Holy cow! I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Austin, Texas, where I helped my son set up his new apartment. He moved there for a new job! I'd never been to Texas, so of course, I was thrilled to go and help!
I was only there for a quick 3 days and I wanted to spend at least one day exploring the city -- so that gave me only 2 days to shop and furnish his new apartment! One day was spent shopping and the other was installation! It was exhausting, but fun!
If you want to furnish an apartment quickly, these are my top 5 tips!
1. Measure the Space
Measuring the space is key. You need to know what will fit and what won't. In our case, our son signed the lease 'sight unseen' -- so we asked the apartment owners if they would provide a scaled floor plan like this:
2. Create a Furniture Plan and Budget
Decide how much seating and storage you will need and using graph paper, draw a floor plan with your wish list for furniture pieces. Make sure to note where the television cable outlet as that will dictate some of your furniture placement.
Develop a budget. My biggest tip is to invest in a quality bed (mattress and boxspring) and a good dresser. Both of those items will last for years. Sofas, chairs and accent pieces are easy to find at retail locations, discount stores, consignment stores and on Craigslist.
3. Make a list of other Essentials
Because I only had one day to shop, I really only purchased some additional essentials like towels, sheets, dishes, a few pots and pans, silverware, garbage bags, soap (dishwasher, hand and washing machine), scissors and a hammer. I also stocked his kitchen with a few snacks to hold him over until he could get to the grocery store.
For all other essentials, check this out:
4. Map out your Shopping Trips
When in a new city and in a time crunch, it's important to be efficient when driving to your shopping destinations. Find your sources and develop a plan to maximize your time.
5. Coordinate Deliveries for the Same Day
This is critical for time efficiency! Call vendors ahead of time to find out how their delivery schedules work -- do they schedule same day, next day or a week ahead? Also be sure to secure the service elevator in your apartment building. Service elevators are larger and can accommodate furniture better than a regular elevator.
One other note -- always tip delivery people. Often times they are working for minimum wage.
And finally, I wanted to share the list of my shopping destinations and a few shopping tips!
Bed Bath & Beyond was an awesome source for sheets, bedding, kitchen and bath essentials. They have a new membership program where for a yearly $29 fee, you receive 20% off of everything! This is great, because my son can download the app, and purchase more essentials when he needs them and will benefit from the discount!
Ikea is great for a few but not all items. I love the Ektorp sofa, a few of their chairs and their rug selection. Try and steer clear of items that need assembly. Every time I have purchased items that need assembly, there is either a part missing or it takes 8 hours to put it together (and it's still not right!).
Target is awesome for utensils, dishes, small pieces of furniture and art.
The dresser that I purchased for my son was made by Four Hands. Four Hands is a great furniture line that produces well priced, quality products out of reclaimed wood. You can find their products on Houzz.
Thanks for stopping by! If you are a parent whose child lives out of state, then I feel your pain! I'm so happy to have raised an independent son, but, man, this is hard! :)