How much does furniture cost for a new apartment?

How much does it cost to furnish a house?

Congrats on your new place!

So you’ve found housing? A new apartment? A loft? You have the keys to empty space, you have a signed lease, and you’re ready to begin your new life in your new home!

Before it becomes a home its time to furnish your new place! Furnishing a home can be a fun project – However, if you don’t plan and prepare, buying new furniture and home decor can become very expensive, and time-consuming.

So how much does furniture actually cost for a new apartment? As a charity with a mission to help families in crisis with no money or time, we’ve always studied furniture prices to identify how to support furnishing homes. We are always aware of the most cost effective way of furnishing a home or apartment on a budget.

We’ve found many websites that make an effort to help inform your purchase. We wanted to summarize what we’ve found, and provide some broader summaries of what the full cost of furnishing a home from scratch looks like. As you plan your furniture budget and startup costs, you can assemble a home that works and is affordable to your budget.

For many people, furnishing a home can take some time. You might not be looking to furnish your apartment all in one shot. In fact, you might not even be able to furnish even one room adequately at a time. Before you begin paying the full retail price to furnish your home, you should start seeing what items you might be able to find at a discount. 

Be sure to check…

  • with friends and family who may have something to give away
  • second-hand, consignment stores and thrift shops
  • Craigslist, and Facebook yard sale groups
  • for liquidation stores and furniture places offering holiday discounts

There will always be some items that you’ll prefer to buy new when furnishing a home. However, keep in mind that all your purchases will add up, so scoring a set of lamps and side tables from a downsizing couple is a smart buy. Purchasing furniture secondhand will free up more of your budget where it counts, and we’ll get into that next.

Table of contents

Furnishing a new home checklist

Furniture is the third most expensive purchase you are going to make in your life (preceded by a house and a car).  Here is our checklist of everything you will need to start furnishing a home.

Living room essentials

  • Area Rugs
  • Artwork
  • Bookshelves
  • Arm Chair
  • Coffee Table
  • Desk & Chair
  • Floor Lamps
  • Mirror
  • Rug
  • Side Tables
  • Sofa
  • TV Stand

Kitchen essentials

  • Dining Set w Chairs
  • Kitchen storage
  • Small Appliances
  • Cookware & Utensils
  • Pots and Pans
  • Serving dishes
  • Kitchen tools 

Bedroom essentials

  • Mattress
  • Bed frame / Platform
  • Dresser
  • Nightstand 
  • Table light
  • Area Rug

Bedding & linen essentials

  • Washcloths
  • Bathmat 
  • Towels (Bath & Hand) 
  • Duvet & Pillow Sets for bed
  • Bed Protectors 
  • Dish Towels

Bathroom essentials

  • Bathroom Storage
  • Extra Storage
  • Shower Curtain

Other basic essentials for furnishing a home:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • All toiletries and personal effects
  • A TV and other personal electronics you own.
  • Plus plates, cups, cutlery and other serving dishware.
  • Power cords, light bulbs, and other supplies.

The average cost of furnishing a home

  1. We went to look for other articles and research that has been done on this subject, which is summarized below. We looked at the gaps in their research and tried to create apples to apples comparisons.
  2. All of the articles mentioned show a lot of love for IKEA so we did our own test. If you are a furnishing a home or an apartment on a budget, is IKEA your best option? It’s easy to spend money when you have it, so we challenged ourselves to find an equivalent package of furniture to get those costs. 
  3. At Furniture Bank, we provide furnishing kits from public and private donations. We tried to form an equivalent for our offering to families with limited financial resources. 

Furnishing an apartment on a budget: our research

When researching the costs of furnishing a home, we found that many sources tended to overlook some important parts. In order to cover all essential items including furniture, we have summarized these other costs in an Everything Else category.

What this article doesn’t quantify is the cost for more than one bedroom or larger families with kids as well as the associated delivery costs and taxes. In Canada, for example, most comapnies add an additional $800 when tax and delivery are added. If you are trying to assemble a household from different resale options including used furniture stores, the delivery costs can be even higher if it means multiple deliveries and possibly renting a car or truck. 

Furnishing a home: what should you budget?
A new apartment checklist
The research says you should plan on a budget of $8353 for a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment!

Research Average

$ 0
ALL Essential Furnishings

ALL Furnishings Included

ALL Taxes Included

ALL Delivery Costs 

ALL Assembly Costs 

How much does it actually cost to furnish an apartment?

What other website research articles have to say on the subject.  

Research article 1: How much does it cost to furnish your apartment?

