Take it from someone who's moved apartments 11 times—the things you splurged on and swore you'd keep for years often end up on Craigslist once you move. Especially when you're younger and starting out, chances are you'll also move often. Apartments come in all shapes and sizes and are typically smaller than standalone homes—so picking the right furniture that will maximize your space and make your storage feel functional is paramount to loving the space you live in.
Even if you know you won't spend multiple years in your apartment, that doesn't mean you shouldn't decorate at all. The key is knowing exactly where to splurge and where to save and hunt for deals. The general rule of thumb: Splurge on things you'll be able to easily transfer to a new apartment and get thrifty with the things that are harder to move around—large rugs, sofas, and dining tables. Then, splurge again on smaller accents that will make you feel at home.
Ahead, we mapped out room-by-room exactly what to buy when furnishing an apartment as well as where to splurge and where to save.
In the Entryway
A large mirror that will make your space feel a whole lot bigger.
Small accessories to keep your space organized like trays and baskets.
Artwork or a beautiful lamp that will make your space feel more decorated and complete.
A vintage runner rug you love but might not fit in your next space.
Wall-mounted hooks and racks you may not want to take with you when you move.
A console or bench that fits your space exactly right—no need to overspend on something that might not move with you.
In the Living Room
Smaller furniture like accent tables that you can always repurpose when you move.
A statement lounge chair that you'll keep forever.
Plants that will make your space feel more complete and bring the outside in.
A sofa (not a sectional) to increase your odds that it will fit in your next apartment.
A ceiling lighting fixture, if the one already there is not your style, but don't spend a fortune because you might not want to move it with you.
A large living room rug that might not fit in your next space.
In the Kitchen
Serveware and ceramics that you can buy now and keep forever.
A great coffee machine or other small appliances to make your life easier.
Other small vintage accessories to display on your countertop and make your space feel a little more personal.
A bar table to make your space feel more functional if it doesn't have an island.
Organizational systems for your drawers that might not be compatible with your next kitchen cupboards.
Bar stools—in case your next kitchen doesn't have space for an island.
In the Dining Room
Dining chairs in a classic modern design that's been in production for decades—so if you ever move into a bigger space and need additional ones, they won't be discontinued.
Original art to make your space feel more decorated (and look more expensive).
Smaller accents for entertaining like vases and bowls.
A dining table that might not fit in your next space.
A ceiling fixture or chandelier that you might not want to have removed to take to your next apartment.
A buffet or bar cart that may not fit in your future apartment.
In the Home Office
An iconic lamp to make your space look more curated and elegant.
A quality desk chair—ergonomics are important.
Art and accessories that'll make the room feel collected and timeless.
A desk—even though it's a smaller piece of furniture, it might look bulky or too small in your next space.
Wall-mounted shelving—it's a pain to move, so opt for an affordable IKEA system.
A low-pile jute rug that your desk chair can easily roll over.
In the Bedroom
Great cozy bedding that you'll never want to part with.
Amazing quality pillows and a comforter that will make your bed feel five-star.
Beautiful bedside lamps to set the mood in your apartment at night.
Nightstands that may not be the right size for your next bedroom.
Dressers, clothing racks, or other storage systems for your closet.
A large cozy rug—just don't spend too much since it might not fit your next space.
In the Bathroom
Great towels that will add an edge to your apartment bedroom.
Luxe bath products to make your space feel like a five-star hotel bathroom.
Other small accessories and canisters to keep your space organized.
Any wall-hung storage system or towel bars that you won't want to move when you leave.
Small furniture like storage towers or benches that may not fit your next space.
A shower curtain that looks good but that you haven't spent a ton on in case you next shower has a glass door.
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