When moving into a new apartment, you might feel like you need to spend thousands to set it up. But before you rush out with your credit card, read on to discover why setting up your space slowly may save you time and money in the long run.

You don’t need to get everything for your new home at once. If you do, you are likely to make expensive errors. Instead, focus on several key pieces and then start hunting around in secondhand shops and online to source unique pieces that won’t break your budget.

Furnishing your apartment: Start with the basics

By basics, I mean a comfortable bed, a table that can double as a desk, and a couch. Have a look at Pinterest to find looks that appeal to you and your sense of style. Do you like clean whites, lots of timber, or a mismatched vintage look?

It’s definitely worth investing in a good mattress as sleeping on an air mattress for more than two nights will make you miserable. Your table and sofa can be second-hand or new. Just look for ones that are as large as possible for your space, and comfortable, as you’ll be using them a lot.

You’ll also need practical items – bins for the bathroom and kitchen, and a laundry basket, straight away. And, of course, cleaning supplies. A broom, dustpan and brush, mop and bucket, some clothes and sponges, a toilet brush, and a vacuum cleaner are all you need. If you want to go for an all-purpose, environmentally friendly cleaner, use this homemade one. It will also reduce plastic packaging.

Keep it neutral

Don’t worry too much about adding lots of colour to your new home to start with. You can always add it later. Your main pieces – your bed, table and sofa, can be livened up with cushions, spreads and tablecloths. See what colours you are drawn to and if a theme emerges but remember there’s no need to have everything matching.

Mix up the big ticket items with smaller buys

If you are decorating slowly due to time or financial constraints, mix up big items with smaller projects and items, such as hanging artwork, potting up a few plants, and finding the right soft furnishings such as rugs, cushions and curtains.

Think beyond furniture shops

For the environment as well as your wallet, it’s worth hunting around for pieces secondhand. Get to know your local charity shops. Keep an eye on Gumtree and eBay. And join your local Buy Nothing group for opportunities to find pieces you love at bargain prices.

Let people know you’re setting up an apartment and ask around. You might be lucky to take a sofa or some chairs off someone’s hands and save them a trip to the tip.

Sort out your kitchen

There’s no need to spend a fortune here. Charity shops will have everything you need, from glassware to cutlery to mismatched vintage plates. Add a good-quality knife and some cookware, such as saucepans, baking trays and a frying pan, and you’re good to go.

Add some mood lighting

Even if your apartment only has overhead lights, you can add your own lighting in the form of table or floor lamps. These make it easy to change the mood of the room. Look for second-hand lamps for a vintage look. IKEA is always good for well-designed and inexpensive lighting solutions.

Talk to us

If you are looking to set up your very own Sydney apartment, we’ve got you covered for both renting and buying. Give us a call today and let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll do our best to help. And if you’re thinking of selling and want to know what the market’s up to, please feel free to contact us for a no-obligation chat.

Setting up an apartment from scratch? Here's how

Tolga Ozer, Principal & LREA

Tolga Ozer, Principal & LREA

Hyde Park’s most highly acclaimed property expert, achieving record-breaking outcomes for owners and investors. Having become the most sought-after agency for Sydney’s inner suburbs and CBD, my team and I take pride in our ability to deliver outstanding results.

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