Moving into your first place is exciting — and we know that furnishing your small space can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and…a huge budget buster.

Just rented your first apartment and don’t know where to start furnishing it? Before we begin we would like to congratulate you on finding a place to live in New York –it’s not an easy job. However, as much as you might be looking forward to getting into that sofa that costs as much as a used car, you should probably worry about how to furnish your empty house first.

You are on a budget, so the first thing you should do is prepare a list of items you need and want. Use our free New York City apartment finder tool to find apartments that fit your budget. Now, practice your bargaining skills. Go online to find Craigslist or eBay. By going on these websites, you can negotiate with sellers and save a lot of money.

Once you have found something you like, make sure you mention it to your real estate agent or landlord. If they know you are looking for something specific, they will try to help you. You can also ask friends or family if they have any furniture they can spare.

Remember, renting an apartment in NYC is a big investment, so it’s important to make sure you get the most out of it. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. For the fully furnished rooms for rent in New York see the SharedEasy’s website.

How much furniture can your apartment handle?

In New York City, apartments tend to be smaller than they are in the rest of the country. This makes it easier to cram more stuff into less space. But it also means you should probably be willing to move stuff around when you move in.

For an easy example, consider beds. In New York, the standard full-sized bed is 84 inches long. The standard queen-sized bed is 60 inches long. The standard murphy bed is 34 inches long. If you add 20 inches to the queen-sized bed and 34 inches to the murphy bed, you get 84 inches. That’s the total length of a standard-sized bed and the total length of a standard queen-sized bed.

So, how big should your queen-sized bed be?

The standard size, 84 inches long, is in the middle. If you want a bigger bed, get a queen-sized bed. If you want a smaller bed, get a full-sized bed.

In New York City, standard-sized beds tend to be 60 inches long. If you add a foot to the standard size, you get 84 inches. That’s the length of a standard queen-sized bed. Here are two things to consider:

  • If you want a bigger bed, get a queen-sized bed. If you want a smaller bed, get a full-sized bed.
  • If you fit the same size bed in your apartment, you won’t need a Murphy bed.

Essentials

Size matters. This includes the size and type of furniture. Size matters, too, for the amount of furniture you can buy. The biggest mistake people make is to buy furniture that is too big. If you have an empty apartment and fill it with two of everything: a bed, a nightstand, a dresser, and a desk. Because it looks neat.

The fact is that two people living on top of each other don’t need that much furniture. If you want to save money, don’t buy the first piece of furniture you see. It has to fit.

Furniture also needs to be useful. A couch is a couch, but a futon can be several things: a couch, and a bed. A desk has to be a desk, not a bed or a dinner table. When you spend a few thousand dollars on a bed, you don’t get a lot of use out of it.

Finding affordable furniture in New York

In New York City, used furniture tends to run between $500 and $1,000, depending on the size. That’s a lot more than a new couch, but not too much more.

You can find used couches on Craigslist, but that’s time-consuming. You have to search all the ads and sift through all the photos, and then drive to the seller’s place and haggle. The Offer Up and Let Go apps are designed for buyers, not sellers. You install them on your phone and take a picture of the furniture you like. They automatically send you notifications whenever someone near New York is selling something you like. You download that notification to your phone, drive to the sellers, and buy it.

The sellers pay a commission, so you pay less. You pay $50 to Offer Up, and 10 percent to Let Go. But you also save time. (And you don’t have to drive out to the country, where used furniture is usually cheaper.)

The advantage is greatest when you’re buying new furniture. When you buy a couch, sofa or table, you usually don’t just get it home, set it down, and forget about it. You have to rearrange your room, and that takes time. It’s no different for furniture you buy used, except that now you don’t have to spend all that time.

Takeaway

You might still want to spend an hour or three searching Craigslist and driving around, but it’s a small investment compared to the time you’ve saved on shopping. The earlier you catch a good piece of furniture, the cheaper it will be.