Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Cheaply Furnish Your Apartment

You’ve navigated the numerous housing options in Ann Arbor, signed a lease, and now you have a place to call home! But, how do you make it actually feel like home? There are many different places to buy furniture, kitchenware, and decor in Ann Arbor, but doing so on a student budget may seem challenging. Below are some options to furnish your apartment affordably:

  1. Thrift Shops - Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity. Thrift shops sell used items donated by members of the community. Because these goods are used, they tend to be very inexpensive. However, it would be wise to carefully check and inspect any items you are interested in buying. Some of my favorite items to buy at thrift stores are kitchenware items such as bowls, plates, glasses, and cups. Larger furniture pieces like tables may be available, but they may be quite worn. If you enjoy vintage goods or antiques, thrift shops are a fun place to look around for interesting items.

  1. Retail stores - Target, Meijer, Walmart. You can buy cheap furniture at these stores (though the quality tends to differ). If you are looking for basic home essentials, such as towels or diningware, these stores have you covered. If you like to cook, I would not recommend buying the cheapest available pots or pans from these stores since the quality isn’t the greatest. These stores are a good option for purchasing a television or small kitchen appliances such as microwaves, coffee makers, and blenders. Most of these stores also double as a supermarket, so you can pick up food, cleaning supplies, and other household items.

  1. Discount retail stores - Marshalls, TJ Maxx. These stores all sell brand new items at a discount because they may be considered “out of season.” You can find brand-name or imported cookware, kitchen gadgets, bedding, decor, and bathroom items here. Most of the things sold at TJ Maxx and Marshalls tend to be of better quality than similar items at Walmart, Meijer, or Target.

  1. IKEA - This Swedish company is known worldwide for the thousands of home furnishing items sold in their giant stores. All items sold at IKEA are brand new, and most items will require some kind of assembly. IKEA sells large furniture pieces (mattresses, bed frames, dressers, bookshelves, couches, etc.) and smaller items as well. The closest IKEA to Ann Arbor is in Canton, which is about 30 minutes away by car. If you are interested in going to IKEA, the International Center has organized transportation to and from the Canton store on August 27. Please check the IC website for details.

This isn’t a complete list of all the shopping options available in the area, but they’re good places to start!

Written by Janice Tse
International Center Summer Orientation Peer Adviser
Country of Origin: United States
Master's student in Higher Education

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