Your First Apartment: Where to Begin?
What are your best resources for finding furniture? Where should you begin? What are some of the best resources? What should you invest in and where can you get by with the cheap version? It's actually not that hard if you take a deep breath and take it one step at a time.
Oh, and as for those resources for folks on a budget, I like the attic of my childhood home, Craig'slist, local antique stores, flea markets, thrift shops, dumpster-diving, floor sample sales, IKEA, Target (hello, Liberty of London and Thomas O'Brien!), West Elm, CB2, Urban Outfitters eBay and Pier 1 Imports. I also like to keep my mind open. For example, the inexpensive metal hot water heater stands at the home improvement store make great, industrial-chic side tables! Another money saving tip: Sign up for email alerts and newsletters from your favorite stores online, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. They often send out tweets and emails with discount codes to their followers. Also, if you are buying a whole bunch of stuff at one place, you can often get a 10-15% discount if you get the store's credit card. While I don't advocate making a habit of filling up your wallet with credit cards, you may decide it's worthwhile to grab a hefty discount. You can always pay it off immediately and chop up the card so you won't start racking up debt right out of the gate.
I feel I should add...My One Personal O.C.D. Rule: Do not pick up any upholstered furniture you find curbside, as bed bugs are making a major comeback, and there's probably a bad reason someone is throwing it out. Anything else is fair game.
Alright, on with the advice...and have a ball fixing up your new digs!
STEP NINE: BEFRIEND AN ELECTRICIAN OR LEARN HOW TO INSTALL LIGHTS: You probably won't want to change too much in a rental, but a great skill to learn is some basic electrical skills. Store that ugly dusty brass light that came with the place and make your own pendant lamps from a simple light kit and a cheap lampshade.
STEP ELEVEN: WE'RE READY FOR A BIT OF DESIGN - MAKE YOUR MOVE! One bold move can make the room, like the strong black and white rug in this room. Stores like IKEA, Pier 1, CB2 and West Elm have great rugs that are reasonable priced, especially during the sales where they sell all of their floor samples.
Back to granny again - you can throw a hodge-podge of her old plates up on the wall and it looks like a million bucks.
If you have a ton of necklaces and a ton of blank wall space, hang them up like this and enjoy them.
If the white or damaged walls are bumming you out, well-placed fabric on curtain rods can hide a multitude of scars on walls, and give it a softer feel. Printed fabrics can serve as a temporary wallpaper effect.
STEP TWELVE: HAVE YOUR FRIENDS OVER! A sturdy tray table can become a beautiful bar with a few spirits, flowers, and some lights!
Dark lighting and votives are always a great way to add ambiance to a less than dreamy apartment.
I had to throw these guys in here. Sometimes a Foosball table is much better and more useful than a dining room table!
STEP ONE: BUY A BED If you only have enough money for one major piece of furniture, obviously you should get something to sleep on. You don't have to have a proper bed, but a mattress that is at least full size is a wonderful thing to have.