Moving into your first apartment as a student can feel intimidating. There’s a lot to do and you’re working on a tight budget. You need furniture for your new apartment, but money is tight. As long as you’re a smart shopper, you can save money on all the furniture you need.

Head to a Second-Hand Store – Check to see if there are any second-hand furniture stores nearby. You can find great deals on second-hand furniture close to home. If you have access to a car, you can go further afield in your search. If you don’t have a car and you’re lucky enough to live in a busy urban neighborhood, consider getting your roommates together and hauling it down the sidewalk. If you’re not used to city living, you might be surprised to see how common it is in student neighborhoods.

Student apartment on a budget

Buy Furniture Online – How much furniture you need depends on whether you’re living alone or with roommates, and what you’re bringing from home. While many students move in with their bed, bookshelves, and desk from home, if you’re going to school far from home, you may be starting from scratch. You can save money and make sure your furniture arrives right on time by shopping online. Here’s a quick check list when you’re hunting for online deals:

  • Bed & mattress
  • Duvets & pillows
  • Desk (especially important for students)
  • Lamps (not all apartments have great lighting)
  • Sofa (check with your roommates about whether they’ll be coming with one)

Washi Tape – One of the issues you might run into in your first student department is a damage deposit and lease rules that prevent you from drilling holes in the wall, which means it can be difficult to hang up your posters, art, and hooks. Washi tape is a great way to hang up hooks, lights, and posters to enliven your walls without risking your damage deposit or having to fill in holes you’ve made in the walls at the end of your tenancy.

Curtains – You’ve probably seen friends who hang their extra bed sheets from a curtain rod and call it a day, but you can do better. You can find trendy curtains online that won’t break your budget. What should you look for? At this stage in your life, one set of curtains is all you need (and probably all you can afford). A mid-thickness can work in all-seasons, so that it’s not too dark in the summer or too cold in the winter. However, if you’re living in an older building with old, drafty windows, buy the thicker curtains and learn to keep them open the rest of the year when you want light in your bedroom. Some great affordable trends you might want to consider for curtains are natural materials like bamboo, as well as ribbed fabrics like grosgrain.

Lights – Older apartments can leave a lot wanting when it comes to lighting. Fairy lights, candles, and floor lamps will all help add illumination to your new student apartment.

You don’t have to break your budget when you’re furnishing your first apartment. Get together with your roommates to talk about what you need and do some research to find great deals.