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Furnishing Your Apartment On a Budget

Hey, did you guys know I moved? There are just some things that I can't stop talking about: any of the members of One Direction and the fact that I finally moved to NYC. I'll shut up about it at some point when the allure of it wears off, but I've been too busy to get sick of it yet, so we'll see when that changes. The thing about moving into a two bedroom apartment for the first time in a new city is that you literally have to buy everything. Everything. My last apartment was a four bedroom so there was two more people to split the cost with, which saved me a lot of stress and money spent. But, ya know, furnishing a brand new apartment with only two people is...a struggle, to say the least. But you can still do it on a budget without having to sacrifice all of your money for groceries and happiness while still living in a space that isn't complete barren sans an air mattress on the floor!

The first question is...where do I start? Where do I shop? That was two questions, but I'm kind of shit at math so let's bypass that and continue our thrilling conversation on where to buy furniture when you have to bring granola, yogurt, and berries for lunch three weeks in a row because you can no longer afford to go out to eat. I have my tried and true places, some that I don't like quite as much (you know who you are), and then places that I personally haven't purchased or gotten furniture from but have heard some pretty solid testimonials aka people just telling me to look at these places when I was furniture shopping. Word of mouth is key, y'all.

  • Wayfair: If I could furnish my entire apartment with Wayfair, I would. And in all honesty, I think we did. I love Wayfair. They have great delivery, pieces at every price point, and it's all super easy to assemble unlike the next place. Wayfair personally has been my favorite website to shop for furniture on since I moved to my first apartment in Cleveland and a decent amount of my current furniture is from Wayfair. You'll need some time and patience to search, but it's worth it for the amount of money that you save. Plus, they occasionally offer customized coupon codes that will score you around 10% for your purchase, which can definitely come in clutch. 
  • IKEA: Look, I'm going to be honest here and say that I hate IKEA. Hate is a strong word but I just find their instructions way too confusing and their delivery service a hassle (or, if you don't live nearby one, just way too expensive) But, IKEA is a cult favorite, so mentioning it just seemed like the obvious choice. We have a few IKEA bits in our apartment as well because the low prices and simplicity of some of the pieces do draw you in. I particularly liked their flatware and dinnerware sets though. You get a pretty good amount for what you pay for, especially if you don't have a ton of roommates to share with.
  • Target: The Motherland deserves a spot on the list. This is mainly on here for the Room Essentials brand because it's the most affordable line of furniture they carry there, in my opinion. Some of the stuff can get a little pricey but you can find some pretty staple furniture bits on there for affordable prices, especially if you're going to split the cost with a roommate or two. 
  • Amazon; I personally didn't order any furniture from Amazon for myself (but I am considering getting a chair from there, maybe, at some point) but we all know how bomb Amazon is. Fast shipping, everything you can ever imagine right in front of you...what else could you want? 
  • Apartment groups on Facebook: Some people will sell their shit on Facebook groups (i.e. for NYC, things like Gypsy Housing) for super cheap (or even free!) when they're moving out. Most of the time they just ask that you come pick it up, so if you have a car/know somebody who does or can figure out a way to finesse it into a cab or Uber and make it worth your while, it's something to consider!
  • Ask friends who are moving out: This is kind of similar to the apartment groups one, but hey, if you know someone who is moving, see what they're keeping and if they need anything taken off of their hands. You know, to help them ;)

Listen, I know it's tempting to get the nicest stuff you can for ~longevity~ and all of that, but I'm 22 and can't commit to a hairstyle let alone furniture. I'm too poor to buy furniture that I want to last forever. Right now I just need it to last a year and then I'll reassess down the line. Kidding, I'd like for my furniture to last longer than a year but I'm not buying furniture for my first home or anything. I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, not a house in the suburbs where I'm settling down. I'll happily sleep on my bed that I paid about $250 for total, including my mattress, sheets, and pillows. Sort that shit low to high. Seriously, ain't nobody got time to look through the "Relevant" items. I need the most affordable things I can find that aren't rated terribly. I do read the reviews, but I don't like too much negativity deter me (obviously a two star product isn't getting ordered but a 4 star? 3.5? #AddToCart).

If you've been keeping up with my YouTube channel (ahem, subscribe if you so please), I mentioned in NYC Update and empty apartment tour and a fashion and homeware haul that I wasn't decorating right off the bat. As of right now, this is still true. I know some people might find decorations necessary to make their place seem like home, but you can't sleep or eat on decorations, so they weren't essential to me. Obviously, if you want to decorate, you do you, but if you're trying to save money, prioritize your furniture and worry about setting up your gallery wall once you can afford to stop eating your yogurt and granola a few times a week.

I didn't really set a budget for furniture shopping, but I probably should have. In total, I bought my bedframe, mattress, mattress pad, bedsides table, desk, desk chair, and two sets of drawers independently (from Wayfair and Target, sans the desk chair which is from IKEA). I split the cost of the couch, coffee table, bar cart, 9 cube organizer, and appliance cart with my roommate (from Target, IKEA, and Wayfair as well). While my bank acccount definitely took a hit, I'm still on my feeet and staying nurished, so that's a good sign!

Where's your favorite place to get furniture from?


  1. "any of the members of One Direction" - and this is why we're friends!

  2. I definitely have to agree with you on Ikea and Amazon! I also love Urban Outfitters for their decor! And borrowing from friends and Facebook groups is also such a great tip. Oh, and you're fabulous.

    1. I need to raid the sale section of Urban whenever I decide my apartment needs to be decorated because their stuff is SO cute!

  3. I'm so happy for you, Francesca!! I spent waaay too much last year when I moved off-campus and I ended up just selling most of the furniture at the end of the year! It was such a waste.

    1. Ugh right? It's such a bummer. I'm lucky when I moved out of Cleveland I didn't really have that much furniture to my name. I sold the couch that I bought for the apartment, my desk broke, and so I basically just traveled back with my bedframe and mattress (+ my clothes hehehe). I hope the stuff from this place makes it with us to the next move! I'm already dreading the cost if it doesn't hahaha


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