Apartment Living

How to Source Cool Furniture on a Budget

Congratulations! You’ve landed your first apartment. The lease is signed, the deposits are paid, and you have some really awesome roommates. Now, comes the fun part … furnishing and decorating your new place. The problem is … you’ve spent all your money on deposits and moving … where are you going to find cool, good-quality furniture on a shoestring budget? If you don’t have the time, patience, or aptitude to assemble imported pieces, don’t despair. Here are some ideas for sourcing nice furniture that will last a long time and that you will be proud of.

Thrift stores, antique shops, and consignment stores

This is a fun way to explore a new city. Scouring thrift stores and antique shops can be a treasure hunt. Many times, people will donate their gently used furnishings instead of trying to sell them. You can find quality pieces for a fraction of what you’d pay retail. These are the places where you can find vintage and period pieces that you’re not going to find anyplace else. If you enjoy getting your hands dirty, some pieces could use some TLC and can usually be negotiated down in price.

Estate sales

Get on the email list for some of the local estate sales. You’ll receive a notice several days prior to the sale which will include photos and descriptions of all the merchandise. Since all items in the home will be sold together, this is a great opportunity to pick up dining rooms sets or matching sectionals for a common area in your apartment. Estate sales are also great for small kitchen appliances and dishes. Typically, with estate sales, the prices are reduced each day. If you wait until the last day, you run the risk of not finding what you need; OTOH, you could find some great bargains.

Garage/yard sales

Garage sale season starts around April and runs through the fall. People may be moving, remodeling, or just cleaning out their houses. In any case, you can find some steals as prices will be much lower than what you’d find in an antique shop or estate sale. People are eager to unload their “junk” on someone else and are willing to bargain. One tip is to hit the road early and make an entire day of it.

Dumpster diving

Don’t laugh. You would be surprised at what you will find sitting by the curbside. In fact, many times, people will set items on the curb or by their dumpster in hopes that somebody else will salvage them. As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash … “ Oftentimes, you can find furniture that’s in good shape but maybe needs a coat of paint or stain or other minor repairs. Give it a try.


Do some searching and you can find websites where you can buy used or hand-crafted furniture. Etsy is one example. You can find unique, bespoke pieces that nobody else will own. The only drawback to sourcing furniture online will be the shipping costs; however, some vendors will ship for free. It’s worth looking into for that one item that will make people go “Wow!”

Get creative will your furniture shopping and have fun in the process. One tip is to get friendly with somebody who owns a truck or van who can haul your treasures home for you. You will save money and have a furnished apartment that will feel uniquely home.

Vision has move-in Ready Floorplans

At Vision Communities, our 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartment units are open, spacious, ready for new to you furniture. If you are looking for a great community, learn more about living in a Vision Community and explore our available floor plans near you.