Furnishing a first apartment is a great feeling, but it can also be an overwhelming process. There are so many options for everything that even deciding on a towel set can seem like too much pressure. Plus, a smaller budget can at times mean refraining from buying some things altogether.
If you’re on a budget, knowing what to buy first will help you allocate your spending accordingly. That way, you can get what you’ll truly need, then use the rest of your budget on little touches that will turn the space into a home. Here’s a priority list of what to buy when furnishing your first apartment:
Your first priority should be a bed, since it’s where you’ll be spending most of your time while at home. In fact, the most essential part of the bed is the mattress. Get a good quality mattress that you’ll sleep well on and be able to keep for several years. As far as bed frames go, a basic frame is all that’s really needed, but feel free to get something a little more decorative. Though not absolutely necessary, it may make you feel a little more at home in your bedroom.
A Comforter and Sheets
Speaking of beds, you’ll also want to invest in a down comforter and duvet, especially if you live in a cold place. A nice down comforter will last for years, and you can buy new duvets instead of a whole new comforter as your tastes change. Plus, stripping off a duvet and throwing it in the washing machine, while sometimes awkward and complicated, is a lot easier and more efficient than trying to wash an entire comforter.
A living room without a couch isn’t the most comfortable place to spend time, so make sure to pick one up. Splurging on a pricey couch may seem a little out of reach, so if it just seems like too much, start with a futon. Futons may not be as comfortable or long-lasting, but at least you and your guests will have a place to relax (and sleep). Box stores like Ikea, Wal-Mart, and Big Lots may have some inexpensive couch options, so if you’d rather buy a couch than a futon, consider starting there.
A Coffee Table
Unless you have room for a full dining table set, a coffee table may be the only eating surface you have in your apartment for a couple of years. This is one item you don’t have to bother splurging on– look to cheaper versions, since it’s likely to get damaged between now and when you move out.
There are various kitchen items you should make sure to get when furnishing your new place, and you probably know best what those items are. Take a few minutes and write down a list of your own personal kitchen necessities– the items you use the most, like a tea kettle or microwave, for instance. Break the list down into categories for items you use to cook (pots and pans, spatulas and food), items you use to eat (dishes, silverware, glasses), items you use to clean (take my word for it, and get plenty of Clorox wipes), and any appliances you use often. I know many people who simply can’t live without a slow cooker or have to have a French press. If that sounds like you, put it on your list.
You may already have some bathroom necessities, but there are a few essentials everyone should make sure they have. The No. 1 most important item is toilet paper, obviously. You’ll also need a shower curtain and liner, and probably a shower caddy or organizer if you don’t already have one.
Especially if your apartment doesn’t have overhead lights, make sure you think about lamps when furnishing your place. Place one next to your bed and in your living room, if you have one. That also means buying plenty of light bulbs!
Extension cords are so necessary and sadly often forgotten about. Buy several, and I can guarantee you’ll find uses for all of them. Power strips are another good idea, so be sure to pick up a couple, especially if you have a TV and other electronics.
A Wireless Router
Like extension cords, a wireless router isn’t always the first item on a person’s priority list, but it should be in the top 10. You never know how much you depend on the Internet until you have to spend a few days without it! Many cable and internet packages include a router rental, so either set up an appointment with your Internet provider as soon as possible, or buy one of your own that you’ll be able to move with you to future apartments.
Unless you plan on keeping everything in a dresser (in which case, you’ll need to buy one), make sure you pick up a few packs of hangers. You’ll find it hard to settle in when all of your clothes are still boxed up!
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