10 Things to Save on When You’re Setting Up a Home

updated Jul 31, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Anyone who’s ever moved knows how quickly costs add up when you’re setting up a new home — especially if you’re starting from scratch. Here are 10 places where you can get a chic or custom look without spending too much cash.

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Make a DIY headboard. (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
  1. Headboard: Put off having to buy a new bed for a little longer by pairing a plain old bed frame with a DIY headboard. Use a screen, some framed fabric, a strip of wallpaper, or just paint a headboard on the wall.
  2. Dining and Accent Chairs: Well-made side chairs are frequent thrift store finds, especially if you’re willing to mix and match. If you want inexpensive new chairs in a matching set, shop at a big box store like IKEA and customize your chairs with paint or new fabric seats.
  3. Lamps: Flea markets are great places to scout for lamps on a budget. If you prefer a newer, more contemporary look, we like the choices at all the regular suspects: IKEA, CB2, etc, etc…you’ve heard it before 🙂
  4. Rugs: You can save a lot of money on a rug by purchasing a remnant. Many carpet stores keep them on hand to sell at deep discounts — just be prepared to find sizes that are slightly odd or off. If you need a standard size, check out this post for places to buy rugs on a budget.
  5. Dishes and Silverware: Budget-friendly stores like World Market or CB2 are great places to stock up on cheap, basic dishes for a first apartment. If your tastes are more eclectic, build a collection of mixed-and-matched dishes by shopping at thrift stores and flea markets.
  6. Dressers and Case Pieces: Plentiful at thrift stores, all a dresser needs is a coat of paint and maybe some new hardware to give it new life.
  7. Framing: Save money on framing by buying inexpensive frames (we like these, these, and these). If your artwork’s not a standard size, don’t worry — just visit an art or craft supply store and have a custom mat cut to make your artwork look like it’s been professionally framed.
  8. Curtains: Basic white cotton curtains or sheers go well in almost any home, and it’s not hard to find cheap but decent versions at stores like World Market, IKEA, or Target.
  9. Decorative Accessories: There are tons of places to shop for little details that add a final layer to a room, whether you want to hit up the stores in your local Chinatown or even try scouring the Dollar Store for a couple of carefully chosen knick-knacks. We also frequently try Urban Outfitters for inexpensive and colorful pillows, hooks, and accessories.
  10. Patio or Deck Furniture: It always goes on sale at the end of the summer, and you can find great deals at stores trying to move overstock off the floor. Used patio furniture also shows up frequently on craigslist and in thrift stores — update it with a coat of spraypaint.

10 Common Thrift Store Finds and Ways to Use Them for DIY Projects
10 Ways to Customize a Rental
• Before & After: A Guest Room on the Quick and Cheap

Photos: Sarah Rainwater (1), Sarah Coffey (2), Maxwell Gillingham Ryan (3), Filz Felt (4), World Market (5), Sarah Coffey (6), Pottery Barn (7), World Market (8), Stalagmite Vase from Urban Outfitters (9), Mulberry Street (10)