits your budget.