Tips For Furnishing Your First Apartment

September 4, 2019

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A lot of people in Boston are moving right now as school season is upon us (ever heard of Allston Christmas? google it.). Anyway, when moving into your first apartment or maybe a new apartment and not your first, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the number of options for furniture, rugs, art, etc. you come across online and in stores. Even as a Designer, it can be hard to narrow down the selections so I don’t become overwhelmed by the excessive options for my own home. I thought it would be helpful to gather some tips I’ve collected over the years for furnishing a new space. We’ve moved 6 times and 2 of those were across the country, so I definitely have accumulated some strategies along the way.

photo by coley stevens

01. MAKE A LIST & PRIORITIZE

What has been helpful to me in the past is starting with a list of everything I need to purchase and then prioritize the items in order of importance. For instance; a sofa, mattress/bed, and dining table would come before art and throw pillows. I know it’s hard to walk past those cute pillows at Home Goods, but if you have a little patience and the right plan in place, you will be much happier with the result. I highly recommend spending more money on the key pieces like a sofa and a mattress, for example, as they are used most often and you want those pieces to be comfortable and of high-quality. I also recommend purchasing a solid wood dining table vs. engineered wood. The Ready-to-Ship options from Vermont Farm Table are really great because they come to you in a box with an easy set-up and yet, you’re getting a solid, high-quality piece for your home. Vermont Farm Table is my go-to brand for tables and benches as we have had one in our home for over a year now and I can speak to the construction, quality, and wear of the pieces. Tip: You can repurpose your dining table as a desk if you move to a bigger home down the road!

02. DOCUMENT THE SPACE & DESIGN

This one goes with the above as it’s part of the planning phase of outfitting your apartment. You need to know what size furniture will fit in your space and what size rug would go under your table, etc. You need to create a floor plan and measure out every nook and cranny in your apartment. It also helps to draw an elevation of a wall if you plan to hang art so you can see what size you need to be on the lookout for.

I would save all of this information along with photos of your home on your phone so you can reference it at all times. You never know when you may come across a cute shop or see something at Target and you aren’t sure if it will fit. This will save you lots of time and potential return/exchanging headaches. If you have no clue how to draw a floor plan (no judgment!!) or what size rug is appropriate for your space, either partner with a designer or if that’s not in the budget, reference design blogs online for this info.

Start accumulating different pieces you like on a visual board like Pinterest or Instagram as this will help you define your style. Plus, you can plan out your purchases and really visualize the space. I also suggest ordering samples for any fabric, rug, and/or wood piece in your home as they are always a bit different than they look online. Vermont Farm Table offers samples and it’s incredibly helpful to see the wood species in person.

02. PURCHASE STRATEGICALLY

When you’re able to plan ahead, you can typically wait for sales and promotions depending on the brand. For those of you looking for a new table for the Holiday Season, Vermont Farm Table is having a promotion on their tables starting September 12th. There were a lot of Labor Day Sales this past weekend, but now there will be promotions geared toward hosting family/friends for the Holidays so keep an eye out for those!

03. MAKE SMALL, BUT MIGHTY UPDATES

What I mean by small, but mighty is something that doesn’t cost a lot of money but is going to make more of an impactful change to the look of the space. A few ways you can do that, especially for you renters out there, is to…

. paint

. apply removable wallpaper

. there are peel and stick backsplashes that are actually pretty attractive.

. change the hardware on existing cabinetry

. lay down large rugs to cover not attractive flooring

. change out light fixtures (you can always change them back should the landlord request it)

04. UTILIZE FB MARKETPLACE, FLEA MARKETS, AND CRAIGSLIST

Be sure to keep an eye out for furniture, art, rugs, etc. being sold online. You can find such amazing pieces on these platforms, so again, if you have the patience and plan, you can score the perfect find. Don’t forget to keep your measurements and photos of your space on your phone so you can reference them!

05. HAVE FUN!

Don’t forget that outfitting your first apartment is supposed to be fun and full of items you love! Even if you’re blending your items with a roommate’s or partner’s items, be sure to make the process enjoyable. 🙂

SHOP THE READY-TO-SHIP TABLES & BENCHES FROM VERMONT FARM TABLE:

VERMONT FARM TABLE

THE HUNTER DINING TABLE

VERMONT FARM TABLE

THE HUNTER DINING BENCH

VERMONT FARM TABLE

THE GATHERER DINING TABLE

VERMONT FARM TABLE

THE GATHERER DINING BENCH

This post was written in collaboration with Vermont Farm Table. They are kindly gifting us a custom console for our office. Thank you for supporting brands that we love and that support Oh, I Design Studio.

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