School’s Out: Tips for Furnishing Your First Apartment

The scene when you walk into your college dorm is familiar. You are met with industrial ceiling lamps, a hulking dresser, a desk-and-chair combo and one wobbling bed frame.

Walk into your new apartment for the first time, and things are a bit different – it’s completely empty. Here are a few tips and reminders for furnishing your very own place.

When you move into an apartment, the first thing you have to realize is that you are going to need furniture. You won’t be walking into a pre-furnished dorm!

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The first step is to analyze your needs. Ask yourself what the most necessary things are. If you’re on a tight budget, you have to prioritize. Things like a bed frame and bookcases can wait as you figure out the more important pieces like a mattress and dresser.

caption: (Matt Biddulph via Flickr)

Fill ‘er up: It’s your first place; no need to break the bank. Focus on furnishing your new flat with one piece at a time. A new mattress is a good place to start. (Matt Biddulph via Flickr)

Remember that your first bedroom set doesn’t need to be from Crate & Barrel. While you adjust and begin revving the engine on your adult life, consider going for more temporary (cheaper) options. It’s OK to acquire furniture from anywhere and everywhere – your parents’ basement, Craigslist, Ikea, thrift stores, etc.

Say goodbye to your vinyl foam mattress! Moving into your new apartment means you need to go shopping for a new mattress (trust me, this is a good thing). Take into consideration a few things: whether or not you’ll be moving pretty frequently in the coming years, your comfort and your budget. The best thing to do is to go to the store and test out a mattress. Hint: You don’t have to buy a mattress there. You can buy it anywhere, online even. You just want to get a clear picture of what will make you the most comfortable.

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Most of all, do some research before you buy. It helps to understand why two mattresses can feel very similar even though one comes with a $400 price tag versus $1200 for the other.

If you’re a recent graduate, you can happily say goodbye to on-campus dining halls. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you now have to learn how to cook yourself. To do that, you’ll need to furnish your kitchen.

If you’re just starting out, a cheap set of pots and pans from Target or Walmart makes a great learning canvas. Also, crock pots. There is no easier way to eat healthily and cheaply. Fill up the pot with food and you’ll have enough to eat for several days.

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With a kitchen comes a whole host of responsibilities that weren’t there before. This includes cleaning. You’ll need to establish an organized way of dealing with trash, recycling, expired food, dirty dishes and more. Along with a trash bin, you might want to consider a basic disinfectant, wet wipes, Windex, a broom and dustpan, dish soap, and sponges. Take up the practice of cleaning dutifully and you won’t have to worry about a plethora of other issues that can occasionally come with renting – like pests.

Most of all, realize that now, perhaps for the first time, this is truly your space. Make it yours. Take the time to pick things that reflect your style and make you comfortable.

Expand – buy dishware that you like, sheets and comforters that didn’t come packed in a milk crate. Peruse your local Goodwill and surf for pieces that make you feel at home.

Find your next apartment in the area with Apartment Showcase.

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