1 Bedroom Apartment

$ 7700 to furnish your apartment
  • $3500 for Bedroom Essentials
  • $2200 for Kitchen & Dining Room Essentials
  • $2100 for Living Room Essentials
  • $122 for Bathroom Essentials

Research article 2: How much does it cost to furnish an apartment from scratch?​

1 Bedroom Apartment

$ 3084 to furnish your apartment
  • $908 for Bedroom Essentials
  • $500 for Basic Kitchen & Dining Room Essentials
  • $2086 for Living Room Essentials
  • $75 for Bathroom Essentials

Research article 3: The cost of furnishing an apartment: a step by step guide

1 Bedroom Apartment

$ 7580 to furnish your apartment
  • $2300 for Bedroom Essentials
  • $2130 for Bonus Essentials
  • $3150 for Living Room Essentials

Research article 4: How much does the average person spend on furniture?​

1 Bedroom Apartment

$ 8176 to furnish your apartment
  • $3586 for Bedroom Essentials
  • $1433 for Kitchen & Dining Room Essentials
  • $2200 for Living Room Essentials
  • $122 for Bathroom Essentials
  • $835 for Balcony Essentials

How much does it cost to furnish an apartment from IKEA?

We took our essential furniture list and went to IKEA with the intent of simulating a the cost of furnishing a house exclusively from IKEA. We also took the time to consider design, colour and consistency of product. How your home looks and feels is very important too! 

Lowest cost to furnish with IKEA?

One person apartment

$ 0
IKEA home essentials

First buy the furniture...

While there are going to be endless combinations with IKEA we came up with a single person apartment that needed to be fully furnished. Using the same set of items as our other research sources, the total to furnish an apartment from IKEA came to $2323.56 before taxes, plus shipping costs. The total came to $2,760.12!

Then assemble your furniture!

Unlike the other articles, where furniture is mostly preassembled – IKEA offers low prices in part for putting the assembly on you. For comparison we are adding in assembly cost. IKEA offers an assembly service via Task Rabbit. We asked for estimates of this same basket of goods and received a number of 5 to 6 hour quotes at $70 to $85 an hour.
Estimate $425 ($375 + Tax) of additional assembly cost.  

Tips to save on furniture

The research above focused on buying furniture new. If you are furnishing a home or apartment on a tighter budget and have the personal time, transportation, and dedication, here are some more tips for saving on furniture:

  • Borrow your mom and dad’s (and grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles’) old furniture – reuse the amazing the furniture of the past.
  • Check on websites like Amazon.com for deals. You can’t try out the furniture like IKEA but they’ve got great deals. 
  • Do without! While we have focused on the essentials, there will be dozens of items you may think you need but could actually go without if necessary. You don’t have to get something just because it’s expected. For example, we decided not to get a dining set because we’d hardly use it. Don’t spend money on furniture you won’t routinely use. 
  • Research blogs and Pinterest for DIY hacks
  • Don’t be afraid to buy used or local — consider garage sales, Kijiji, Etsy and Craigslist for good deals. It will take time but you can always refinish or repurpose out-dated furniture to give it new life.
  • Start with larger pieces first and then buy smaller pieces and accent furniture
  • Measure twice and order once to avoid costly mistakes
  • List all of the items you want and then create a budget to find your end goal
  • Once you have the “can’t-live-without” pieces, focus on finishing one room at a time
  • Another tip for furnishing your home is to invest in your lighting. Good lighting can make all furniture look a little classier. Updating the light fixture covers that came with your apartment will cost $25 to $150, and it’s usually easy to do by loosening a few set screws.
  • Also, change your lightbulbs to daylight-balanced LEDs for a cost of $7 to $10 each. The LEDs will save you money on your utility bill, and the daylight-balanced bulbs will prevent your lighting from casting that dingy yellow glow.
  • For further savings, consider secondhand furniture options by asking family and friends if they have anything to spare. 

How to furnish an apartment when you have no money?

For the 11% of Canadian's who don't have funds to furnish a home.

Furniture Bank is the alternative for 1 in 10 Canadian’s who do not have the financial resources to furnish their homes when they secure empty housing. Families are referred through their social agency, community group, shelter, or community agency that sponsors them as not needing access to the Furniture Bank Program. For a flat fee community donations are used to provide quality previously loved furnishings and home essentials. This can (when available) include corporate donations. Includes delivery to the family housing unit.  This ensures all housing comes furnished – so it’s not just a house, but a true home.

Buying new for each family or engaging your local furniture bank – you decide the best return on a budget.