Furnishing a Small Apartment: 10 Tips for Finding Great Furniture

September 9, 2011 | Apartment Décor, DIY Home Improvement

It’s time to furnish your new apartment. Lucky you—this is the fun part, right? Finding the perfect furniture for your new apartment or home can be a lot of fun, but it can also quickly turn into a big headache if you don’t take the right approach. Doing some advance planning around your furniture needs can save you a lot of money in the long run. So, before you shell out big bucks for furniture, review these tips on how to furnish a small apartment.

10 Tips for Furnishing a Small Apartment:

  1. Assess Your Space: Before buying any furniture, you should calculate the amount of space you have in each room of your apartment. When you’re picking pieces, remember how much space you have, and choose the number of pieces and furniture sizes accordingly. Also, factor in the height of your ceilings, shapes of windows, and the amount of light in the room. Tall chairs in a short room can make the room feel even shorter, whereas an armoire or entertainment unit that nearly touches the ceiling can make the room feel taller. Dark furniture in a dark room can bring you down. If you get lots of natural light, take advantage of it, but if you don’t, try to lighten up the room with bright or pastel décor.

  2. Search Online: You definitely want to take advantage of the Internet when you’re doing your furniture shopping. You could easily spend all day in one furniture store and not find a single piece that you think is right for you. The Internet also offers a combination of new and used pieces good for the budget-conscious. Shopping on the Internet is like having complete access to a global furniture store that you can search efficiently without ever leaving your chair—or that cushion on the floor if you still don’t have any chairs.

  3. One Room at a Time: Rather than buying a piece here and a piece there, consider buying furniture for one room in your apartment or house, and then moving onto the next one. What one piece looks like may dictate what others in the same room should look like to some extent, so going room by room can make things much easier.

  4. Plan an Arrangement: Try to think about how you want the whole room to look, rather than just picking pieces you like. Remember, you won’t ever just be looking at one piece of furniture, so even if something looks really cool—it just may not fit in your overall furniture scheme.

  5. Bring a Friend: It always helps to have an unbiased eye when you’re picking furniture, whether you’re in the store or online. Sure, your furniture should look how you want it to look, but you may not be seeing things clearly at any particular moment. Bring along a friend with similar, but perhaps not identical, taste and get a little feedback before you make any purchases.

  6. See It Up Close: Once you’ve picked the furniture you like, it’s a good idea to give it a real-world inspection before you buy, even if you’re purchasing online. This isn’t always possible, but if you can see the piece up close, or at least, something just like it, in an actual furniture store, you have a better chance of picking something that you’ll really like over the long haul. Keep in mind the texture of the piece and how it will fit in with your lifestyle.

  7. Know Your Budget: Unfortunately, few of us have an unlimited budget when purchasing furniture. Unless there’s a piece you know you have to have, you might want to consider selecting and pricing your entire furniture purchase beforehand, then cutting or downgrading if you’ve gone over budget. You don’t want to run out of money when you still have two rooms left to furnish.

  8. Know Your Priorities: Be aware of what items you really need for your lifestyle. You may need a stylish desk to work effectively, or it may be a luxury you can forego in order to make sure you have a dishwasher. Know what your furniture needs are, and be able to differentiate them from your furniture wants.

  9. Know Your Traffic Pattern: You’ve got a room all filled out, you know you have enough space, and you know where everything will go. Only problem is, once you’ve furnished your kitchen, you can’t open your refrigerator door. If anyone wants to go to the bathroom, they have to climb over the living room couch. Before settling on a room pattern, make sure you and your guests have easy access to entryways, walking space, and in general, are able to navigate the furniture without difficulty. Your space should be comfortable as well as pleasing to the eye.

  10. Sleep On It: Before you make a purchase, you may want to wait a day. A purchase made in the heat of the moment can lead to years of regret (if you can’t return it). If you can’t get it out of your mind, you probably should trust yourself and get it. But don’t settle on something that is “close” to what you want as a temporary fix because you may be stuck with it longer than you though—and you’ll have to spend more on the item you originally had in mind.

What are your best tips for finding furniture?  

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