How to Furnish Your Studio Apartment on $1,000

The big day has finally come — you’re moving into your brand spanking new studio apartment! You’ve been saving for months (even skipping on dinners out with friends and canceling your Netflix membership to save a few dollars here and there) and now you’ll gonna be out on your own and enjoying life in the big, adult world. Everything is awesome. That is…until you realize that you really didn’t save enough to go all out filling your apartment with fancy furniture buys. Sure, that $1,000 might seem like a lot, but at the end of the day a dollar can only stretch so far.

Let us break the bad news now: what you’ve got stashed away in your bank account is only going to the cover the basics.  That means, you can’t afford that 42″ flat screen TV you’ve had your eye on or that luxury mattress. They have to wait.  For now though, let’s show you how to make the place livable and functional on that $1,000 you’ve got saved up for your new digs.

Click the links to see an example we love that also falls in our set budget ranges! 


via Kmart


Yes, we know you don’t actually have a bedroom in a studio, but we suggest you make one part of the room the “bedroom” area. Most of your budget will go to furnishing this part of your space.  A decent quality mattress/box spring set  and a bed frame with storage underneath will eat at least half of your budget. (For tips on buying your first mattress, check out this article from our blogger Alissa.)  When purchasing your mattress, test it out in a store before buying and always purchase from a company you can trust and that has a reputation for providing warranties and standing up behind their product. A few of our online favorite stores that do just that: 1-800-Mattress, Macy’s, and Ikea.  After the mattress is bought, then worry about filling up your space with smaller, less important furniture items like a nightstand and a dresser.

Tip: Before you buy a mattress, measure doorways and stairwells to make sure the mattress can be delivered to your apartment.  While the mattress may bend a little to get around a corner, the box spring does not.  If your apartment has room for a queen mattress, but stairwell is tight, ask if there is an option for a split box spring.

Mattress and Box Spring – budget $400-500

Bedframe – budget $200

Nightstand – budget $10

Dresser – budget $50 –

Money Saving Tip: Always check  Craigslist and your local thrift stores for a dresser and nightstand. You can often find a cheaper and higher quality items second-hand than a bargain-priced, brand new one. 





Living Room: 

In the “living room” of your studio apartment, make your first purchases count. By that, we mean put your budget toward a futon or couch (many can be found for decent prices at chain stores, such as, Kmart, Walmart and Ikea.) We do not recommend buying upholstered furniture second-hand because of potential bedbug infestation.  However, Craigslist, stoop sales and second-hand stores are perfect for scoring bargain wooden tables that you can check out and “de-bug” before bringing in your apartment.  A storage-friendly ottoman/coffee table is always a great space saver. That’s all you really need to start out…like we said before, you can make non-essential additions over time and as money permits.

Sofa/Guest Bed Futon – budget $150

Storage Ottoman/Coffee Table – budget $50


via Ikea

Dining Area: 

Finally, to get your new studio apartment all ready for living spend a small portion of your $1,000 budget on a dining table and a few chairs. Our personal advice is to choose a table that isn’t too expensive, can double up as a desk when you need it, and that doesn’t take up too much room (or can be collapsed and stored away when you need extra floor space).

Table and Chairs -$70

GRAND TOTAL: $930-$1,030

Veteran apartment-dwellers, what’s your advice for furnishing your first new place on a budget? Share below!

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Author My First Apartment

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Audra is a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer based in her home state of Georgia. She’s a lover of the sweetest Southern tea, warm weather, and decorating with lots of color, DIY projects, and shabby chic pieces. Her apartment living journey is still young, so she’s busy navigating the ups and downs and learning along the way. For more from Audra, follow her on Pinterest or check out her website

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Comments (7)

  1. Avatar Falling Water Apartments

    If there is one thing i can suggest that is to head to larger furniture stores and head to the Clearance section. Often times when I have needed to furnish an apartment on short notice I will go to a larger furniture store who will mark prices down that are old (not more than one year) or even a floor model. By opening your options to these types of furniture you might make your budget easier than before.

  2. Avatar Tanya

    Can someone PLEASE help me!?!
    I have enough furniture to make due in my new place. But the problem I’m having is starting from nothing! Salt and pepper shakers, bathroom stuff like tooth brush holder, soap holder, pretty much all decor for my house. When I say i don’t have much money, I really mean it. Less than you’d imagine :(. I guess I just wanna make it feel like a home. That’s something i haven’t ever had my whole life :(
    I don’t know how to pick the color scemes for my bathroom, and my kitchen, everytime I look it up online it’s all about painting. I won’t be painting. If someone could help me I’d appreciate it so much. I’m so stressed out about this :( I move in in 2 and a half weeks. I don’t have anyone to help me or be there. So I appreciate any help! Thank you :)

    • Admin Admin

      Hi Tanya,
      Don’t be stressed out, be excited about moving into your first apartment! First check out our blogger Doug’s ultimate list of all you’ll need. Then calm down and remember that your apartment will not be furnished overnight. Instead, make a long term furnishing plan.
      To get started on your moving-in day, you’ll need a garbage can, garbage bags, spray cleaner, paper towel, toilet paper, one cooking pot, one frying pan, a wooden spoon and dishes and cutlery for one. For all that small stuff, check out your local dollar store. Next, place all your furniture and make a list of what else you’ll need. Then start checking Craiglist, your local thrift stores,Ikea, Walmart, Target and home furnishing stores. Pick up new things as you find them at good prices and your budget allows. You’ll be surprised how well equipped your apartment will be in a few months.
      Good luck! Let us know how things worked out.

  3. Avatar Mike B.

    I have those Ikea stools and they’re terrific. My apartment is reasonably large, but there’s still not room for a full dining area–the stools stack neatly underneath the table, and the table does double duty as extra countertop space in the kitchen in the 99.9% of the time I’m not entertaining dinner guests. And you can’t beat $5 per stool.

    • Audra Audra

      Hi Mike!

      Glad to hear that you agree! It’s true that you can’t beat $5 per stool, especially when you can tuck them away to save space when needed!

      Thanks for reading!