Everything You Need to Furnish Your First Home on a Budget
****Be sure to read to the end for your free printable shopping list!****
Getting Your Own Place and How to Furnish Your First Home on a Budget
My eldest daughter and her husband of one year just moved into their first home together. They knew they would be “nomading it” for their first year, so they didn’t even register for wedding gifts. They are starting out with very little. My youngest daughter moved into her first place a year ago, and she was starting out with nothing as well. This got me to thinking about what are the top necessities when you get your first place, so I’ve compiled a list of what you need to furnish your first home on a budget.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links, and that means that I may earn a commission if you buy something. Opinions about the products are fully my own.
Hopefully, your first house comes with the main appliances–refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer. If not, those are the first necessities. You can find some pretty good ones on Craigslist or the Facebook yard sale sites, these days, so start there first to save money. You may opt to use a laundromat for a while, but if you can manage at all to find a used or free washer and dryer, you will save a lot of money in the long run.
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Table and Chairs
Next, You will need a kitchen or dining table (It doesn’t have to be big) and four chairs–so you can at least have another couple over–or your parents (hint, hint). Often times you can’t find a matching table and chairs set. Don’t worry. Mix and match is all the rage today. Call it eclectic. 🙂 A decent sofa** or love seat is also great to have, but you could also get by with a couple of living room chairs. You can get all these at great prices used, too. Check yard sales and check with relatives who may have accumulated chairs or furniture that they no longer need. My youngest daughter bought her first table for $15 at Goodwill. It seats 6! I gave her three wooden chairs that we no longer needed, so she has a start. If you’d rather not get second hand, you can find some very affordable furniture online.
Very budget-friendly, the smaller round glass tabletop fits into a small space and, along with the light color wood and fabric, won’t make your room look smaller.
A little bit bigger, this next set of table and chairs for four can be dressed up for a formal dinner if you want. It definitely has a grown-up look here.
Last is a warm wood-toned counter-height table–great for entertaining.
Mattress and Boxsprings
If you have the money to splurge on one thing, make it your mattress and box springs! My husband and I purchased an “okay” mattress when we were first married, but it soon began to sag. I went through three pregnancies trying to sleep on that thing. (Poor me! lol) With my last pregnancy, I ended up sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor! My back just couldn’t handle the lack of support of our mattress. A few years later, we did save our money and bought a better mattress. It changed my world! My husband and I both slept so much better and didn’t wake up with backaches. We wished we had bought one sooner.
To save money, get an all-in-one mattress and a platform bed. Below I’ve chosen a great high-rated mattress at a great price for you. Along with a selection of platform bed frames. The mattress has pocket inner springs for motion isolation (not a lot of bouncing) and three layers of high-density foam on top for comfort and support.
The minimalist wood from and a soft cloth frame with extra storage below:
A classic faux leather frame and contemporary wave-like frame that lights up!
Dresser and Lamps
If you have all these larger items, then it’s time to start thinking about your lamps and dressers. You really can move in without them, but they will make your life much more organized with a dresser and a lamp is much more relaxing to use in the evenings than an overhead light. One dresser per person–or one to share if you must–with enough room to hold all your undergarments and fold-able clothes are important.
If you have a large master bedroom–or an empty second bedroom–you could even get an armoire for that. Those are a dime-a-dozen these days because there are so many people getting rid of them. They used them as TV cabinets and since TVs are bigger now, you can find them at a good price online. If you’re missing a linen closet, these are great for that, too. When our TV outgrew our armoire, that is exactly what it became for me–an extra linen closet.
One lamp for the living room and one for the bedroom should be sufficient to start with. If you get a floor lamp, you won’t need a lamp table or bedside table. But those are easily put together. You can use almost any sturdy boxes or milk crates covered with a cloth, sheet, or table cloth for an end table. I’ve used an old bar stool covered with a cloth and even a folding table (like to eat on) as lamp tables. Be creative!
If you don’t have the time to wait for the right used dresser or lamps to appear on Facebook Marketplace or Goodwill, I’ve found some at great prices with great reviews for you.
This light would be great as a bedside lamp as it has USB charging ports and you just touch it to turn it on and off along with a 3-way light.
This floor light shines up to the ceiling for a soft room light and has two lights angled down for reading, etc.
This next light is great as it has a built-in mini table to put a drink or phone on. No need to buy an end table.
This Shelf Floor lamp with USB ports is an all-in-one lamp table combo that is perfect to fit into a living room or bedroom for extra light and storage/display.
Here is a minimalist list of must-haves for your first home
(My daughter–the nomad–would argue that this is NOT a minimalist list–but then she lived part of the last year in a tent. So we will have to get her true minimalist post another day. 🙂 ) For me, these are the basics to try to get as soon as possible. Most of these can be purchased very inexpensively at a discount store or online:
1 bath towel each plus 1 washcloth each if you use them
2 hand towels
Towel or rug for shower floor
Rug for front door
1 set of sheets
blankets to fit your bed
Dishes for 4 – Large plates, bowls, glasses, 4 mugs, 1 or 2 serving bowls
Utensils: silverware for 4, 2 serving spoons, 1 paring knife, 1 large knife, 1 serrated knife
Cooking: 2 casserole dishes, 1 baking pan 13×9, 1 baking sheet, 1cooking spatula, 1 wooden spoon
2 hot pads
1 toaster or toaster oven
1 microwave, if you use one
1 bookshelf (Okay, this isn’t a necessity because you could keep your books in boxes and stack them, but each of my kids moved out with at least one of mine. For us, it is a necessity!)
Here are a few extras that will make your life so much easier!
With this wish list filled, you will have a comfortable beginning in your new home!
**Note: When buying used furniture with fabric, be sure to find out if it comes from a pet-free, smoke-free home–especially if you have allergies. Someone gave my daughter’s roommate a futon and she didn’t think about the fact that they had cats. My daughter is allergic and she couldn’t sit on that thing without a reaction. :-/
Free Printable Shopping List
Here is a printable shopping list to help you furnish your first home on a budget. Take it with you to the discount and second-hand stores to make sure you cover all the basics. You might even start with your relatives. Show them the list and see what they might have to donate to your worthy cause! ha!
Did I miss any items? Please let me know your must-haves in the comments. Thanks!