Hannah’s Guide to Apartments: Furniture

Most apartments don’t come furnished.

You probably don’t want them to come furnished, because then if you damage the furniture you’ll be the one paying.

But you probably don’t want to live in an empty apartment.

Here’s what you’ll need:



-at least 1 couch

-a TV (obviously not necessary, but nice)

-coffee table

-kitchen table

-chairs for kitchen table


But Hannah, where do I get these things??

One of the BEST PLACES in my experience is Free & For Sale pages on facebook, ESPECIALLY those for universities. Everyone’s looking to get rid of furniture fast and cheap after graduating/leaving for the summer, so that can be a really great way to get a couch, a few tables, a desk, and bed things with lots of storage. Also, a TV!

It’s also a good idea to wait for big sales (Memorial Day, Labor Day, Black Friday) to buy things like couches or beds or mattresses (or TVs). Keep in mind that if you might be moving around soon, investing in a nice couch isn’t a great idea. HOWEVER, futons are pretty cheap and a good option that guests can also sleep on. Plus, it can be sketchy to buy couches from a stranger. My suggestion here is find a friend of a friend or buy a futon.

Now, you may be tempted to go to IKEA – and IKEA is great for a lot of things. Like children’s bedrooms. But honestly, you can find cheaper and better stuff on amazon, and buy assembly. Amazon’s got a lot of great home goods, especially when it comes to things like curtains, sheets, bathroom storage, etc. Yes, IKEA has great entertainment centers, bookshelves, desks, etc. – but you should really be getting those secondhand if you’re on a budget. My advice? Go there for the cheap food and maybe a toilet brush and then head home.

If you’re looking for really cheap decor, tapestries are always a good way to go. Shein (previously mentioned in my cheap clothing post) and Amazon are also good places to get things like wall stickers, neon signs, and other basic decor. It’s probably best to adopt a minimalist style, unless you’re very crafty and want to fill the walls up with your own artwork. In my first apartment, my roommates and I had a Paint Night where we got drunk off Rose and painted stuff, then hung it all up – that’s a great way to fill up wall space. Also, buying just one large framed photo or painting for the biggest wall makes a huge difference. Society6 has a great selection of art, but it can be expensive (bonus: the money actually goes to the artist!!) Etsy has some cheaper options. Another good option if you have a lot of books or a lot of records is to display them in hanging shelves or displays on the wall! Buying cheap movie posters for your favorite films at allposters or amazon and framing them is a great option too, as is installing a couple shelves with plants. You can find ideas for DIY wall art crafts here, here, here, and here! Making these is also a great bonding activity for new roommates.

If you’re in a gross apartment or your used furniture is gross, there are a ton of ways to spruce it up:

upholster/cover cushions, seats of chairs, and couches: You can actually do this correctly and save a lot of money. Or you can just do what I did and buy a slipcover or a large sheet and cover your couch with it. If your couch is really hard, you can cut a hole and put more stuffing in, or cover the cushions in memory form and then the slipcover. Another good idea is getting a large decorative blanket and draping it over most of the couch. Lots of decorative pillows are also a great way to hide an ugly couch!

-put up wallpaper: there’s a how-to article here, but it’s as basic as peel and stick it on the wall. Target sells some good ones, but you can find them online for even cheaper. This is a great way to temporarily transform a room.

-stick-on backsplash and countertops: basically the same as above. Stick-on countertop also works well on old or cheap desks!

stick-on handles for cabinets, drawers: really the list here is endless

-large area rugs cover gross carpet or hardwood: Wayfair, Walmart, Amazon, and Overstock have good options, but sometimes the best option here is to go to a massive rug store and pick out the pattern you like. Up to you!

And that’s about it for the bigger basics!

Hopefully you don’t get in fights with your roommates over their ugly furniture!!

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