Living on a Budget
Moving into your first apartment can be bittersweet. As exciting as it can be to finally have your own space, it can be daunting to figure out how to furnish your new place, especially if you’re on a budget. However, there are tons of ways to make your apartment look nice without breaking the bank. If you have more time than money and want to know how to furnish your first apartment on a budget, here are a few ways how.
Second Hand Furniture
Three words: scour Facebook MarketPlace. We think that Facebook MarketPlace is by far the best place to find used and vintage furniture to furnish your apartment on a budget. You can find quite literally everything on there, and some of the items are brand new! Here are our top tips when looking for things:
- Be Specific. Search up the style of furniture you like, or the exact pieces you’re looking for. Some design keywords to get you started are Mid Century Modern, Boho, Post Modern, and Art Deco.
- Be quick. Everything on Facebook Market goes fast. If you see something you like, the chances are it is already sold or has a lot of offers already. The trick is to be quick but not careless – ideally, shop with your roommates or someone you trust to make a thought-out decision.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Remember, most people on Facebook just want to get rid of their things, so they are likely to accept your offer if it’s reasonable. Offer a price you think is reasonable but don’t negotiate so low to the point where the seller doesn’t take your offer seriously.
Search for appliances or small household items that you don’t mind are second-hand or barely used. Saving on these pieces will allow you to save up for items you’d like to buy brand new or splurge on.
Scrolling through Facebook Market is almost an addictive pastime but don’t forget to check out other second-hand stores such as EcoDepot, Village des Valeurs and Renaissance. We suggest EcoDepot for larger items such as mirrors and desks and the latter for small decorative items.
Now that you’ve got your hands on some second-hand furniture, get creative! If you’ve purchased a piece that’s a little run-down nows the time to spruce it up. Visit your local hardware store and get the items you need to clean, repaint, or refinish your furniture. Remember that upcycling isn’t exclusively for used furniture. There are tons of blogs and videos of “Ikea furniture hacks” where you can turn your mass-produced furniture into something totally unique.
If D.I.Y isn’t your forte, hanging artwork on the wall will instantly make your apartment feel more like home. Go to Bureau en Gros or Jean Coutu and print out and frame your favorite photos to hang on your walls. If you’re looking for a different design or art style, support small artists by purchasing wall art from society6.
Some things are just better bought new. Visiting the right stores will help you keep within your budget. Ikea is an obvious choice for renters on a budget. However, be mindful when adding 10 “cheap” items to your cart as the price adds up! Stick to only the necessities such as kitchenware and bedroom and bathroom essentials (bed sheets, towels, bath rugs).
Winners and HomeSense are great options if you’re looking for items with an extra flare, like funky shower curtains or colorful bedsheets. These are both discount stores, so you are bound to find great deals. When shopping at department stores, look for items that can maximize your space such as storage boxes and small bookcases. If an item can be used for more than one thing, you can make the most out of your space and your money.
Maximize your space
On the topic of making the most out of your space (and your budget), use these tricks to elevate your new home.
- The curtain trick is one that will blow your mind if you’ve never thought of it before. If your apartment has small windows hang your curtain rods as close to the ceiling as possible to make your windows look bigger and the room look brighter.
- If your landlord allows you to, an accent wall can be a great way to make your space unique without spending a lot on fancy furniture.
- Mirrors will make your home look more spacious and brighter.
Accessorize your Home
Plants are a great way to accessorize your first apartment and give it that cozy vibe. There are plenty of places to get cheap plants, we suggest the Atwater Market for a wide selection. The best part is that plants are portable, so when you’re ready for your next move you can bring your plants with you!
Candles can also help elevate your space. Get small tealights in bulk at the dollar store and instantly transform your space.
In short, there are many ways to furnish your first apartment on a budget. Just keep in mind that it can’t all be done at once. Our biggest piece of advice is to take it slow and steady. Start by buying the furniture you absolutely need and add pieces as you go. Once the big items are out of the way, you’ll be able to personalize your space and truly make it your own.