Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Furnishing an Apartment - My Minimalist Style

While moving is one of most stressful life events one can go through, it is also an amazing opportunity to start over!  When we finally found an apartment in a cute neighborhood, for a decent rent, with public transportation that suited both of our commutes, it had one down side; it was unfurnished.  This meant we needed to spend the money to furnish it, not knowing how long we would be here for.  This further challenged us to think in a minimalist way and figure out what we really needed and find budget friendly, green ways in which to acquire the furniture.

We did thorough research to figure out what would be worth buying new versus second hand.  We agreed that for our comfort level, anything heavily upholstered we would want to buy new (the last thing I wanted to deal with were fleas, mites or lice!).  That would include the couch and our mattress.  We ended up getting a couch set that both would fold down to beds, as we love hosting and entertaining friends and family.  We found these sleek, "minimalist" couches that were exactly what we were looking for.  We have since hosted a handful of friends as well as my parents and one of my brothers comfortably on these fold outs.  I also very much enjoy the long sofa and spend most of my ‘me’ time curled up there reading my fave blogs, eBooks, and of course blogging myself!

We also ended up getting our dining table and bed frame from IKEA.  We found that the costs were about equal, but we would need to rent a van to transport them if we bought second hand.  We chose a table that pulls out for when we entertain, and we chose a bed frame with a headboard that included shelving units and shelf at the back so we could forgo the side tables in our already small bedroom. 

Friends donated our one bookshelf, and my brother in law found us our coffee table and desk for the spare room for free online.  In the U.S. you too can find perfectly usable furniture for FREE on freecycle.org.  We also found our dining chairs second hand (for only $20 a chair) on the equivalent of craigslist.com.

We acquired two more pieces that we found on the street! More on that to come!

It was tough deciding what to get and what not to get.  We wanted to use minimalist and eco-friendly principles while still making our home feel like a home.  We chose to buy as few ‘new’ items as possible and acquire the rest second hand.  While we may end up moving in the future, we were still able to set up a functional, minimalist space that feels good to live in without hurting our wallets.

Some minimalists may have chosen fewer pieces of furniture.  Many feel that a couch or a dining table are not necessities.  But I believe that minimalism is flexible and should fit your lifestyle.  We love to entertain and host people for meals, so having fold out couches and a dining table were essential for us to have.  We chose pieces that were versatile and budget friendly and in the handful of months we have had them, they have gotten a lot of use!

What have your moving experiences been like?  How did you go about making decisions of what to buy and how?  I’d love to hear your stories! Please feel free to comment below!