Moving into a new apartment means excitement, stress, and spending. The average cost of furnishing a one-bedroom apartment is more than $8,000—but there are plenty of ways to get your new home in great shape, for a whole lot less. Read on for five tips to help you furnish an apartment on a budget.
Get the Essentials Ahead of Time
If you have a few months or even a few weeks before the move, it might be worth it to get a storage unit and start shopping sooner. Purchasing the essentials ahead of time means that if you see a great deal on an item, you can buy it immediately. That’s a lot better for your bank balance than making a rush purchase on move-in day when it’s midnight, and you suddenly realize you need an air conditioner. Some ahead-of-time essentials to consider are a space heater or fan depending on the season, mattress and bedding, hangers, cleaning supplies and trash bags, shades for the bedroom, dish drainer, and a shower curtain.
Prioritize the Kitchen
During your first week in the new apartment, when nothing’s set up and there are boxes everywhere, it may be tempting to order meal delivery. It’s easy, it’s convenient—and it’s also expensive. Instead, get your kitchen in good working order as soon as possible. You’ll want a frying pan and a sauce pan; a chopping board and chef’s knife; silverware and plates; and pantry staples such as olive oil, rice, pasta, salt and pepper. Fill the fridge with a few simple vegetables and proteins, plus snacks, and you’ll be all fueled up to furnish your new apartment. (P.S. – don’t forget the sponge and dish soap!)
Always Shop Secondhand
Secondhand shopping is good for the environment and your bank account. Before you hit the big box stores, check out local thrift stores. This may take more time, so plan ahead and give yourself at least a few hours to find the items you need and the best deals. It’s also a smart idea to tell friends and family that you’re furnishing an apartment. Often, people are desperate for an excuse to clean out the basement or downsize their living room lamp collection. Ask around in advance of your move, and be sure to invite everyone for a thank-you dinner once you’re all settled in your new home.
If you’re shopping for big-ticket home furnishing items, don’t let that spending go to waste. Instead, consider putting your apartment purchases on a credit card that offers points, rewards or cash back. The HUECU Platinum Rewards card, for example, offers 10,000 bonus points to cardholders who spend $500 in the first 90 days of card membership, along with cashback rewards on all purchases. As always when it comes to spending with a credit card, aim to pay off your monthly statement in full every single month, to avoid accruing additional interest. Grow your rewards: not your debt!
Go Slow on Décor
Furnishing your new apartment is exciting, but when it comes to design and styling, interior decorators recommend taking it slow. Choose one piece you love—a green velvet sofa, a decorative antique plate, a cool poster—and use that item to theme your design elements. Slowly gather more pieces that match the aesthetic. Taking your time will give the apartment a more natural look and force you to wait until you find things you really love, rather than buying up the entire homewares section at Target. Plus, spreading out your spending over a few months, rather than a few days, is a lot more affordable! Give yourself the time to get settled in your new place and really figure out what you need, before spending the big bucks.