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Moving into the first place you can truly call your own?  Even though you may be on a budget, this is not the time to cut corners on everything.  If you have any money leftover after you pay first/last/deposit, below are the top things I think you should spend it on.

1.     A good sofa is a must-have for any space.  Second to your mattress, it is the place that you will spend the most time so spend a good fraction of your budget on this piece.  Since you are spending more, be sure it will look great for awhile by choosing a fabric that is not too light, like cream or white, as it will show every stain.  But don’t go too dark either as navy and black shows every spec of lint and piece of dust.  Stick with a mid-tone neutral color like gray or tan.

2.     A first apartment needs a great coffee table.  You may not have room for a dining table.  So getting a coffee table with a hard top that can hold Chinese takeout as well as beverages and remotes is a must.  I love using a trunk as they are small in footprint and the inside can be used as storage.

3.     Every space needs a box of Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers.  Move in and scrub away the soap scum from the previous tenant in your tub.  Did you movers scuff your wall paint?  No problem!  This cleaning tool takes marks off walls, dirt off surfaces, and scratches off floors.  Is there anything this miracle product can’t do?!

4.     Putting up drapes in a new apartment is the quickest, cheapest way to give the whole unit a facelift.  Painting a new apartment takes time and if you choose a strong color, most leases require you to paint it back to neutral when you leave.  Instead of going bold with paint, add your color splash with affordable, patterned drapes from or  Additionally, when you hang them so they go all the way to your floor, drapes add height and grandeur to your space.

5.     Make an entry station a priority in your first place.  If you don’t buy a console or cabinet to set up right as you enter your apartment, your keys/mail/bags will wind up all over your small space and create chaos.  Corral the clutter by having a designated space for those items right as you walk in.  Target and Wayfair have very economical entry cabinet options.

6.     Invest in a great knife set when you move in.  You don’t want to spend all your rent money on eating out.  A great set of knives will make cooking that much easier and more enjoyable.  JA Henckels knives are great quality, not too expensive, and come in a small block that won’t take up too much room on your counter.  

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