By in Fashion

First Apartment? Start with Furniture Essentials

Two years ago we made a cross-country move with little more than a suitcase per person in the family. Now that we're beginning to feel settled in our new home, it's getting to be time to start planning for MamaOzzy3881 leaving home.

College here means living away from home, so now we have to plan for housing in addition to her education. While dorm life is a strong possibility, especially for the first year, she'll likely want to get an apartment in the not so distant future. Here are some of the essential furnishings she'll need. I'm starting to think about the possibilities, and we'll try to pick up these first apartment essentials from thrift shops over the next year or two so she'll be set for her own space.

1) Window coverings

Curtains aren't usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of furnishing essentials, but everyone needs their privacy. At least in the bedroom and bathroom.

A lot of students use old bed sheets or flags to cover the windows, and I can remember turning old lace table runners and scarves into pretty curtains for my kitchen windows. Of course if you're handy you can always sew curtains or make window coverings out of crochet, beading, and even upcycled bottle caps or milk jugs. Don't forget the curtain rods and a shower curtain too!

2) Bed

If you're going to get anything at all done, you need a good night's sleep. If you can, invest a bit in your bed. It will be more comfortable, and last a lot longer. Bed frames can often be had at thrift shops, garage sales, and so on. While you may not be comfortable using a second-hand mattress, these can be had too.

Think utilitarian when shopping for a bed. Captain's beds, beds with storage in the headboard, and futons or daybeds are all good examples of beds that will do double duty for you. If you are sharing with a roommate, you might even want to consider bunk beds, or those beds that have integrated desks or wardrobes. This type of furniture saves both space and money.

3) Comfortable chair

Unless your bed doubles as seating, you'll want at least one comfortable chair in your first apartment. Offer it to a guest, when you have company. When you're alone it will be a nice change from sitting on milk crates or the floor! When we moved to the West and had to start all over, my comfortable chair was a lovely teal blue glider and ottoman pair, that was given to us by a friend.

If you're not lucky enough to be given an armchair or rocker, prowl the thrift shops and check online for virtual garage sales and giveaway groups like Freecycle. Even if the upholstery isn't perfect, you can always drape it with an afghan or make a pretty slipcover for it. If a decent chair can't be had affordably, consider making a bean bag chair or creating an upcycled loveseat from an old bed frame or a discarded clawfoot bathtub .

4) Kitchen table

You don't need anything fancy, but it does help to have a firm surface for food preparation and eating, doing homework, ironing and so on. If you're living alone you might make do with a card table, bed tray, or one of those wall-mounted drop-leaf tables from Ikea. Back in college I had a friend who used to serve me supper at his place on a small, low table similar to a bed tray. We would eat our meals Japanese style, sitting on the floor.

| | | | | |

Image credit: Bottle cap curtain by Alpha/Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Note: This content has been adapted from an original piece by the author, which has since been removed from Bubblews

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


grandma20121 wrote on March 12, 2015, 4:37 PM

yup when first starting out on your own you really do need just about everything but start with the basics is a good idea

cinnafire wrote on March 12, 2015, 4:41 PM

Don't forget the TV and computer. Major necessities these days.

JeanC wrote on March 12, 2015, 5:26 PM

Oh the memories, the first apartment emoticon :smile: I lucked out in that mine came with the kitchen table and something that was called a couch (a homemade contraption of a platform on legs with cushions that served as a bed until I picked on up 2nd hand).

Ellis wrote on March 12, 2015, 6:49 PM

You also need a good phone with plenty of credit in order to phone your folks ...and

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on March 12, 2015, 9:47 PM

I remember when I moved to a new apartment the bed was the only thing I bought but the others were 2nd hand sofa, tables and chairs, even the kitchen table my boy friend even took things that other people put out for the trash we just cleaned it up and covered with a pretty blanket. My sofa 2nd hand lasted e 2 years :)

CoralLevang wrote on March 13, 2015, 10:43 AM

My first couch was a yard sale find for $5.00. It was a bright yellow shell of covered particle board with a black vinyl seating (one piece) with big buttons. I don't know how else to explain it and have no pictures. LOL

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on March 13, 2015, 4:04 PM

This brings to mind when I moved into my first apartment. My mother drove to Tennessee with my mattress set on top of the station wagon, and the inside crammed full including a dorm refrigerator strapped into the passenger seat beside her.

seren3 wrote on March 13, 2015, 10:32 PM

Wow - flashbacks to my first apartments!

scheng1 wrote on March 14, 2015, 7:48 AM

No wonder the real estate investors love to invest in college towns.

valmnz wrote on March 18, 2015, 8:51 PM

Good advice here, especially the idea of starting to gather things before they're needed. Love the photo of the bottle cap curtain you've used here.