Moving into your first apartment is undeniably exciting, but completely furnishing an empty (and oftentimes small) space can be a little overwhelming (just ask anyone who’s ever set foot in the elaborate maze of furniture and housewares known as Ikea). And for those hoping to do the job on a budget, it becomes even more difficult.
The good news is that furnishing your new place on a budget can be done– it just takes knowing which essential items you should be spending a little more on, and which items you can choose for price over quality.
If you’re getting ready to move into a new apartment, take a look at these must haves you should consider splurging on:
The Perfect Mattress
Even if you don’t buy a single other furnishing for your apartment, you should splurge on a great mattress for your bedroom. A new mattress may be a little pricey, but you’ll be spending an inordinate amount of time on it, so it’s absolutely worth the expense.
Not only will you be more comfortable, but a lousy or old mattress can affect your sleep and cause some aches and pains, which just isn’t worth it (My friend sleeps on an air mattress and complains about it constantly– don’t be like him!). Take your time choosing a new mattress you like, and consider it an investment.
You’ll be able to use it for years to come. Save your money when it comes to buying a bed frame, though. It’s a good idea to start with a basic bedroom setup and wait a few years before splurging on a beautiful headboard.
A Comfy Couch
The second most-used furniture item in an apartment is the couch. As far as essential items go, a big (or small if you have a tiny apartment) comfy couch is both necessary and worthy of a splurge. If you do spend a lot of money on a sofa, though, try to avoid choosing one in a bright color or pattern.
You want this piece of furniture to move with you, so finding a quality couch in a neutral color is the best way to go. While futons may seem like a more useful option than a sofa, only buy one if you’ve had a chance to test its comfort. Futons are known for being uncomfortable, so don’t get stuck with one nobody wants to sit or sleep on.
Nice Kitchen Items
There are a whole slew of kitchen must haves that are worth spending more money on, but there are just as many you can buy on a budget. Spend more on appliances, where quality matters more than price.If you’re buying a coffee maker or a crock pot, for instance, make sure to read reviews, and look for one you’ll be able to use forever.
For other kitchen items, like dishes, cups and utensils, the quality isn’t quite as important. Big-box stores like Target and Wal-Mart, and even dollar stores, often have these kitchen necessities for pretty low prices.
Buying a nice dresser right off the bat is a good idea for a couple of reasons. First, cheaper dressers are often lacking in quality, which means you may find yourself with drawers that don’t work well or a cheaply made frame that’s easily broken.
Not only that, but finding a nice, quality dresser will give you a statement piece of furniture you’ll be able to use in any number of ways in the future. Even if you don’t need a dresser in your bedroom when you move into a new apartment, you can use it for storage in the living or dining area, or even as a television stand.
A Tool Set
Even though most apartments offer maintenance for plumbing mishaps and other issues, having a tool set on hand is absolutely necessary. From hanging shelves, to putting together furniture to making your own decor, you’ll be surprised how often your tool set will come in handy— especially if you’re an HGTV junkie, like me.
Splurge on a nice set with a working power drill, a couple of different screw drivers, a hammer, pliers, measuring tape, and plenty of nails and screws. You’ll be a home improvement expert in no time!
Though a television set may not be on everyone’s “must haves” list, if you do plan on buying one, splurging is a good idea. TVs are pricey no matter which one you buy, but spending extra money now on a larger size and a quality image will hopefully keep you from needing to buy a new one in the next few years.
Believe it or not, splurging on a vacuum is going to protect you from a lot of potential cleaning irritation. Quality vacuums work better, last longer and make the chore a lot easier. While an extravagantly priced vacuum probably won’t be necessary, look for one in the mid-price range for the best results.