I’m all too familiar with the burdensome cost of buying furniture for the first time. From sleeping on a used Ikea loveseat in college until I could afford a bed to using Taco Bell sporks until I felt the need to purchase cutlery, renting and decorating your first apartment can be both adventurous and daunting.
But one (of several) important cost-cutting lessons I learned was to purchase furniture that serves more than one function. Sure, at first the television can rest on the bookshelf until you save up the money to buy an entertainment center. But a few months in you might notice that the TV actually looks good on the bookshelf, and the CDs, DVDs, and of course, books surrounding it actually complement the piece.
Here are some other items you may already have in your apartment that can serve more than one function:
Dual-Use Ottomans: Who needs extra seats when you have an ottoman? They can serve as storage space for DVDs, CDs, or old magazines and a seat for visitors. You can place them at the foot of your bed, make them into coffee tables, or simply use them as a savvy way to tuck away papers and books.
Try Amazon.com, StacksandStacks.com, or Overstock.com to find some great picks.
Stackable Storage: If you’re hurting for extra space, stackable bins might just be a perfect fit. They come in all sizes, and several materials, and you can store your wares inside the drawers and on top of them too. If you’ve experienced the breakage of an Ikea dresser, these bins can turn into a place to store clothing as well. For some, you can just throw over a sheer cover and they can blend into any space. Visit your local Family Dollar (or similar dollar store) or Walmart to find affordable, stylish options.
Futons: The days of the frumpy and uncomfortable futon are long gone. If you’re short on space or money — or both — futons can serve as a couch by day and a bed by night. There are many options for covers, frames, and mattresses. Check out AffordableFutons.com or Target’s selection of affordable pieces.
Armoires: These can house your television, DVDs, CDs, and clothing, and be a major space saver while not skimping on style. Check out Nextag.com for price comparisons or Armoireshowroom.com to find one that might fit your needs.
What are some of your recommendations for multitasking furniture? What are your suggestions for decorating on a dime?
Renita Burns is the editorial assistant and a reporter for BlackEnterprise.com.