They key to furnishing your first place is knowing when to spend money and when to save. Here are some helpful tips for decorating your apartment rental in Ottawa:

Purchase Essentials First
Most people are on a pretty tight budget when furnishing their first place. Use this list of must-haves to start your shopping and then add to it each month as money allows:

– Bed
– Dresser/clothing storage
– Couch
– Basic cooking such as pots and pans
– Basic dishes, cutlery, cups and glasses
– Towels and sheets
– Kitchen/dining table and chairs
– Basic cleaning tools (broom, mop)

Save Money
Before furnishing your apartment rental, ask around for hand-me-downs. Take inventory of your “donations” and then shop for the rest of the essentials at second hand stores. You will be surprised at the quality you can find especially for items such as pots, pans and dishes. They only sell items that are still in good condition and you can put together a pretty good kitchen with used items.

Be sure to also look for deals on towels and sheets at big box stores. Your bed will be a major purchase so don’t worry about a headboard at first. Instead, focus on the mattress and box spring as they are worth investing in. Look for brooms, mops and toilet brushes at your local dollar store.

Limit Luxuries
You are not in a position to buy luxury items, but you are in a position to go into debt fast. Avoid using credit cards to buy unnecessary items. Focus on essentials and compromise on things such as televisions and sound systems. Use your computer or iPhone for music and buy a small screen television for now.

Decorative Touches
Paint will do wonders to help improve the look of your Ottawa apartment rental. Choose a neutral, warm colour that won’t upset your landlord. Your taste will change in a year or two so avoid investing in expensive framed prints, costly throw pillows and crazy print drapes. Hang some solid neutral coloured drapery panels for privacy and get some basic pillows for the couch. Frame photos in second hand frames to hang on your walls. Invest in a cheap area rug if you do not have carpeting. All of these items can easily be updated when money is not so tight.

Being money smart with a focus on essentials will help you furnish your first place without breaking the bank.