When you have an unfurnished apartment, the task of filling it up can be both overwhelming and enjoyable. You probably have a budget to stick to as well.
Fortunately, there are a lot of options and price ranges when it comes to apartment furniture. If you have a small furniture budget, you can stick to yard sales, the local thrift store, consignment stores, garage sales, flea markets, and other ways to obtain cheap furniture. Make sure to shop around and compare prices; used furniture should be significantly lower than the retail price.
Would it be Cheaper to Buy an Unfurnished or Furnished Apartment?
When you consider all the hassle and costs of furnishing a new apartment, it might sometimes seem easier just to rent one that is already furnished. There are a lot of factors to think about here, so let’s have a brief glance at some of these now:
Type of Living Room Furniture (if any)
If you’re a first-time apartment renter, having proper living room furniture might not even be on your radar. Instead, you may want to consider more bedroom furniture or at least a bed frame that can convert into a couch during the day.
Many apartment dwellers are now researching how to turn an apartment living room into a bedroom. Whether you have a one bedroom apartment or a studio apartment, using the same square footage to eke out more private space is quite logical.
Decide What Non-Essential Furniture Is
Some items may be optional for you, but essential for others. Before adding anything to your list, check if it is absolutely important for your daily living and comfort. For instance, some may absolutely need an adjustable floor lamp for their home office, while others can live quite easily without one.
Other items you can decide on include:
- An accent chair
- Side tables for the bedroom and living room
- Dining table (it depends on how often everyone sits down to eat in one place)
- Shower curtain
- TV stand
- Appliances (if not included in the apartment)
- Office chair (depends on whether you work at home frequently or not)
A Lot of Additional Costs
When furnishing an entire apartment, the furniture costs are likely to be quite high. However, it’s not just buying the furniture that you have to budget for. Just a few of the additional considerations include:
● Delivery costs
● Assembly costs
● Storage space costs (in case you need to store the existing furniture)
● Time spent in buying furniture (you may have to lose out on some days of work to shop properly)
● Installation costs
● Cleaning costs (including the cost of cleaning supplies as well)
How Important is Home Decor?
While home decor doesn’t necessarily fall in the category of essential furnishings, it’s still nice to have some unique elements. Your decorations can also be practical (such as a Turkish lamp instead of a regular one or an antique coffee table that can be a great conversation starter).
When you get a furnished apartment, there will probably be some compromise on the kind of decor or theme of your living space. If you get most or all the furniture on your own, you have more control over the feel and personality of the apartment.
Paying in Installments
If you want to get quality stuff for your new apartment, you may have to pay full retail price. However, the upside here is that you can probably get that new dining set or bedroom furniture on installments. This way, you can furnish an apartment and begin paying for the items on a monthly basis. If you go for Facebook yard sale groups or the thrift shops Craigslist has to offer, you’ll have to pay the price right away.
Conducting an Analysis
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis if you have a choice between furnished and unfurnished units in your shortlisted apartment complexes. It may turn out that the cost to furnish is less than the difference between the two options.
The overall cost and effort to furnish an apartment will depend on where you’re shopping, what kind of items you need, and what compromises you’re willing (or not willing) to make. With all this in mind, the question of how much does it cost to furnish an apartment is not easy to answer.
How Much Does it Cost to Furnish an Apartment?
Before you start making rounds at furniture stores, calculating the furniture cost is an important step. Even just an estimate of how much you have to shell out for furnishing your new apartment can help in streamlining your purchases.
Let’s now have a look at the possible furniture you will need to budget for. Also, have a look at what first-time apartment renters should know.
Shortlisting the Apartment Necessities
The decorations and funky items can wait; you first have to buy furniture that will make that new apartment functional. Let’s categorize these and break down the basic cost to furnish now:
Necessities in the Bedroom
The main staples for a functional, practical bedroom include the following:
- A bed frame – a queen-sized one will cost around $500
- A mattress – around $500
- Mattress cover – around $50
- Pillows – depending on size and quality (around $15 to $20 each)
- Bed sheet sets – quality ones may cost upwards of $100 each
- Duvet cover – around $50
- Comforter/blankets – around $150
Overall, the cost to furnish a comfortable bedroom could be around $1,500 to $2,000.
Basics for the Bathroom
The quality of your bathroom purchases will play a large part in determining the cost of supplying this room. While there might not be a need for new furniture, you will need the following:
- Soap – around $5 to $15 per bar/bottle
- Towels (both body and hand) – around $30 per set
- Shower curtain – $45 maximum
- Dustbin – $15 to $25 depending on quality
- Bath mat – around $15 at least
- Toilet paper – $10 to $25
- Toilet cleaner and brush – $15 for both
- Toilet plunger – $10 to $30
All in all, if you get the cheapest items, the cost to furnish a bathroom may cost as little as $100, or even lower.
