Moving into your first apartment is really exciting! You’re finally on your own, with a place of your own… and you’re scared to death. Your life’s journey as an adult is just beginning, which means you probably have little in the way of furnishings for your new apartment and little in your budget to fix that.
Furniture is expensive but you want your apartment to be comfortable and stylish, and want to be able to have friends over. Don’t sweat it, you can have all these things and still have some money left.
1. Take Your Time
In order for your home to look pulled together rather than like a jumble of used furniture, you need to have a plan. Think about the styles you like and the ones you dislike. Do you like a clean, modern look or are you more into country chic?
Afterwards, focus on colors. Do you prefer whites and neutrals or do you prefer bright, bold colors? Knowing the styles and colors you want to use is the first step in decorating, so that the apartment will actually feel yours.
You’ll need some essentials right away and your bed is the most important. Most household items you can buy used, but it’s best to buy a new bed. Don’t skimp on quality, buy the best bed you can afford. You’ll need cookware, glassware, dinnerware, and utensils. You’ll also need some seating, so if you find a sofa that’s ideal, you’re in luck. Otherwise, chairs and a futon can work in the interim.
Guests may bring some items if you have a housewarming party, so don’t go on a huge shopping spree before it.
2. Love at Second Sight
If your parents, family, friends, or neighbors have used furniture items that they’re willing to donate, don’t be shy. Your parents’ friends probably have good quality furniture that you can modify to suit your décor. An eclectic assortment can be tied together by the use of paint and fabric so that your apartment has a cohesive look. Painting fabric is popular and can completely transform the look of a sofa or chair that’s seen better days.
Yard sales often sell good quality items for pennies on the dollar, or even less; sometimes, you can get stuff for free. Craigslist is another source for used furniture low prices. Thrift stores are good places to find sheets, blankets, bedspreads, afghans, and other linens at very reasonable prices but make sure you wash them before use. Be sure to select items that you can easily take with you when you move to your next home.
Many DIYers use pallet wood for outdoor furniture, shelving, coffee tables, and a variety of other projects. Some pallets are made of oak and can yield some very attractive items. Curtains and drapes can carry quite a hefty price tag, especially if you have large or oddly sized windows. Canvas tarps, painter’s drop cloths, flat bed sheets, and thin quilts can make excellent window coverings at next to no cost.
Drapery rods and curtain rods for large windows can break the bank unless you’re innovative. Copper is a popular finish right now. Metal plumbing pipes, flanges, and elbows can be spray painted to look like copper, and can add an upscale look to your windows. Be creative and work with what you have.
3. Keep It Simple
Keeping your walls a neutral color allows you to change your color scheme by accessorizing differently. It’s easy to change the accessories so as to fit every style, if your taste or the trends change. Toss pillows can be changed by changing the cover and many covers don’t need sewing or zippers. Coordinating scarves or valances can be added to the draperies, add a few bouquets of flowers or some plants, a few different throw rugs, and you have a completely different décor.
Plants and flowers can provide a decorator touch to your apartment at yard sale prices. If you want artwork on the walls, use some of your photographs or download a picture and send it to your local box store, drug store, or another retailer for printing. You’ll get a professional job at a very inexpensive rate.
Maintaining a minimalist style is the best for your budget and the best for your health. It’s also easiest to keep clean. A clean, uncluttered living space provides mental clarity and promotes the flow of energy within the room.
4. Think Outside the Box
When you’re selecting items for your apartment, opt for those that can serve more than one function. A futon can provide seating or can be a spare bed. Cardboard boxes can be covered with fabric or adhesive paper and used for storage. Deli meat containers can be washed and reused instead of buying plastic food storage containers.
You’ve finally made it and are on your own! This is a unique time in your life so enjoy yourself and learn to express your creativity. The internet is full of creative ideas for comfortable living and many cost next to nothing.
Michelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.