Furnishing the Apartment

Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible and then get on with living. There’s more to life than decorating.

– Albert Hadley

Before we moved in, I had been scouring IKEA’s website, getting ideas of what furniture I liked. Since we moved in with no furniture whatsoever, knowing what we wanted beforehand made the trip faster and cheaper.

I know IKEA isn’t always top-of-the line stuff, but man. If you’re looking for a simple, sleek look that’s budget friendly and easy to move from one place to another? IKEA’s the place to be. After a couple hours of wandering and selecting our items, we were able to have it all delivered to us the next day for $59.

We were able to furnish the place for under $1500 at IKEA. We splurged on some curtains and a rug at Target, which changed the entire look of the apartment without adding cheap decorative items.

If I had time, patience and a truck, I could have done it cheaper by making curtains, picking up furniture at thrift stores and waiting on sales. But, I allowed myself to go big to make us all as comfortable as possible in this brand new city. We also wanted to set it all up and move forward with our lives!

Here’s what we got

So, without further ado, I’ll take you through what we got for our 650 square foot apartment. We were careful to distinguish between “necessary” and “unnecessary” pieces as we walked through IKEA. If we were stuck on an item, we’d think about how much it would increase our quality of life.

Living Room

For our “living room” area, we got a large couch and a stackable coffee/side table (from the VITTSJÖ series, one of my favorites). We added an on-sale rug from Target to make it more cozy. We have the couch facing a wall that will eventually have a TV mounted on it, but for now we’re doing just fine without.

My desk is ultra-simple. I tend to clutter my space, so I chose one of the smallest desks I could find. Even though it’s small, there’s still at least three different glasses/mugs on it by the end of the day, as well as random papers and receipts. Why do I do these things? At least I don’t have a huge space to fill up with my nonsense.

In another section of the room, we have our simple bookshelf ($25? Yes please) and painted a little nook with the teal paint from Target. I’ve never painted anything in an apartment before, so this was a big deal in making it feel more permanent.

In the pictures, you’ll also see Rorschach’s humongous cage. It’s gold, making it less of an eyesore than other cages he’s had before. We are going to be adopting another rabbit within the next month or so, and this cage is a perfect size for two to share.

Dining Area

This one was easy: table, two chairs and a cheap rug. I had some spare fabric that looks enough like a table runner to spice it up. Note our curtains – I never knew how much curtains could do for a place until I put these babies up. Everything is so bright and cheerful now!


First, I must tell you a secret. The photo of our bedroom above is carefully cropped. Someday I’ll get a small set of drawers for the random tidbits on the floor (like rabbit food, paperwork and our wireless router). But for now, the only furniture in this room is our bed and a small hamper. There is nothing stored under our bed, which feels nice. It’s so zen!

I may also get a tiny bedside table, but for now I’m using a box we moved our stuff in. Kind of reminds me of Miss Honey’s cottage in Matilda – one of my favorite scenes and illustrations.

Miss Honey’s cottage in Matilda, illustrated by Quentin Blake. Image source

Finishing touches

That’s what we have so far, and I’m happy to say there’s not much more that we need to add. We’re planning on taking our time with wall hangings, getting them secondhand from thrift stores or shopgoodwill.com (an awesome site, by the way).

We’re also on the hunt for a large rug that will fill up the empty space in between our kitchen, living area and dining area. It’s a priority at this point since our little rabbit is getting older and the wood floors are slippery for him.

So, what do you think? Anything that would be a must for you if you started over?



4 thoughts on “Furnishing the Apartment

  1. I really love being able to slowly add quality antiques to our home, but if I had to start over I would spend all of my money on a great rug. Ours was a hand-me-down and I can’t wait to wait to pick our my own. Let’s be real, rugs are such a foundation piece can seriously change a space. I love seeing your home!

    • Thanks Meg! Seriously, the rugs are totally making the difference. They really help turn our one main room into different areas – the dining “room”, the living “room” and my “office”. And of course, Rory’s “room”

  2. First of all, I’m intrigued by the idea of minimalist living, and I think that you’re doing a great job of making it accessible to everyone. I think that this is a great post! I really relate to the whole desk-space comment, because I know if I have room to spread out on a table or too-big desk it’s going to end up cluttered with odds and ends. Also love the example of Miss Honey’s cottage, because she’s proof that you don’t need fancy things or a lot of possessions to be a good person. I look forward to reading more of your work, and I hope that you enjoy your new home and furniture!

    • Thanks for your lovely comment! It’s been really fun finding the balance that’s right for us between what’s simple and usable. Glad you stopped by!

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