Furnishing the Kitchen
Most apartments will already have the basic appliances; an oven, dishwasher, fridge, and microwave – some apartment complexes may offer more, some less. Here’s how much it might cost to furnish the rest:
- Silverware (forks, spoons, knives, etc.) – $10 to $35
- Dishes, plates, etc. – $35 to $75
- Glasses, cups, mugs, etc. – $15 to $30 per set
- Coffee maker – $25 to $75 or more
- Toaster – $25 to $50 or more
- Pots and pans with cooking utensils – $50 at least
- Blender – $35 to $100 depending on the brand
- Trash can with bags – $65 to $110
- Dish soap and/or detergent – $5 each
- Kitchen towels – $10 or more
- Oven mitts – $10 to $20
- Baking sheet, aluminum foil, parchment paper – around $6 to $10 each
- Tupperware – $15 to $35
- Dish scrubbers – $5 each
- Drying rack – $10 to $20
Overall, the total cost to furnish a well-equipped kitchen could be anywhere from $400 to $500. This is when you buy only the most essential items in the cheapest price ranges. If you go for the more high-end purchases, even an oven mitt can cost you a lot.
Many small apartments may have the dining area inside the kitchen. If so, you may need to get a dining set. Dining tables alone can cost around $90 to $600, depending on how many people you want them for. The chairs may cost around $100 to $300 each.
This new furniture may also need a tablecloth, napkins, chair covers, etc. However, we won’t consider them absolute necessities just yet. Initially, you probably should look up some tips on how to arrange furniture in a small living room apartment.
Getting Necessary Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies are definitely a necessity, so do factor them in when calculating how much it costs to furnish an apartment. You may need to learn how to reduce dust in an apartment before putting in even a single coffee table. Plus, if you buy furniture, it’s necessary to maintain its look.
Cleaning Supplies (one-time purchase)
Some essential cleaning supplies will last a long time, so we will consider them as one-time purchases. These include:
- A vacuum cleaner – $75 to $300
- Dustpan and broom – $10 to $25
- Laundry baskets – $10 to $35 each
- A mop – $15 to $35
Cleaning Supplies (recurring purchases)
These one-time purchases are connected to some recurring costs as well. These include:
- Mop heads
- Spray cleaners and disinfectants
- Laundry supplies
To be on the safe side, it’s wise to budget around $200 for these recurring purchases in the beginning. If you don’t have a washer and dryer already in the unit or somewhere on the property, visits to the laundromat will also go with the recurring costs.
Overall, one-time and recurring purchases for cleaning will cost you at least $300.
Accounting for Other Essentials
After factoring in the necessities, we now have to decide how to furnish an apartment with the essentials. Technically, we can get by without these purchases, but we shouldn’t really have to. In order to lead a comfortable life, we do need some other items in our home.
- Nightstand/side tables – $180 to $300 each
- Dressing table/chest of drawers – $400 to $800
- Lamps – $25 to $75 each
- Throw pillows – $20 to $50 each
Living Room Essentials
This space is where you’ll feel relaxed. So, the following will be nice to have:
- Couch (two seater to seven-seater) – $400 to $2,500 or more
- Coffee table – $120 to $260
- Floor lamp – $130 to $290
- Side table – $100 to $200
- Area rug – $280 to $480
- TV stand – $400 to $600
- TV – $200 to $800
- Throw pillows or cushions – $20 to $50
The total of these essentials can go from anywhere around $1,500 to $5,000, and above. This wide range is due to the varying prices of furniture. If you get secondhand pieces (or even some curbside treasures), the cost can go down dramatically.
This is a somewhat gray area, as a home office may be a necessity for some. If you can work just as well on the kitchen table, though, a proper office space might be less of an essential and more of a luxury. Nevertheless, with more workplaces allowing for work at home tasks or remote workers, we should factor in such a space in our apartments as well.
This could be a whole room, in which case the costs go up. However, we’ll just consider the basics you need to convert any corner of a small apartment into a home office (let’s assume you already have a personal computer to start with):
- Desk – $100 to $120
- Desk/office chair – $75 to $110
- Shelving – $60 to $200
Overall, you’ll end up spending $200 to $250 for a decent workspace at home.
You may try to stick to the absolute basics, but the reality is that you need to go an extra mile to make it a home. For this, you may need to factor in the following:
● Frames with artwork
● Tools (hammer, nails, screwdrivers)
● Coat rack/hooks
● Welcome mat
The prices of all these essentials (and the list goes on) will again depend on where you purchase them from, their quality, and brands. The time of buying and personal preferences will also play into the answer of how much does it cost to furnish your home.
Even after considering all the categories, necessities, essentials, and other aspects of furnishing, we can’t be sure about the exact prices. If we want to calculate just how much does it cost to furnish an apartment in this day and age, there are several unpredictable factors that can throw us off. You may have some kind friends or family members who can donate or give to you certain appliances, decor items, and more. Some you may already have in your current home. When you go to furnish an apartment, there’s probably very little chance that you’re starting completely from scratch.
Of course, there are also unexpected costs to consider. Some appliances will need servicing or repairs, or some furniture can break during the setup process. This is exactly why it’s important to set up a budget, stick to it, and also leave some wiggle room for emergencies. If the apartment is a rental, don’t do anything that will compromise the refund of your apartment security deposit.
Even if you’re going for the most basic furniture, you can expect to spend around $3,500 to $6,000 quite easily, so start planning and saving today. Here’s hoping the new place is comfortable and perfect for the next chapter in your life!