How to Furnish Your Place at a Shoestring Budget

When your living with parents or in a dorm comes to an end, you start looking for a decent place to start off your adult life. But, we often forget that this very much desired independence is closely connected with your financial opportunities. You can do the most thorough research possible and find a truly amazing and affordable first rental, but this is not the end of your quest.

One of the best options to fit into a small rental budget is renting an unfurnished apartment. This way, you can find a good place for a reasonable price and decorate it however you want. There is only one problem —you’d have to fully furnish an apartment with almost no spare money.

What are your options in this case? This is where you need to turn to our checklist on furnishing your first apartment and see what you can do to actually make it feel like your first grown-up home.

Make All the Necessary Measurements of Your Rental

You must always keep in mind the dimensions of your new apartment so you could buy the right furniture for it. Basically, if you don’t know the exact size of your rooms, you will either not be able to get the right furniture or you’ll simply mess up and purchase something that won’t fit.

When you deal with a tight budget, you don’t have a right to make mistakes. Each one of them will hit your pocket hard and you’ll regret your laziness later. So, grab a measuring tape instead, and check the ceiling height as well as width and length of each room. And, after you’re done and have it written safely in your notes, it’s time to proceed to the next step.

Visit the Local Garage Sales and Flea Markets

Some people are regular visitors to flea markets just because they love to dig for vintage treasures. But, it is also a perfect place to find decent pieces of furniture even if you don’t have a keen eye for antiques. Of course, vintage-lovers might affect the antique furniture prices, but you can always find someone who is ready to get rid of their coffee table just for a few bucks. It’s pretty common for people to sell a table or a set of chairs they don’t really need, so you can find lots of options to choose from.

Items for sale on garage sale

Most importantly, try to focus not on the current look of a certain piece. Instead, estimate how much it would cost to make this item a great addition to your apartment. Maybe, you simply need to repaint a mirror frame or clean and polish a coffee table to make it a centerpiece of your home.

Make sure to review all the cheapest options and compare them to see what can benefit you financially and satisfy your furniture needs.

Check Out the Websites With Freebies

First of all, you should check out classifieds like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Many people prefer not to throw stuff away and try to find a new owner for their beloved furniture. Some might offer you to take their bulky couch for free as long as you pick it up yourself.

This is becoming especially popular now, as many understand the importance of responsible consumption. And, it is a perfect solution for those who do not want to spend a small fortune furnishing an apartment. Not only does staying away from brand new furniture saves a lot of money, but you also do your small part in reducing waste on our planet.

You can head specifically to platforms like and similar websites that offer you to become a part of the sharing community.

Turn to eBay’s Auction

eBay will stay alive for years to come thanks to its original bidding approach that people can apply to anything they sell there. Of course, furniture is not an exception.

More like this: Incredible Ways to Spruce Up Your Rental Kitchen

Find the furniture auctions that are close to an end and hunt for something beautiful and affordable for your apartment. Usually, eBay can offer you a wide range of products and auctions to choose from. Just remember to keep a cool head and don’t get carried away if you find yourself in a bidding war.

Note: eBay is one of those places where you can get scammed easily, so take a look at the seller’s feedback before entering the auction. If there are many negative reviews or the seller seems fishy, trust your gut and find someone else.

Pay a Visit to the Closest IKEA Store

Yeah, we know… IKEA is everywhere these days! But, there is a good reason for it — it’s one of the most affordable places to get new pieces of furniture for your home.

Some people tend to hate this store, as you see the same coffee tables, chairs, and shelves in every second apartment. Despite the fact that it may hurt your exclusivity, IKEA is a decent choice to furnish your apartment on a budget. Especially, if it’s your first adult place — there will be plenty of opportunities for you to put together your dream home later in life.

Use IKEA, good deal for a good price

Also, count in the stores like Target, Walmart, or H&M Home, and any other shops that offer both conventional and fun pieces. Here, you might be able to purchase some essentials for a good price, especially if you follow their sales and special offers.

Refurbish or Refinish Something You Already Have

We’ve already reviewed yard sales, flea markets, and bidding websites. What else can you do to make your place look great with all the outdated furniture you could find?

Let’s say your older sibling offered you an old kitchen table they keep in their storage unit. It’s too shabby and battered to keep, but still sturdy and performs pretty well. That’s where you can turn to your creative side and refurbish/refinish the old furniture you have. This way you’ll be able to give it a new fresh look and make sure that your place doesn’t look like a dumpster.

