Got a place to live? Check. Got any furniture to go inside? Whether it’s your very first place, or simply the latest move of many, buying furniture for your apartment can be daunting. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
Before you buy anything, take some measuring tape with you to your new apartment. Write down the dimensions of every room, including the hallways and doors. Just because a piece will fit inside the room doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get it in there! If you’re not on the ground floor, measure the elevator and stairwell as well. Inside each room, don’t forget to measure closets, windows and cabinets. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it!
2. Make a Plan
Draw out a diagram of your apartment’s floorplan, and label it with the measurements you took. Take inventory of any existing pieces you have, and note their dimensions. You can even cut out scale models of your pieces that can be arranged and rearranged quickly on top of the diagram! It’s a lot easier to move little pieces of paper than buying furniture for your apartment, moving it in, and then shuffling it all around.
3. Get Creative
Can any of your furniture pieces do double-duty? When you’re low on space, make everything in your house really count. For example, a daybed with extra pillows or a futon can double as a couch during the daytime. Or a dresser with a chair nearby can also be a desk. Extra chairs can be used as nightstands, and pulled out when you need more seating.
4. Cover the basics
If you’re starting from scratch, keep in mind that you really just need three things: a place to sleep, a place to sit, and a place to eat. Just think: a sleeper sofa with a coffee table could be enough! Once you’ve satisfied those necessities, start thinking about storage. Moving is a great chance to evaluate your belongings as well. Are they all really necessary?
5. Find what you need
First, remember to take it slow- your apartment doesn’t need to be picture-perfect overnight. As you shop for furniture, bring your room measurements with you. You may fall in love with that big, oversized armchair at the store, but if it takes up half your living room, you might not love it as much at home. For chairs, beds, sofas, and anything you sit on, be sure to try it first and make sure it’s comfortable. Those dining chairs you saw online may look elegant, but if you can’t sit comfortably for more than a few minutes, they might not be the best choice for your home.
6. Work with your budget
Ready to start shopping? There are furniture stores in every price range and style, online shops that offer everything under the sun, and big-box retailers that can always cover your basics. On the other hand, furniture can be pretty expensive. If you’re willing to put a little more time and energy into it, scouring garage sales, craigslist ads, and thrift stores can yield some amazing results. As a rule of thumb, mattresses and upholstered pieces should be bought new to avoid bringing unwanted guests into your home (hello, bedbugs!). But for everything else, you can often find higher-quality pieces secondhand for a fraction of the price.
With a little preparation and a little creativity, you’re sure to find everything you need. And last but not least, don't forget to have fun furnishing your apartment!