Living in NYC is expensive enough without adding costly furniture to the tally. It doesn’t mean you should furnish your first NYC apartment with old or poor-quality pieces, though. Style is not a measure of luxury and, with only a few chosen items, you can make your home look downright luxurious.
How to furnish your first NYC apartment on a budget
Your first NYC apartment is most likely, and hopefully, not your forever home. The furniture you obtain now will see many more relocations. So, think carefully if it pays off to purchase cheap furniture that won’t survive the next (dis)assembling.
Your top priority should be making the balance between quality, functionality, design, and price of your furniture. Hence, if you’re looking for affordable home improvements and practical furnishing tips, you’re in the right place.
Some of the best and most affordable ways to furnish your first NYC apartment include obtaining your furniture from
- Friends, family, and neighbors
- Thrift stores
- Online platforms, social media groups, and mobile apps
- Furniture outlets
- Furniture retailers and e-marketplaces
- Flea markets
Thrift stores, second-hand and vintage furniture stores
If anybody knows how to furnish an apartment affordably, it’s New Yorkers. Hence, numerous stores throughout the city are offering furniture at a discount. Whether the pieces are brand new or several decades old, you will easily find what you need at a price you can afford.
- Cost Plus World Market. You will find high-quality, unique, and affordable items from around the world at World Market. Check out the Sale as well as Shop by Room sections on their website or visit their Brooklyn store at 850 Third Avenue.
- Housing Works. In their bookstore and several thrift locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, you will certainly find a good deal. Focus on the one located at 157 East 23rd Street.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores. A reseller of donated furniture, appliances, decor, and building materials, Habitat for Humanity ReStores often offers designer furniture at a great discount.
- Goodwill. While you can’t get furniture at Goodwill, you will find bedside lamps, table lamps, small appliances, curtains, and other house goods. The vast amount of those items is donated by Target and brand new.
- Pippin. Aside from antique jewelry, you will find a wonderful collection of used furniture in this vintage shop at 112 West 17th Street.
- Furnish Green. Manhattan’s local vintage furniture store searches for unique (and affordable) vintage and antique items for you. They resupply their showroom at 1261 Broadway, suite 309, every weekday with around 15-35 fresh items.
- Salvation Army. You’ll find furniture at a bargain price here, and even if they don’t have something that suits you right away, visit again soon. Their inventory changes frequently enough.
Note that small NYC apartments have even smaller kitchens and require a constant search for affordable tricks for the kitchen, too. For example, you can utilize the vertical space and furnish your walls with inexpensive thrift store shelving. You can take advantage of over-the-door hooks you can find in IKEA and other retailer stores.
Online retailers and brick-and-mortar retailer stores
There isn’t likely a New Yorker who hasn’t bought something on Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon. These giants, in their own right, have a vast offer of affordable pieces of furniture and house goods. Just don’t get blinded by the deals that look too good; always check the sellers to avoid scams. Also, smartphone apps like Offer Up and Let Go link to large databases of second-hand furniture in your vicinity, along with photos and descriptions.
On the other hand, you will often find good deals at big-box retail stores such as Walmart, Target, IKEA, and Wayfair. Aside from a large collection of items at affordable prices, you can find decorating ideas on some of their websites. Also, note that sophisticated mirrored furniture pieces, like dressers, have the potential to improve your daily life. Mirrors not only reflect light but they also visually expand your NYC apartment. Even the illusion of depth is welcome, especially as small apartments are a trademark of the Big Apple. Wayfair has a section on its website dedicated specifically to this type of furniture.
Take care of delivery on time
To furnish your first NYC apartment, you’d need to purchase a few bulky pieces of furniture and some appliances. While some thrift stores offer inexpensive home delivery services, most others do not. Should you require some help with the transport of bulky pieces, get in touch with local NYC movers, and schedule the delivery. The good thing about the movers is that you can arrange for delivery right into your apartment. Most delivery services don’t offer that option. They will simply leave the bulky appliance in front of your building doors even if you wish to pay for full delivery upstairs.
Getting furniture pieces (almost) for free
The last, but not the least important tip is to ask your family, friends, and neighbors if they can give you or lend you a piece of furniture. Many people keep perfectly good pieces in their storage units, pieces that wait for their future use within some other home layout. The only things you’d need to pay for in that instance are transport and delivery, and probably assembling. If you’re not above flea markets, you might furnish your first NYC apartment with some artisanal items from the Chelsea Flea.
Miley Santini enjoys both her daily job and her hobby. By day, she’s a web administrator for U. Santini Moving and Storage and a few other companies. By night, she writes for several media outlets on a number of topics, including interior design and fashion.