How I Furnished My Dream Apartment for $510

As an Asian American woman that had parents come from Korea and started their lives from the ground up as adults, we did not value interior design. We would collect furniture off the street, or get the cheapest things purely for function. As long as we had something to put our clothing in, and a place to sleep and study, it really did not matter what it looked like. That being said, I have grown up believing that decorations were a waste of money, and as long as your furniture works, that is all you need.

Because of that, I have never put value in putting time and effort into your environment.

To give a preface about me, I tend to need obsessions time to time, and my obsessions change. I tried to change this about me, but I have learned that this is just the way I am. So I have decided to manage my obsessions in a way that is not damaging financially, wasteful to the environment, or damaging to myself in any way. Hence, furniture shopping seemed to be the safest obsession. Sounds expensive, right? That is where our creativity comes in.

Decorating your apartment to fit how your mind functions, really helps your environment at home (so get to know yourself). I love color. I used to love the beige and white aesthetic, but it was too dull for me. I needed mental stimulation. Some people love the clean beige, white aesthetic, and that gives them their satisfaction. Let me emphasize that everyone is different. For me, the colors give me happiness and safety for some reason. When I switched up my environment, it went from being a storage place where I just sleep and do things, into a safe place that gives me peace and joy.

I am telling you, there is power in interior decorating.

Furnishing your apartment the way that you like will always be a long term game. Whether you are buying everything new, or getting it already used. Every single piece that you buy is going to be a hunt. Which comes to my first point: to furnish your dream apartment, you will need patience.

1. Patience

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

No matter what, you need to be patient with all your finds. Do not settle. You may feel like you want the perfect aesthetic place asap, but if you want to save money, this has to be a long term game. It is a search. You paying full price, is you paying for time. So pick your battles.

2. Places to Shop

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

Stop going to furniture stores and seeing their sales. If you want the nice things for a discounted price, you need to go to thrift stores, facebook marketplace, Mercari, and yard sales.

Thrift Stores: There are stores that sell furniture at discounted prices. These wont be as modern and new, but you can paint over it with a 6 dollar paint can from home depot.

Facebook Marketplace: You need to go on Facebook Marketplace as if it is a social media platform. There are rich people who have clean and new stuff that just want to get their stuff out of their house ASAP. Those go out fast. You need to make a list of what you need, and watch it religiously. You can find some really decent things for cheap prices, but you need to move fast.

Mercari: Very similar to Facebook Marketplace

Yard Sales: These can be really great or really bad, so you gotta just find your charming treasure pieces from yard sales. It doesn’t hurt to check it out!

3. DIY Projects

If you have a couch that is sold cheap because of a stain, go for it and invest in the furniture stain cleaner.

I have this one. It is definitely a little expensive, but in the long run, is way cheaper than buying a brand new piece of furniture. But make sure the furniture you are getting isn’t so bad that its going to waste a lot of your time cleaning it.

Paint your furniture! You don’t like the color? Get some wall paint and gloss, or get some acrylic paint to spice up your furniture. Many wooden pieces are free, and you can just paint over it and save so much money instead of paying over a hundred dollars for a furniture piece.

4. Cheap Decor

You guys are underestimating Five Below. The amount of solid decor from Five Below that is new, is surprising. I paid $20 dollars for each of my couch pillows (paid a total of $120), and then I found perfectly good pillows from five below (cute and aesthetic) and could have gotten a ten dollar bag of cotton and just shoved some more cotton in it to reach my pillow standards!

My Experience

With all of these tips, I got a

  1. L-Couch for $80
  2. Brand New Ottoman for $30
  3. Modern Blue Dining Chairs for $125
  4. Brand New King Size Mattress for FREE
  5. Wooden Dining Table (That I repainted) for FREE (Paint and supplies is +$15)
  6. Bought a NEW Bed Frame for $100
  7. Dresser for $20
  8. Big Floor Length Mirror for $20 (Acrylic Paint for $1)
  9. NEW Couch Pillows for $120

Which comes to a total of $510. Which is less than the price of the couch in it of itself. It just takes patience and work, but your wallet will thank you in the future, and your mental health will also thank you in the future.

Let me know how your furniture scavenger hunt goes!