Furnishing Your Apartment on $1000 or Less

It’s week #2 in our super cheap apartment furnishing series! Hot Dang!

Well, not to ruin the surprise, but as you may imagine, the key difference between a $500 a $1000 apartment isn’t so much the kind of items included so much as the items themselves and how you allocate your resources. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.

The $1000 Apartment

We’ve selected 10+ items we think you shouldn’t live without, as well as how much we’d estimate you spend on them – minimally. Let us know what you think  – and if there any must have items we missed!

1) Bed $400

With a bit more cash, you should spend it on your bed. Why? Because you likely spent more time using your bed than any other piece of furniture. With $400, try either Ikea (their mattresses aren’t half bad). Alternatively, large department stores may have a $400 mattress on sale during one of their blow-outs (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc). Or, if you aren’t too squeamish, most mattress stores deeply discount their floor samples – which are perfectly good mattresses and easily covered with mattress pads.

2)Couch $100

You can’t find a new couch for $100 – but you can find some good deals on craigslist and/or with friends.  Consider using the Facebook Marketplace as a way to screen the people selling items, which in turn screens for bed bugs. **Or, you could just get a rad velvet daybed like the one pictured…not sure how comfortable it’d be, but it’d be pretty swanky!

3) Dining Table, Chairs $100

Yep, we suggest the same amount as in our $500 furnishing or less post. These are important apt items, but no – you shouldn’t have to spend a ton to find functional pieces. Garage sales, stoops sales should get you covered if you don’t feel like dealing with Craigslist.

4) Dresser/Hangers for Closet $50

See above:)

5) Silverware/Dishes $50-75

Ikea and Target are both good places to find cheap dishes. CB2 isn’t too shabby either, if you can spend closer to the $75 range. If you can, try to get at least six plates and four of every other item. Since plates aren’t easy to replace, you’ll be glad you did.

The thing about plates/silverware is that, you will use them multiple times a day – and feel so much better about whatever you’re eating, knowing you aren’t eating on a paper plate and/or plastic. You certainly can – I had plastic dishes the first few months of my new place – but I never felt like I got them clean.  My first meal on my real plates felt like an absolute feast.

6) Bedding $50

One word – Overstock.com.  For whatever reason, this site always has the best deals on sheets.  Splurge and get some 300+ count sheets – and keep your same comforter that you used in college (or borrow one from mom + dad).

7) Shower Curtain/Bedroom Curtains $40

Water on the bathroom floor is slippery and not ideal. Spend the twenty bucks. Bedroom Curtains equal privacy. ‘Nuff said.

8) Trash cans $20

Find the cheapest ones you can for the moment. You can always upgrade later.

9) Laundry hamper +Towels $20

Head to the college dorm aisle and get a new laundry hamper as your current one has probably seen better days by this point. While there, see what else that’s designed as “high-end” for college would look good in your new apartment.

10) Pots/Pans $80

Buy one great nonstick frying pan and one fantastic pot. You will wash them many times, but having one mega-functional item of each will be more valuable than multiple crappy Target pans. Do your research and check the reviews. Your home cooking will appreciate it!

11) Coffee Table/Bedside Table/ETC $45-80

With a bit more cash, coffee tables and bedside tables sure are nice. See if you can make your money stretch by asking friends/family if they are going to be getting rid of any furniture and if you can negotiate a decent deal. If not, here’s another great opportunity to use freecycle.com

Again, these price ranges are all just suggestions – and what I would advice based on the $1000 dollar amount, not knowing what items you might currently possess. For instance, I don’t suggest any decorative items because I’m guessing you aren’t currently living with four white walls.

If you are. . .be sure to add paint to the above list!

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Author My First Apartment

Posted by

I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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Comments (6)

    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Anne,
      Are you buying in a foreign country to ship to US? Or in a foreign country where you are moving to.
      Answer to the first question is, use professional help. You don’t want to get a notice that your items have arrived and must be picked up from the ship.
      The answer to the second question is easy. Ask the locals. If you are a studying abroad, ask your fellow students. If you are working, your co-workers. (They’ll probably say IKEA – it’s everywhere or send you to local flea markets.) Tell us what happens. Good luck!

  1. Avatar Bekah

    Don’t be afraid to repurpose! I have a table that I made from an old roadside organ for $50 and it’s still the coolest conversation piece in my house.

  2. Avatar Cheryl Smith

    It is an interesting idea to finish an apartment on a thousand dollars or less. Finding furniture to fit the space, and go with what you already have, is definitely the most challenging part. Often finding the right furniture in a budget is challenging but fun.

  3. Avatar Annie

    not only did i furnish my 1st apartment under $500.00 Goodwill, thrift shops, consignment stores, rummage and estate sales are a treasure hunt but make a list of items you looking for, and always think outside the box and/ or use pinterest, the information to complete just about any project is out there for someone whos looking. I often find brand new items tags still on after retail stores do their inventory or get rid of seasonal items. i often find more projects than i have time to take on but can find lots of use as is stuff too. get yourself a sewing machine and learn a few simple stiches will save you hundreds plus endearing skill to possible love interests ( yes this goes for males too! known a few guys that met their wives in home ec)

  4. Avatar jacksonville fl apartments

    DIY furniture is definitely one very resourceful and cheap way to make old things look new. Apartment renters who have the skill or knows someone who can help them with projects like this will find this blog very helpful.