The Clog’s guide to furnishing your whole apartment for cheap

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Moving into a new apartment can be stressful. On top of finding the right one, you may have to worry about getting things such as a bed, table, couch and even basic utensils and plates. This can end up being a huge financial burden, as well as quite a time-intensive endeavor. But you don’t have to break the bank and furnish your apartment with one giant trip to Ikea. There are plenty of ways to take your time searching for items for your new place, and the end result can feel a lot better than just buying everything online. Follow this guide to furnish your apartment cheaply and efficiently.

Buy secondhand from others — try Free & For Sale

Joining Facebook groups such as Free & For Sale or even just looking around Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist is a great way to get essential items for cheap. You don’t really need a brand-new desk — you could easily use one that someone’s selling online. Though nowadays thrift stores are associated with cheap clothing finds, they’re also great for finding cheap furniture. Check out your local Goodwill, and see what kind of bowls and plates they have. You might get lucky with a full set for pretty cheap. In some thrift stores, you can even check out larger items such as cabinets and chairs. You might even find things you didn’t know you needed.

Reach out to friends who are moving 

This is your incentive to make friends who are seniors in your classes. Moving out can be just as much of a burden as moving in, and reaching out to friends who are moving permanently can be a great way to relieve their stress and yours. If you know someone who is moving, try reaching out and asking them what their plans are. You may be the solution they didn’t know they needed.

Ask parents and relatives

Maybe your grandpa has a set of plates he doesn’t use anymore, or your aunt has an extra lamp. As college students, most of us don’t have items such as these just lying around because we may not have lived in that many places or with that many people. But for relatives who now live by themselves, relocated to a smaller place or just keep a lot of stuff, they might have tons of random smaller items (extra frying pan, anyone?) that they’d be happy to give or sell to you. 


So you’re sifting through ads for $50, $100 and $200 tables and feeling kind of dejected? Think about how you could jazz up some cheaper options, or even repurpose something you already have. If you have a cheap folding table or an old scratched wooden one, don’t buy a whole new item. Buy a cute tablecloth for $15 and make it like new again. You could even paint the whole thing a fun color or pattern. No one will know the wood is scratched underneath (or that it’s made of plastic). 

Hopefully, this list gave you some ideas to make your new living space beautiful, without spending your savings. It may take a little more time to go through all your options and find the best deals and opportunities, but being thrifty with your furniture and kitchenware allows you a little more freedom to spend on things you really want. And hey, who doesn’t love a college apartment filled with a jumble of stuff from friends, relatives, neighbors and kind strangers. Good luck in your new home!

Contact Elysa Dombro at [email protected].