How to Furnish a Studio with IKEA Products for Under $2,000


Alexandra's receiptsIt’s no secret furniture can be one of the most costly expenses when it comes to starting fresh in your new place… But it doesn’t have to be that way! As I have already told you, I attacked IKEA head on (read about that here!) Here’s what I opted for to create my own perfect Manhattan studio apartment and what it really stung me:

I went for a box-spring mattress with stainless steel legs that cost me around $360. Being in a studio, space is paramount and bulky bed frames take up much more room than you may think and they tend to close the room in.

I could have squeezed a couch in my studio, however I decided I was spending money based on the off-chance I would have visitors, so I chose an oversized one-person lounge chair. Big enough to sprawl over; small enough to not become the eyesore in the room. Mine cost around $250.

I bought what is traditionally used as a bed-end or over-the-bed occasional table. Instead, I placed mine under my window sill, above my radiator and created a workspace and decorating sideboard out of it. Check out the Malm Occasional Table – $159 from IKEA.

Studio kitchens rarely have much bench space and I’m a bit of a chef at home, so this was a problem for me. Traditional kitchen trolleys just didn’t appeal to me though, so I improvised with a baby change table. Yep, you read that correctly. I found a white 3-shelf change table that has become a multi-purpose unit right by my kitchen. Great for storage, displaying, and of course – chopping! $59 from IKEA.

I picked up a fiberglass round laptop table that was the perfect height against my mini-couch. I figured I could use it to store remote controls, some fresh flowers, a magazine and a candle – a nice homey touch. I also often use this as a dining table or as a conversational table while enjoying a wine or coffee with a friend. This gem was $39 and wipes up a treat!

20130207-141845.jpgMIRROR, MIRROR
Any interior decorator would walk straight into a studio and tell you it needs a mirror. Mirrors create false space and the illusion a room is bigger than it actually is. It also reflects light into spaces of your apartment that may be lacking it. I got a brushed silver/champagne toned floor-standing mirror. It looks somewhat antique to me and given its size and weight, I could not believe it was only $99! You guessed it – IKEA!

That’s it for the bulky items in my studio. I kept it simple with clean-lines, whites and silvers, to keep the space wide-open. I personalized the space by decorating in shades of white, fuchsia, charcoal and silver. Nothing major – a photo frame here and there (Walgreens have a super cool app where¬†you can print your iPhone or iPad images… Pictures of my family and friends have made my apartment more “mine”), some self-made artwork (in IKEA frames, which ranged from $4.95 up to $19.95 each), a couple of throw rugs and cushions (29.95 and under) and, of course, my 32′ LCD TV, which I was able to pick up brand new from PC Richards for under $200! IKEA also had these great white industrial stools for $5.95 that I use to pile magazines on, use as a side table and as a stool at my window workstation. And they are stackable – brilliant!

Some people get touchy about the quality of towels and linen… But when you are starting out, a towel is a towel, right? IKEA has a great selection of towels and linen and I can honestly say every single night when I get into bed I think to myself how amazing my linen feels! Don’t knock it until you have tried it!

Believe it or not, I furnished, decorated and filled my apartment with household necessities and goods for $2000! That includes my handyman, my first visit to the grocery store… Even the little things like light globes and candles. $2000!

Getting your first own place is a big deal… But it doesn’t mean it has to send you broke! Do your research (I was glued to Google in the week leading up to my Decorating Day), be prepared to go a little over budget, but also don’t get things you don’t need (I bought a set-of-three plates knowing I would never have the need for an entire dinner set!). This is your place… Put your own personalized stamp on it, for less.



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Alexandra is a self-confessed homemaker with light OCD tendencies - always likes to have her home ready for that next unexpected guest. From fresh blooming flowers to perfectly positioned throw cushions, Alexandra finds joy in creating a divine space for endless entertaining and memories. But what Alexandra has found in her quest for stunning apartments and perfect, respectful housemates to go with them is that we each have very differing opinions of clean and beautiful. That's all part of the process though, she says - from dealing with precious yet pushy brokers, to bills, housemate's boyfriend who never seems to leave, and whose turn it is to buy toilet roll!

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Comments (3)

  1. Avatar Andy

    Furnish any home could be difficult especially during the planning phase because it can be difficult to imagine whether something matches or not.

    Well, we built a free iPhone app for that (with Ikea furniture).

    We hope this helps :)

  2. Alexandra Hill Alexandra Hill

    Hi Kiera,

    Whether you have $200 or $2000, you sound much like me in the fact that you have enjoyed the process. Having a space of your own that has personalized touches on it can make even the most foreign place feel like home.

    You were very fortunate to have the bed and couch situation sorted by your landlord! And you are right – it’s amazing what some throw cushions, photo frames and the likes can do to liven thing up a little!

    Well done!


  3. Avatar kiera

    When I moved in my studio, i was fortunate to not have to not have to worry about a bed and my landlady provided a decent enough couch (nothing a few decorative pillows couldn’t fix.) My actually decorating budget was only $200. With this I purchased a bookshelf, lots of frames for art, a rug, decorate and buy storage for my bathroom. Due to a very limited budget, I had to build over time, but Ive loved the process of building my own space and making it my own. I wish I had the luxury of $2000!

    IKEA has been great, of course. Ive also had some help from thrift stores, Target and etsy.