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