How to Furnish Your Apartment on a Budget

Whether trying to furnish a dorm room or a first apartment after college, saving money is key for anyone just starting out on their own. Trying to stock your new pad full of furniture straight off the showroom floor is an expensive proposition that many people just can’t afford. Fortunately, your new place doesn’t have to remain empty for long if you’re willing to accept furniture that has some mileage. Through a little ingenuity and a willingness to drive around town, you can start to furnish your home by using these low cost solutions.

Start with Craigslist

A world full of mystery and wonder, you’ll be surprised at just how many things you can find either on sale or for free on Craigslist. Anyone who’s moved to a new city or from a spacious one bedroom to a tiny studio knows that occasionally you just can’t take everything with. A need to rid themselves of some old furniture will often cause people to place items on Craigslist at a fraction of what they would cost you even at a consignment shop. Occasionally if a move date is right around the corner, or they’re just tired of looking at it, people will even offer to give furniture away for free as long as you are willing to come and pick it up. Just keep an eye out for specific dates people mention they need to move by and give them a call a day or two beforehand to see if you can help take some unwanted furniture off of their hands.


Non-profit community organizations, freecycling groups allow members from around the world to connect with one another when giving away free stuff. In an effort to keep old furniture, toys, and household appliances out of landfills, freecycling groups encourage giving no longer wanted or used items to other members in the community. By joining up with your local organization, you can peruse through the listings of free stuff that other members in your community want to give away. Since the purpose of freecycling is to make the world a little greener, members don’t charge for what they post as available. While the condition of the furniture you receive from freecycling organizations may not always be mint, you certainly can’t complain about the price.

Stretch those Legs

Before the Internet could connect people who had stuff they wanted to give away with others who needed stuff, people would just place unwanted furniture on the sidewalk for who ever walked on by to take. Even in the wireless age, placing furniture on the curb is still a common practice, especially in college towns. Take a stroll around your neighborhood around the beginning and end of each month (the times people most often move), and look around for any discarded furniture. Since insects can nest inside of beds and pieces of furniture, you may only want to take home tables and wooden chairs you find on the curb if the furniture looks to be in questionable condition.


Not everyone considers themselves computer savvy. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have stuff the want out of their house. Community center bulletin boards can be a great source of information about furniture giveaways and upcoming garage sales, another great place to pick up furniture on the cheap.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Timothy Harbolt, a dentist in Salem, Oregon.

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