How to Furnish Your First Apartment or Home on a Budget

Decor on a Budget

Decor on a Budget

Furnishing and decorating on a budget can be simple if you have a little patience and a little knowledge! 

That pivotal life moment: you’ve moved out of your parents’ house, basement, dorm room – wherever you’ve called home – and finally signed your first lease. Congratulations! Though technically, you have probably been an adult for a while – this really makes it official. You now have those very responsible adulty things you have to do.

Even if you’re not looking to furnish or decorate a new place, but just re-decorate, organize, or spruce up any space in your home – these tips will help you too!

While we have been pretty stationary for the last 8 years – we have almost-adults who will be venturing out on their own soon. And I am really excited to help them through their first steps.

Decor on a budget

First on the list? You need to furnish your new living space. And I don’t just mean a couch and a chair. There are things you are going to need – actual essential items – that can really get costly when you are doing them for the first time. Especially if you are also making your first move during the holiday season.

If you have parents or grandparents with a few extra pieces of furniture – that can always be your first stop to save a little cash.

One of our favorite places to really grab some essential items on the cheap is our local Goodwill stores. We have 4 of them close to us, so that really gives us a ton of options when shopping on a low budget. We also have a few stores that are similar and run by local churches that we frequent. Another really great tip – if you travel a lot – is to look up the Goodwill stores and other non-profit thrift stores in whatever area you’re in or passing through. One of our favorite things to do as a family when traveling, that we have been doing for as long as I can remember, is mapping out thrift and antique stores along the way. Not only does it break up the drive – but every place you go has something you would likely never find at your hometown stores. 

Your first step needs to be making a list. I am the queen of lists! While I feel fully equipped to shop on the fly – I think having a list and being prepared means you will not only not forget things, but you can also save money by making fewer trips.

Here are some basic necessities you need to start off. Now, remember, you may not find exactly what you want right away, but as you start budgeting and saving, you can always upgrade.

Something to sit on – this can be a couch, chairs, bean bags, really just anything that allows you to feel and sit comfortably in your new living space. It doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy!

Cups – you cannot stand over the sink and drink out of your hands. And with affordable items from Goodwill, why would you?

Plates, bowls, and silverware – so you just cooked your first meal, now where do you put it? You need some plates and blows in order to eat that delish first meal you just made in your new kitchen. On our last trip to Goodwill, we found not only some killer deals but some really nice matching sets.

Cookware – this goes without saying, you really cannot cook if you have nothing to cook out of. And if you are planning on eating out all the time, you can kiss your budget for furnishing upgrades goodbye!

Misc kitchen items – Coffee pot, mixer, cookie sheets or cake pans, casserole dishes, knives, crockpots, colander, mixing bowls, whisks, spatulas, wooden spoons, Tupperware, silverware holder, measuring cups and spoons. Anything misc that will allow you to eat in rather than out! You can also look for other misc. items that would work throughout the house like large and small trashcans.

Now – once you have the essentials you can step it up a notch and do a little decorating to make it feel more like home!

Curtains, couch pillows, throws – anything to make it feel a little cozier!

Coffee table and end tables – these are not essential items, but you should be on the lookout for anything that you can get at a bargain while you’re shopping.

Wall décor – I cannot even tell you how many nice wall and decorative pieces we found at Goodwill on our last run through the stores.

Dressers and drawers – now you could probably consider this an essential item, but really, you can use tubs and bins until your able to find a good deal on one.

Tubs, bins, other storage to keep yourself organized – we found so many great fabric and plastic storage bins, baskets, etc… that you could really keep yourself organized on a very small budget. Think kitchen, bedroom, bathroom!

By utilizing these sources to shop on the cheap, you can get 90% if not 100% of what you need within your budget. For those items you cannot find – be patient and keep going back! I recommend weekly trips to see what new unique things have come in – my rule is go early and go often.

As a bonus, 87 cents on the dollar of every purchase from a Goodwill goes towards local job training opportunities? You can find your nearest Goodwill store at never know what treasures you will find there, but you can be confident you’ll be helping your local community!

Share your awesome finds with us on social media! Just post your pics and use the hashtag #ShopGoodWill. We can’t wait to see what you find!





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About Renee

Founder of ThatsJustLife.Com, Contributing Author of The Mom Quilt and The Mom Village, Blogger, Tech Guru, PR, Brand Management, Business Development. Content and Social Media Manager at Element Associates. Over the last year, she has put a large focus on community building, digital outreach campaigns and social media management. Renee is also an entrepreneur in network marketing and graphic & web design. Renee lives in Arkansas with her husband and two very busy and energetic teenagers. She loves meeting new people and taking on new challenges!

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