Top Tips on How to Furnish an Apartment

Photo, Timothy Buck.


Top Tips on How to Furnish an Apartment

City living is a liberating experience, but it can be expensive. Follow these tips on how to furnish an apartment on a budget...

Living in the city is an amazing experience. Being at the centre of all the cultural and entertainment venues really lets you experience the soul of a city. Each city has its own personality and one of the best ways to get to know it is to experience it for yourself. But if you want to enjoy all the city has to offer, you might want to know how to furnish an apartment on a budget.

As great as city living is, it’s also very expensive, and you won’t get a lot of square footage for your money. In New York, the average size of a Manhattan apartment is 733 square feet (Source: In fact, you could probably get a good-sized house in another part of the country for the price you would pay in a popular city. A one-bedroom apartment in central LA will cost you $1,949 per month in rent. That is a lot of money for one bedroom.

If you’re buying your own place, then you have a lot of leeways to make changes. If you’re renting, you may not be allowed to do any significant work, but if you’re planning on being in the same apartment for a while, then it’s worth doing a bit of work to make it feel like home.

So how do you make your apartment your own when you’re tight on space and on money?

Tips Furnish Your Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Indira Tjokorda.

Use Online Discount Codes

There are great bargains to be found online, and if you know where to look, you can find discount codes and vouchers to save you even more money. Sites like can save you money on furniture, decor, furnishings, and kitchenware. You can find thousands of attractive products on these sites, from custom cabinets to high-quality cooking utensils. Don’t buy anything before checking them out.

Visit Flea Markets

Flea markets and car boot sales are great places to pick up unique little items for next to nothing. Most cities host these markets periodically and you’re sure to find some items with character.

Tips Furnish Your City Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Patrick Perkins.

Scour eBay and Craigslist

These two sites are sure-fire ways to find almost anything you need for your apartment. From furniture to kitchenware, one person’s unwanted item could be the talking point of your entire apartment.

Be patient though, you might not find it on eBay immediately but you can save a search and it will email you when any items that fit your profile show up for sale. There are often items listed for free. The owner might just need to be rid of quickly. Then you really do have a bargain.

Tips Furnish Your Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Jarritos Mexican Soda.

Get Creative And Upcycle

There is a whole subculture dedicated to upcycling furniture. Creatively reusing tired or unwanted pieces of furniture and giving them a new lease of life is a great way to save money, and prevent waste. You’ll be amazed at the ways in which you can transform a piece of furniture for a very small amount of money.

You’ll find all the inspiration you need online as you watch people turn chests of drawers into drinks cabinets and old packing crates into sofas. You really are only limited by your imagination and your creative skills.

Upcycling isn’t only for old, worn-out furniture either. Perhaps you have a piece of modern, mass-produced furniture that you find uninspiring, well there are plenty of hacks for that too. Just Google ‘Ikea Furniture Hacks’ and you’ll never look at your bookcase in the same way again.

Tips Furnish Your Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Charles Deluvio.

Head To Social Media For Inspiration

Not everyone is brimming with creative interior design ideas. Many people need to see something they like first and take inspiration from that to use in their apartment. Luckily, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest are a treasure trove of budget transformation ideas for your apartment. Just seeing what other people are creating with a bit of imagination and a few hundred bucks. In fact, you’ll probably have difficulty choosing an idea because there are so many.

Tips Furnish Your City Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Emily Wang.

Choose Multitasking Furniture

When space is at such a premium, you can’t have anything in your apartment that isn’t earning its keep. Choose furniture that can be used as more than one thing, such as a coffee table that doubles as a storage chest, a sofa bed or Murphy Bed, or a bed with storage space underneath it for clothes and linens.

A small bookcase can be used next to a sofa to be used as a side table to rest a lamp or coaster on, but also store books and magazines at the same time. One of the most versatile pieces of furniture is a bar trolley. You can use it to store items on, as a moveable unit, or even place it next to your bed to double up as a bedside table.

There are a number of furniture designers who are creating really amazing pieces of furniture for small spaces, such as desks that fold up into a decorative wall decoration, or small dining tables that extend to accommodate more people when you need it to.

Tips Furnish Your Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Liana Mikah.

Use Light Colours To Create Space

Painting your walls a light colour throughout the apartment will create the illusion of brightness and space. Utilising the same colour throughout will also bring a flow through the property. You don’t have to stick to bright white, there are some great neutral colour pallets and finishes to choose from. Dark colours will overwhelm a small space.

Add Some Colour Too

Don’t worry about your apartment looking too clinical after you’ve painted the walls a light, neutral colour, you can still add plenty of little touches to add personality. Break up the white paint with bursts of colour and patterns in your drapes, bed linens, cushions, and rugs. Place these pops of colour throughout your apartment to draw the eye and make the whole space seem larger.

Use Mirrors

Mirrors are not only useful for checking out our reflection, they are one of the best ways of creating a feeling of openness and space in a home. A large mirror will reflect the room, giving the impression that it is almost like a window.

Tips Furnish Your City Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Nathan Van Egmond.

Use The Height Of Your Rooms

You’re probably limited in the amount of floor space you have, but there are a number of ways to utilise the unused height of your apartment. Create amply storage space with floor to ceiling shelving units. Install wall shelving units throughout the apartment to save that precious floor space. Instead of floor lamps that can take up space, find lamps that can be mounted onto the wall or furniture.

Choose Light Colours For Furniture

The colour of the furniture you choose is just as important as the size of it. A small apartment can’t handle large mahogany statement pieces. Instead, look for materials such as glass or acrylic. They will let the light flow through them, while still fulfilling their primary function.

Tips Furnish Your Apartment On A Budget

Photo, Prudence Earl.


The accessories you choose for your apartment can make the biggest visual impact and let you feel like the place is really your own. Best of all, they’re portable, so if you’re renting, you can just take them with you when you move. Again, flea markets and the internet are your friends when looking for interesting vintage and handmade items. Look out for mirrors, books, photo frames, vintage napkins, and cushions.

Add Some Greenery

Houseplants can really make a house a home. They are cheap too. If you’re away a lot of not very green-fingered, try a hardier plant such as a succulent, which you’ll very easy to care for.


Make the most of your city living adventure by creating the perfect apartment that reflects your personality. By being clever with your budget and using some proven interior design techniques, you can turn that small apartment into a haven.