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Furnishing Your Apartment: What to Save & What to Splurge On

April 17, 2020

Furnishing a new apartment is an exciting prospect, but also feels overwhelming. What do we splurge on and where do we save? 

Whether you're about to take a step up financially, are moving out next year, or have kids who are growing fast, it takes some consideration to furnish an apartment with the right balance of everything we want and need.

Of course, everyone's situation is different. So, pick and choose what makes the most sense for your apartment from our roundup of suggestions. 

What to Save and Splurge on in the Kitchen

Give your apartment kitchen an upgrade with these splurge-worthy suggestions. Skimp on the rest.


Wine fridge: If you're renting, your landlord likely pays for your fridge and appliance maintenance. However, a wine fridge can offer a luxury splurge for entertaining or to house your favorite wines. Make sure to double-check your lease or speak to the property management before you invest.

Stand-up mixer and quality kitchen appliances: Love to bake and cook all weekend long? Whip up your culinary creations in a quality, stand-up mixer that’s the envy of the pros. Coffee connoisseurs should also pay a little extra for a quality drip machine and grinder.

Kitchen island: Your apartment's kitchen may not offer the space you need for entertaining and gathering with friends. Try adding a rolling kitchen island to the mix. That’ll create more counter space and storage, and can also roll right into your dining area as a serving station. 


Dishes, glasses, serving utensils: Stock up on the basics. But these items are susceptible to lots of wear and tear, especially if it's your first apartment or you have roommates.

Dining table: Unless you have frequent dinner parties, you probably won't use your dining table that much. If you prefer to eat while watching Netflix on the couch… we won't judge!

Pots and pans: Everyone needs some essential cookware. However, you don't need to invest in an expensive set of pots and pans unless you're planning to turn pro with your culinary ambitions. Even cast iron skillets can be inexpensive and last for decades.

What to Save and Splurge on in the Living Room

Depending on your lifestyle and layout of your apartment, you'll probably spend a ton of time in the living room. Make sure it's comfortable and a place you enjoy relaxing in.


Couch or sofa: You'll likely sit on the couch or sofa more than anywhere else in your apartment. So, make sure it's comfortable for years to come. If you live with a roommate or significant other, consider a sectional for an optimal couch-laying setup.

Statement decor: A gorgeous rug, a painting from a local artist, and signature pieces can create a focal point to your room. They can also help you redefine your living room space. 

Lighting: Good lighting can make or break the vibe around your apartment. Create a lighting scheme with lamps or other touches that will create an illuminated foundation for your living room.

Office furniture: If you work from home, especially amidst the "remote work experiment," you need a comforting space. However, a corner of your bedroom or living room will do if you don't have a dedicated office space in your apartment. A nice work setup will make you much more productive and comfortable.


Storage: We all need some storage in our lives. However, clear bins and an inexpensive table will do the trick. 

Accent chairs: If we're honest with ourselves, we despise sitting in those accent chairs. Everyone wants a comfy place to sit instead, like the couch. Instead, purchase an accent ottoman with hidden storage space. That can double as a stray seat. 

Coffee and end tables: Tables help create storage and dimension in your living room, but you can skip the fancy coffee and end tables. Just find something affordable to put a cup on that can endure some wear and tear for the time being. They might not be the most quality materials, but they'll look great and do the job for now.

Small and trendy art decor: Do we really need to turn our apartments into galleries with small, stylish art and decor that serves no real purpose? Focus on signature pieces to set the mood instead. If you are going to buy smaller pieces, buy them cheap.

What to Save and Splurge on in the Bathroom

Apartment bathrooms often leave a lot to be desired. The lighting, decor, and layout are usually serviceable at best, so dress it up with a few splurges. 


Showerhead: Skimping on the showerhead could end up costing you money with water leaks, longer showers due to low water pressure, and overall frustration. Create a more luxurious shower experience with a quality showerhead that feels like a spa. Who doesn't love that?

Faucet head: Just like the showerhead, a durable faucet head can make your bathroom feel like you're really adulting. Bonus points if you find one that adds a boost to your bathroom decor.

Bath linens: Let's move on from those tired, thin towels and other linens. Investing in quality bath linens can save you money in the long run by holding up against wear and tear.


Bath mat: Bath mats are breeding grounds for dirt and germs and are easily washable. Get something inexpensive in your favorite color and move on. 

Shower curtain: Shower curtains collect mold. You can wash or toss those easily. They're also a fun way to express your creative side. So, purchase something you can replace without your budget taking a hit.

Storage Containers: Why spend a fortune on bathroom containers when cheap options exist in most grocery or home stores? Grab what you need and place them in your bathroom drawers and cabinets. 

Wastebasket: No need to go crazy splurging on a luxury wastebasket. Opt for something simple, cheap, and nice enough to blend in with your bathroom decor.

Mirrors: Mirrors are all relatively standard and don't require an antique store crawl to find a cute one. Purchase something inexpensive and functional to make sure you look presentable before work each day. 

What to Save and Splurge on in the Bedroom

Your bedroom offers a personal sanctuary in your apartment and deserves some attention. Here's what to splurge on and what to do on the cheap. 


Mattress and main pillows: When it comes to your bedroom, comfort is crucial. It can help you sleep better and boost your daily productivity. If your budget is stretched thin, purchase a mattress pad as a cheaper alternative to snag some luxury comfort for yourself.

Headboard: The headboard is likely the focal point. It can transform your space from feeling like a dorm room to a bedroom fit for grown-ups.

Statement decor: Show off your personality and style with some long-lasting statement decor to give your bedroom a lift. 


Nightstands: Bedside tables are convenient but are also subject to wear and tear. There are plenty of affordable options and used tables on the marketplace to choose from. 

Decorative accessories: Minimalism is in. Think wall prints, mini sculptures, and hanging crystals to reflect the light from your windows.

Decorative pillows: Most people don't sleep on their decorative pillows. So, there's no need to spend a small fortune on them. Purchase something inexpensive and stylish to bring the look of your bedroom together.

Sheets: It's surprisingly easy to fake the look of high-end bedding with microfiber options, especially when using a neutral palette. However, you might need an upgrade if you have sensitive skin or allergies to contend with.

Final Thoughts

Ready to go home shopping for your apartment? Transform your apartment into a home with a few key splurges and inexpensive upgrades. Adulting never felt so fun.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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