Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

10 Ways to Save Money When Furnishing Your Small Apartment

Finding the right furnishings and housewares for your small apartment can be a fun experience. Yet even in a small space this can get expensive fast if you don’t know how to save money on all the basics you’ll need. While apartments generally cost less to buy stuff for than larger homes, based on the limited space you are working with, you can still shop smart and frugally, allowing you to save as much money as possible. You can direct your savings to other needs like throwing your apartment-warming party.

Here are ten simple tips to save money on all your apartment furnishings, décor and other apartment needs:

  1. Buy adaptable pieces. One of the best ways to get more out of your apartment and your lifestyle is to stick to furniture and housewares that serve more than one purpose. This will allow you to adapt and move things around as your needs change, without having to buy more. Choose a high-end futon with a generous cushion to serve as a bed for guests, or benches that double as storage chests. Try adding an armoire for storing either clothes or entertainment items in cramped spaces.
  2. Choose quality over quantity. You are better off spending a few extra dollars on a high quality used piece of furniture for your apartment than buying a cheaply made newer piece. Look for sturdy hardwoods and metals, which offer flexible décor options. A well-made table with simple lines can serve as a desk, a dinette, or a place to tuck a television.
  3. Buy multiples. This might seem counterintuitive with a small apartment, but if you find a good deal on items you like such as dinnerware, bedding, or other apartment needs, it often makes sense to stock up. You’ll very often be able to buy box lots of items or come away with some great bargains buying several pieces from a container store or wholesaler. This will save money and keep you stocked for years to come.
  4. Shop locally. Chances are your neighborhood has several thrift stores or antique stores where you can pick up some amazing deals for pennies on the dollar. Visit these places with an open mind, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need or for a break on a price if something catches your eye. Local retailers will work with you in ways big chain stores will not–plus it supports your community.
  5. Swap or trade. Have something you are looking to replace? Try putting an advertisement on a free community swap of website like Yerdle and ask for something in trade. You may be surprised to find that other people are trying to get rid of something that would be perfect for your place.
  6. Go for impact with art. When it comes down to buying for your apartment, there’s no better investment than a great piece of artwork. Shop your local community stores, head for auctions, and visit the local art colleges for unique artwork to adorn your walls. It will look like you spent a fortune.
  7. Avoid fads. When buying for your apartment, stay away from the latest styles in furnishings and instead opt for the classics in furniture and fabrics. You’ll usually end up with things that last longer and don’t cost as much.
  8. Buy post season. Sales occur after every major holiday, and this can be an opportune time to buy things for less than half of retail. Good things come to those who wait, for clearance sales!
  9. Shop with friends. Your friends are likely to have an eye for style, so be open to going in on deals with them. For example you may need a new living room set, but you don’t need all the pieces. Go with a friend who needs some new tables or a loveseat, and split the cost of a marked down set. You’ll both come out ahead.
  10. Be eclectic. Shopping for an apartment on a budget means that you may need to develop a décor style that mixes and matches pieces. Try adding a few modern things in with classic glamour, for a unique apartment that’s all you.

Decorating and buying for your apartment takes careful planning and strategic shopping. Think about all the ways you can save money and only bring in items that look good for your space, and are made well. Over time, you will want to repurpose these items in other ways, so think ahead as you furnish your place.

Mark Russell writes about apartment living and frugal apartment living tips at Apartment Guys.

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