How To Have an Adult Apartment on a Budget

So you've finally moved into your first place that you care about as an adult, and you want to really put the time and effort into making it a home, but then you start adding up the costs of doing so…

We have all been there, and although you may not have the cash roll to go on a shopping spree at all your favorite furniture stores to make your dream home just yet (and, really, when is that ever the case?), with some patience, research, and shopping in unconventional ways you can turn your first adult apartment into a breathless beauty on a budget.

Shop at Home: The first stop is your parents' home. Start hunting around the house for your favorite items or things that have been tucked in the garage for years. See what they are willing to give up. Don't just stop there — hit up immediate family and friends as well and send out an email asking if anyone has or knows of items that you need or they are getting rid of. Have them over for a nice home cooked meal to say thanks.

Favorite Family Furniture and Heirlooms
In the Family: The Value of Antique & Heirloom Furniture
Antique Shopping at Mom's House

Garage, Estate Sales and Auctions: This is another place to score some one of a kind treasures for next to nothing. Check local listings or drive around town on the weekends and follow the signs.

All About Estate Sales: A Crash Course & Tips for Newbies
What You Need To Know: Furniture Shopping at Estate Sales
What You Need to Know: Furniture Shopping at Auctions

TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods: All of these stores have some great finds at incredibly marked down prices and often get overlooked but they shouldn't.
They are good places to get towels and odd accessories, etc.

Ikea: Ikea has helped out many a home with keeping a modern style at good prices. If you don't have a brick and mortar store in your area you can always shop with them online.

5 Places To Shop For IKEA When There Isn't One Around

Thrift and Consignment: Score some great finds or bring things home that you can re-make to fit your space and style. Great way to get kitchenware, vases, rugs, and appliances, as well as furniture.

Readers' Favorite Vintage, Thrift, & Secondhand Shops

Craigslist, Freecycle and Ebay: Look at free sections first and see what people just need to get rid of asap. Keep your DIY eye open for the stuff you might at first pass over and try to see what potential is there. If you can be patient and not rush to fill the space, you can furnish your apartment with the most incredible finds.

Apartment Therapy Scavenger

Just remember, it's really all about your style, choices, and imagination, not about how much it costs. And, the Apartment Therapy archives are always here to help you tackle those design dilemmas and give you some inspiration along the way.

Have any of your own decoration on a budget wisdom to share? Let us know in the comments...

(Image: Smith Schwartz/Shelby's Sophisticated Studio Loft)

Originally published 3.15.12 - JL

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