And, if you think that DIY skills are not your strong suit, give it a try anyway. Thankfully, there are plenty of articles and YouTube videos you can follow.

Buy Ex-Display Items With Dents and Scratches

Most of the furniture stores usually have showcased their products and give people an opportunity to try them out. People test out each and every couch or chair to be sure that they will feel comfortable enough sitting or laying on them.

More like this: Remodel Your Apartment Without Losing Your Security Deposit

It’s not a surprise that these furniture pieces can get dents, scratches, and other signs of wear and tear. Guess what, stores usually sell these sample units at a discount, and you can expect to get from 10% to even 70% off buying such a piece of furniture. Keep your eyes open next time you head to a furniture store and you might be able to snatch a cheap bed frame at Walmart for even cheaper!

Swap What You’ve Got with Others

Some of the sweetest memories from our childhood are usually connected with our passion to exchange something with our friends. Remember how you exchanged your latest PlayStation game with your neighbor? The thing is, you can still exchange stuff!

For example, you’ve got a set of four chairs on the local flea market lately and you need just the two of them for your kitchen. You can offer them to your friend who’s got a spare set of cutlery and dinnerware, and everyone will be happy. This is a classic win-win situation.

How to Furnish an Apartment for $1000

Ways to furnish your apt for $1000

Sure, it’s easier said than done, and many might doubt that it’s possible to furnish a rental for that cheap. That’s why we’ve prepared an illustrative example for you.

Let’s say we have a budget of $1000… We decided to browse the internet in the search of good furniture options for you.

  • BALKARP Sleeper sofa – $139
  • LACK Coffee table – $30
  • VITTSJÖ TV unit – $50
  • TÄRENDÖ Table – $40
  • KULLEN 2-drawer chest – $40
  • BILLY Bookcase – $50
  • VESKEN Shelf unit – $10
  • MILLBERGET Swivel chair – $80
  • LINNMON / ADILS Desk – $25

So we’ve just browsed through the IKEA store and spent around 465 dollars. As you can see, this is just half of this budget and we’ve already got ourselves a brand-new sofa, a coffee table, a simple TV unit, a table for your dining room, a drawer chest, a bookcase, and a shelf unit. Additionally, we’ve got here a desk and a swivel chair for your working or studying area.

This is just one online store that we’ve used. Similarly, you can head to Target, Walmart, or use any other places and ways to furnish an apartment we’ve mentioned before. Also, you have the second half of the budget left, so you can add some vintage pieces from a flea market or eBay that will become a stylish addition to your living space.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to furniture a small dining space or a living room, there is always a way to do it on a tight budget if you approach it smartly.

How to Furnish My House for Free

Furnishing your home with basically no money at all may be a huge challenge, but you shouldn’t give up just yet, especially when you have our tips by your side!

Charity Organizations

First of all, you should check with the local charity organizations. Their main goal is usually to help anyone, and people tend to donate not only the money but their clothes and even furniture!

Contact any charity organization in your area and verify if they have any kind of furniture available, explain your situation and if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get something for your new home.

Any College Campus

Move-out days at the college campuses are crazy. Especially when it comes to the number of things that get thrown out by the dormitory residents. Make sure you make the most out of this hint — this is like a real goldmine, and you won’t even believe what kind of stuff you can find there sometimes.

Sidewalk / Dumpsters

Many people disregard this option, but if you’re ready to dig deeper in your search for furniture, you should check the local dumpsters and pay attention to anything you might spot walking down the streets of your city.

Not everyone wants to sell their old furniture, some people just throw it away. Often people get rid of the items that can still serve their purpose and even look good. If not, you can always refurbish and refinish anything you find giving it a more fresh look.

Honestly, you can discover real treasures just waiting for the new owner. Here, you can find the whole article dedicated to the NYC culture of putting things out for someone else to find before the garbage man comes. Some of those finds are true gems that will not cost you anything at all!

Wrapping Things Up

Furnishing your first apartment from scratch is not an easy task, but we strongly believe that it all depends on the approach you choose. As you can see, there are so many places you can go to searching for cheap furniture, and so many strategies to try!

We want to communicate that anyone can furnish their apartment on a budget or even with no budget at all. And we hope that we proved it to our readers with our examples and tips.

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