Furnishing my Old Apartment from Scratch & on a Budget!

Have you seen my apartment tour on YouTube yet? If so, then you might be wondering how much all of that cost and how I could afford to make a nice looking and fully furnished apartment happen in just 6 months. Catch up and watch the video below and keep reading to hear exactly how I did it!

Facebook is your Friend

The unsung hero of my entire apartment is Facebook Marketplace.  I found so much of my essential furniture, housewares and other decor on Facebook for amazing prices.

Blender? Facebook. Desk? Facebook. Bar Cart? Facebook.

On of the best deals I got off of Facebook was my living room rug. My apartment has laminate wood throughout and vaulted ceiling and so the echo in my apartment was one of the first things that had to go. Seriously, I had to make phone calls in my carpeted bedroom because the echo was so awful that people couldn’t understand me. I knew a rug would help dramatically but rugs of that size are very expensive. I looked everywhere and was having a hard time finding anything I liked, let alone anything in my budget.

Finally, someone listed a rug on Marketplace that I believe was originally from Rugs USA. They never used it and were selling it at a significant markdown because they could no longer return it. I got a beautiful, brand new, 8×10 foot rug for around $50. Unheard of.

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My Joss & Main couch, DIY coffee table, “As-Is” IKEA lamp and low maintenance ZZ plant. 

Be Selective with Amazon

Amazon is amazing for a lot of things but super cheep furniture is not one of them. In general, I was able to find very comparable furniture at other discount retailers cheaper than Amazon. (Sidenote, from my experience, Wayfair is literally the same as Amazon; same listings, same sellers, similar prices.) I found my couch on Joss & Main which stocked so many options in my price range. I ended up putting the purchase on PayPal Credit which has no interest if paid in full within 6 months and I knew that, with my job, I would be able to make that happen.

Get Handy with the DIY’s

I think I took this a bit to the extreme in my apartment, but I just wasn’t finding what I needed in my price range elsewhere. I spent a little more on materials (a lot more on time) and ended up with something I’m really proud of. And I want to clarify that when I say I spent more, I mean I spent around $100 on my coffee table (specialty tools included) which, for the quality and design of the furniture I ended up with, is as steal. A console table that my build was inspired from retails for $400 on Overstock and I made it for around $50. Could I have bought one on Facebook for $10? Yes. But what I ended up with is so beautiful and exactly what I wanted.

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DIY record stand and second-hand record player.

In total, I ended up building a coffee table, bookshelf, mirror, bed frame, and record stand, as well as some smaller things like a macrame hanging I’m using as a headboard and a string-up version of a cork board for above my desk.

IKEA is Great

Apologies if you don’t have an IKEA nearby because I’ve lived most of my life without them and understand how frustrating it can be to see everyone rave about how great they are. I am now located about 10 minutes away from them and I’d be lying if I kept them out of this post. Since this blog is all about my real life experiences, I’m pretty obligated to keep that sort of stuff in here.

I, unfortunately, don’t seem to click with any of IKEA’s furniture. I think most of it is really cute but it hardly ever seems right for my home. (That said, I still got my nightstands and desks from there.) Where IKEA shines, for me, is their home furnishings. Sheets, rugs, dishes, lamps, and storage are all super stylish and very cheep. While I do prefer the super cheep Walmart fitted sheets and pillowcases, my time in Europe converted me to duvets and duvet covers which IKEA has a-plenty. Another one of my favorites is also super cheep when you factor in safety and sustainability; glass Tupperware. I know that you can get plastic sets for practically nothing but I’m really trying to stay away from plastics and IKEA really came in clutch for that.

Another thing IKEA is great for are mattresses. They have very cheep foam mattresses which fit in pretty much any car so you don’t have to pay for delivery or renting a truck. Seriously, my car (at the time) didn’t even fold down between the trunk and back seat and I was still able to fit my queen mattress in my car diagonally by laying the front passenger seat all the way back. The double win for me was that I used to foam mattresses after living two years in Europe, so not only was it the cost-effective option, it was actually what I preferred.

Also, don’t forget to stop in frequently to check out their As-Is section if you are looking for something in particular. While you can’t afford to be too picky, IKEA seems to sell their floor models very regularly so you’re not just relying on people returning things to stock that section.

Discount Stores might Surprise You

Stores like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx have a lot more than just pillows and mirrors. I got my coffee maker, wine glasses, toilet plunger, and more storage and plant baskets than you can count from there. Of course they are good for decorative stuff too, but I focused first on getting the functional items. I prefer to actually decorate my home with souvenirs, plants, and thing’s I’ve had forever.

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My DIY mirror with a big pothos.

Plants make Cheep Decor

Have a super empty corner in you apartment? There aren’t many ways cheaper to fill it than a plant. I’m not talking about fake plants (which can be pretty affordable at HomeGoods or IKEA if you have absolutely no skill or desire to keep a plant alive). In fact IKEA is a great place to buy dirt-cheap (pun intended) large plants. You can also get houseplants year-round from most Walmarts, Home Depot or Lowe’s. But make sure that you do a quick Google search before you buy a plant to make sure that it will fit your space’s light and you lifestyle. Just be careful not to get sucked into the plant world like I did (a post about that coming soon).

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There you have it, all the tips and tricks I used to furnish my new (now old) apartment on a budget. Have you ever had to furnish an apartment from scratch as an adult? Let me know in the comments down below how that went and what tips you have if you were also on a budget.


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