Taylor Kovar

Hi Taylor - I’m moving into my first apartment and I have an issue - the apartment is unfurnished and I have about $300 to spend on furniture. Am I sleeping and sitting on the floor or do I have some options here? -Lark 

Hey Lark - That’s not a lot of money to furnish an apartment, but I have faith you’ll pull it off. You might have to adjust your expectations, but here are a few ways to make it all work. 

1. Air mattress. Sleeping on an air mattress used to be a real struggle, but manufacturers have upped their game significantly. If you find the right sale, you can get a comfortable queen-sized mattress for around $50 to $100. I know that’s almost a third of your budget, but I think a bed is the first thing you need to take care of. If you have nice chairs or a beautiful TV stand but you don’t sleep well at night, you’re not really living your best life. With a decent air mattress and some extra blankets for padding, you’ll hardly notice that you don’t have a normal bed. 

2. Thrift shop for dishware. If you’re saving money, living on your own, and likely not doing much nesting, go to the thrift store for your plates and glasses. You can walk out with ton of stuff that will cost you $10 total, and you might even find a set of dishware that makes it look like you didn’t buy anything used. Even if you end up having lots of mismatched things, that can just be part of the charm of your kitchen. 

3. Ask about sale days for furniture. Most second-hand stores end up drastically reducing prices on furniture from time to time because they need to move inventory and make more space. Sometimes everything will be half off for an entire weekend and that’s when you should try to buy everything. Time it right and you’ll have matching dining room chairs that cost $20 or $30 total. You might not get a gorgeous couch, but you could land something that’s clean and comfortable for less than $100.

4. Build a table. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest handyman to get a plank of wood to stay on four posts. This is something you can either put together using pieces of older tables or items from friends’ garages, or you can go to the hardware store and buy a top piece and four smaller boards. Sand down the surface, add a nice finish, and you’ve got a table that might even impress your guests. 

There are plenty of other items you’ll need, but start with the necessities and then continue putting your apartment together over time. Getting a new place furnished isn’t so important that you should put the rest of your life on hold. Good luck, Lark!

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