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How Do YOU Furnish an Empty Apartment on a Budget? Plus, Share YOUR Budgeting Tips…

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Furnish Home on Budget

Check out this email I received from reader Annie…


I am getting ready to move out into my own place (leaving the nest) for the first time and I was hoping that both you and readers could give me suggestions on furnishing an apartment from scratch on the cheap. Also any budgeting tips would be very helpful!


Moving Tips

Also, if you’re planning an upcoming move, be sure to check out this post with 12 Packing & Moving Tips. OR, are you moving into an apartment or small house? Check out this video where I shared my tips for maximizing small spaces from our previous 1,200 square-foot Boise home.

With that being said, please share YOUR tips below!


Mary is a senior copywriter with 9+ years in frugal tips & deals. She has a Bachelors in Human Resources Interdisciplinary Studies. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn


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Comments 151

  1. MommySpendsLess

    I found a good deal on a couch and matching arm chair through Cort Furniture. They specialize in leasing furniture for short term use (think corporate apartment, staging a home for sale, etc.). When they get the furniture back they inspect it, clean it and grade it and resell it in one of their clearance centers, which are set up like showrooms (not junk room warehouses like a liquidation place). The price was competitive compared to Craigslist and I felt better knowing it had been professionally taken care of (bedbugs and the like). They offer delivery for an additional fee but were willing to hold it for me for about a couple weeks so I could have a friend with a truck pick it up instead. They even helped him load it. All-in-all a pleasant experience and I’m as happy with this $300 set as I was the $1200 sectional I bought at Rooms to Go.

  2. Renee

    If you have a Ross store nearby, check out their Home Dept. for great deals in their clearance section. If you have a friend or relative that is 55 an over, they can get you an additional 10% off on Tuesdays. Garage and yard sales are another great resource. Good luck😀

  3. Andrea Eg

    If you get a used couch, test it for meth. Thrift stores don’t test them before they resell them. The kit is only $50 and you can use it to test your apartment too. Safety first!

  4. Irina

    All the posts here are great ideas and tips on your first apartment! I honestly have to say some people are really brilliant! But I just wanted to add something that I didnt see mentioned here. If you are good with your hands and can build your own desk to use and some other furniture/decor. It’s fun and it will keep you busy and out of trouble! My brother, who needed a desk to use for college but didn’t have the money to buy a good one, decided he can build one for himself. It was the best desk and looked like a real computer desk with 2 drawers and a slide out to place a keyboard. He stained and waxed it…it looked amazing! So don’t be afraid to build your own stuff!

  5. manojna

    make a list of needs and wants … buy only what you need and when the necessity comes up …. set some allowence aside to buy your wants ….. and before you start a diy project check all possible options to buy readily available one …. once you exhaust all that then calculate all the money you would spend on buying the materials for it and calculate how many hours you would spend on it . only if it all makes sense on paper get into it else save money to buy it

  6. Rim

    I could not read all the comments here, so maybe I’m repeating few things here. I have had bought a lot from garage sales, esp the plastics or the things that you can wash/clean thoroughly. Things I do not want to buy used, I got it from ikea like the bed. I waited till I got a good offer and money to buy it. Just had a mattress initially. Check Collin’s post on things that you can buy from Dollar tree as well. Non-urgent/secondary things keep coming in eventually or as birthday or Christmas gifts 😀.

  7. Kim

    Tell everyone you know you’re moving, and ask them to pass the word on. Lots of people have extra couches, chairs, dishes, tables, etc that they can get rid of but don’t.

  8. Be

    When taking used items think HEALTH & SAFETY: do the SNIFF test to see if animals urinated on furniture …can’t get that smell out, esp if it’s humid. Check upholstered items for bedbugs, fleas and carpet beetles. They’ll spread to other items. Watch CRAIGSLIST FREE column, especially on Sunday and Mondays.
    People who clear out apts. & garages, or have things leftover from yard sales will just put it at the curb and list it under a CURB ALERT. BE SAFE .. if you’re picking up something FREE and the person tells you that you need to
    come into the house to help move it … DON’T GO ALONE … could be a ruse for dangerous behavior. Have fun and good luck.

  9. Hadley

    Bed bugs are no joke if youre thinking about buying used furniture or moving into a new space. I’m not saying dont buy or accept used furniture, but dont be afraid to ask the previous owner– or pre treat if you can’t. If youre in cold weather area, keep it at freezing temperatures for a week. Otherwise heat treatments work at 140+ F for 30 or more minutes. We moved into a new apartment (infested, without our knowledge) in Boston metro area and had to heat treat the entire space. It cost over $1,500 for 600 sq ft. Bed bugs are a real, expensive, and challenging problem. If your kids have had lice, bed bugs are 10,000x worse.

  10. Lianna dreyfus

    Go to Raise.vom. get a T.J. MAXX gift card for 25% off. A $100 gift card can be $75 or less.

    T.J.MAXX has a great kitchen and bath clearance aisle. I got a great seafoam rug, coral and white towels and a beach shower curtain with liner and rings – total $35.I added a toothbrush holder and liquid soap dispenser in bamboo decor for $12.

    Under $50 for the bathroom and I used the rest for cheep cheep socks and personal items.

    Their bath and body stuff is under $10 for great design girl stuff to make my bathroomn look rich.

    Look at the glass items aisle. I bought a thick hurricane bowl and filled it with stones and seashells from the beach. Bowl $8, stones, sand and shells free!!!

    Don’t be afraid to bring the best of your environment into your house

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