Apartment High Life: Design On A Budget!

If we’re to believe what we see on television, people living in apartments, whether or not they’re struggling to make ends meet, can all seem to afford high-end furniture and decorations. In reality, many of us, though we may like what we see in fancy catalogues and magazines, cannot afford to spend lavishly. Though it may not be possible to drop 20 grand on a couch, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to set up a well furnished, elegant home that will both impress your friends and express your own aesthetic. Here are some alternative resources that can help you find nice things at low prices.

1. Freecycle and Craigslist

People post ads on Freecycle and Craigslist for furniture, decorations and household goods all the time. Though it may take a little detective work to find the best pieces for the best prices, and though there is a lot of junk out there, there are also many people trying to get a little something for a nice piece of furniture that they don’t have a use for anymore. Sometimes, a couch or bed may have sat in an unused room for years, so even though it isn’t technically new, it could seem like it is. Of course, if you’re handy or have a knack for upholstery, you may be able to take an old piece of furniture and make it appear new again as well, which can save you even more money.

2. Garage and Moving Sales

People who are clearing out their homes or getting ready for a big move may also have furnishings that are lightly used. In some cases, it may be possible to call ahead and find out what types of things will be available. Devoting a weekend to garage sale hopping can be a great way to make treasure out of other people’s junk. What about using old, weathered signs as wall decorations – or old ladders as shelves, racks, or picture frames?

3. Estate Sales

These sales can be a great place to pick up expensive furniture for much less than it would be new. As with the sale of anyone’s personal belongings, there may be a great difference in the quality of the items from one sale to another. Nice pieces may also still be quite expensive, though they are often drastically reduced from the cost of new items. Estate sales are often listed on Craigslist, as well as advertised with signs on the street. They can be a great way to find everything from big furniture and useful basics (like kitchen stuff) to wildly eccentric 60’s decorations, vintage board games or taxidermy, depending on your taste and budget!

4. Used Furniture Stores

The main benefit of these types of stores is that there will be many options available from one central location. For the most part, these stores only sell things that are in reasonably good condition. The main downside to used furniture stores is that the prices may not be as low as you could get working directly with an owner (though you can often still haggle), but pieces will generally be in functional condition. Often a new coat of paint or varnish will make old furniture look much better.

5. Lower-End Retail Stores

Picking up a new piece of furniture for cheap is possible through many different types of retail stores. Target, Walmart and IKEA are all great places to pick up decent furniture for low prices. Of course, in many cases, the prices do reflect the quality, so you shouldn’t be surprised if something new bought cheap breaks down on you within a year. Check out this vestibule made with various inexpensive IKEA pieces!

Inspired to go on a vintage hunt? Apartment Therapy is a great resource for decoration ideas. Have a project you’d like to share?

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