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Furnishing your first apartment on a budget

Date posted:  9/9/16 09:00:00 AM Furnish your first apartment

When it comes to furnishing your first apartment, you want to find the perfect balance between ensuring you have everything you need without spending too much money.

According to Apartment List, the median price for a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. in August 2016 was $1,300, slightly higher than a one-bedroom, which averaged $1,120. Rent costs are actually decreasing nationwide, but still remain relatively high, especially in certain cities.

With all of this information in mind, furnishing your first apartment needs to be done in way that won't empty your wallet.

Bring along what you can
Since you'll be moving to your first apartment, it's likely you've spent the last few months or years living with your parents. But at some point, you'll reach a time where you want and need to move out. After finding a place, signing a lease and agreeing upon the move-in date with the landlord, it's time to start packing.

Essentials for your room and other critical parts of the apartment are some of the first items you should look for before you pack the smaller things. It's easy to feel overwhelmed once you realize just how much you'll need, and preparation is important.

As such, creating a list will help you develop a clearer picture over what's needed and what can wait. First on your list, as Apartment Guide recommended, is a bed, which includes a frame and a mattress.

If possible, you can save money by planning to bring the bed you currently sleep in at your parent's house. With a bed comes the need for sheets, pillows and blankets. While you can bring the linens you have been using, you can also create a fresh start by buying new bedding.

The same mindset should also apply to other items, such as a desk, entertainment stand, TV and dresser. But if you have to buy these items, consider looking online for deals or use services that allow people to advertise items for private sale. You may even stumble upon something you need while browsing a yard sale.

Furnish the living room
Outside of your bedroom, the living room is probably the area where you'll spend a lot of your time. If you are living with roommates, you'll need to discuss who is bringing what, or if costs of new items will be split.

Try to get a couch that's big enough for you and a few others to use at the same time. You may even want to consider getting two couches and adding another piece of seating, like a recliner. Luckily, most furniture can be found for affordable prices at well-known retailers, My First Apartment stated.

When buying a couch, you may want to entertain the idea of finding one that comes with a pull-out bed, or opt for a futon. This way, you can have plenty of seating, but if a friend or sibling needs a place to spend the night, they'll have a place to sleep as well.

A living room isn't truly furnished until you get a coffee table and entertainment stand. The coffee table will come in handy as an area to place drinks, food, cell phones, magazines or books. You will be able to find one at a store, but don't hesitate to also look for coffee tables at second-hand shops. It might make more sense to find a used coffee table to save some money early on.

The entertainment stand is essential for organizing your media center. Not only will it help you position your TV, but this piece of furniture can also house your Blu-ray player, video game console, and games and movies.

The kitchen and dining room
The eating and cooking areas will also need to be furnished, and the good news is you don't exactly need a full dining room set right away. When furnishing your first apartment, there's no need to go overboard with expensive tables and chairs. But if you and your roommates want to pitch in for a set that allows everyone to eat together, don't hesitate to explore the option.

Depending on the setup of your eating area, there may be an island of some sort, in which case you should look into acquiring some stools to add even more seating. An island is helpful because it can be used as extra cooking space or a space for sitting down for a quick breakfast before heading to work or school.

Everything else
Budgeting is important and should be one of the first moves you make. Not only do you have to account for furniture and seating, but you'll also need to take into consideration other items, such as lamps, art, appliances and anything else needed to make the home comfortable.

With your first apartment, there a few essential pieces of furniture you need to bring along, but make sure cost-efficiency is part of the planning process.