Furnishing Small Spaces on a Budget, an Ode to IKEA

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this on my blog yet, but I’m relocating to Arizona this August to begin my Master’s program at ASU. It’s all exciting, and truly overwhelming, so the past few weeks have been jam packed with the logistics of the move. Last month, I secured my actual apartment unit after a few months of deliberation. I chose to live alone in  a one-bedroom unit, so all of the furnishing and little necessities are my responsibility! The efforts we make for a little bit of privacy. Having just gone through the process of finding affordable but comfortable furnishing options, I thought I would share my experience, maybe providing some advice for anyone who may encounter a similar situation.

The space I will be leasing is truly beautiful; I am thrilled with the opportunity to make it my home for the year. While all of this is fun to think about, the reality is that I don’t need to be spending a lot of money on furniture. One, it’s a small space. Two, I am relocating from the East Coast and have no idea where I’ll end up upon graduation. Three, I’m a broke graduate student scraping by with the generosity of my parents. You get the picture, and I know many have been in the same place. While I wanted to see just how tight I could keep to a budget, I also wanted to keep in mind my own comfort, as well as aesthetic pleasures.

Aside from purchasing furniture, renting was an option. I thought about the convenience fo it, and in monthly payments, it seems affordable. The value-seeker in me cringed at the idea of dropping $100-$150 a month on furniture that I was not going to be able to keep. For 12 months, we’re talking well over $1000 just to rent furniture. That’s not even including all of the other things I’d need: bedding, dishes, kitchenware, storage… This is what challenged me to beat the rental costs in purchasing my own furniture. Spoiler alert, I was able to completely furnish my apartment INCLUDING all the little extras for less than what I’d pay in a year for furniture rentals. Plus, I had the ability to choose the styles and types of pieces I’d have.

Enter IKEA. Everyone knows it, everyone loves to hate it. The idea of following those oversimplified assembly instructions and pulling out a thousand tiny pieces can give most people nightmares. But, IKEA makes furnishing a home so affordable! While you may have to toil over assembly for a few hours, you save yourself countless precious dollars. Not only is it a cost-friendly option for new furniture, but IKEA’s Scandinavian style of design is my cup of minimalist and practical tea. A major plus for me was the option to purchase everything online with a scheduled delivery date at my apartment for a flat rate of $29.00 USD!

FURNITURE: The Big Pieces

The bulk of my budget was made to accommodate the big pieces I’d have to purchase. Thankfully, I’ll only have to truly furnish my bedroom and living area!

As far as style, I wanted to stick to really simple, easy-to-assemble, and functional options. I decided to keep everything in a neutral color – a lot of natural beiges, unfinished wood, and whites. This will make it a breeze to add in pops of color with throw pillows and wall decor; I’m choosing to wait until I make the big move out there to “decorate.”  I’m leaning towards soft greens and blushes because they’re very easy to find with all of the desert obsessions as of recent.

While I am unable to take my own photos of the furniture at this time, IKEA has fortunately done a great job of providing beautiful photos on its website. All images are property of IKEA and used for your reference and convenience only. 

Living Room

Because I was ordering strictly online, I was limited to choosing items available online. This was pretty easy to do until the couch I wanted went out of stock. I had made it up in my mind that I wanted a beige sofa, but the lower-priced option was out of stock for online purchases. Boo.

Have no fear, though, because I found a similar style that received rave review for its high quality. It was significantly more expensive than the model I originally intended to purchase, but I fiddled with the rest of my shopping cart until I was safely within the parameters of my budget. I’m actually happy I ended up “splurging” on this particular sofa because I’ll likely keep it for quite a while.

EKTORP sofa in Lofallet Beige, $379
GLADOM Tray table IKEA You can use the removable tray for serving.
GLADOM Tray Table in dark green, $19.99
LACK TV unit IKEA The opening at the back allows you to easily gather and organize all wires.
LACK TV Unit in White, $14.99
LERSTA Floor/reading lamp with LED bulb IKEA You can easily direct the light where you want it because the lamp arm is adjustable.
LERSTA Floor lamp, $19.99
RIGGA Clothes rack IKEA You can easily adjust the height to suit your needs as the clothes rack can be locked in place at 6 fixed levels.
RIGGA Clothes Rack, $12.99; I also purchased the shown hanging storage item.


Beds and mattresses are usually quite expensive. Not in my case! I’m quite pleased with the items I found; I was wary about the ultra-low prices so I was surprised to see wonderful reviews. Price certainly is no universal indicator of quality nor utility.

NEIDEN Bed frame IKEA Made of solid wood, which is a durable and warm natural material.
NEIDEN Bed frame in birch, Full Size, $99
HASVÅG Spring mattress IKEA
HASVÅG Spring mattress, Full Size, $179
LACK Side table IKEA Easy to assemble. Lightweight and easy to move.
LACK Side table, birch, $9.99
KNIPSA Basket IKEA Perfect for newspapers, photos or other memorabilia. Sea grass has natural color variations which makes every basket unique.
KNIPSA Basket, $14.99, to be used under LACK side table
LAMPAN Table lamp with LED bulb IKEA Creates a soft, cozy mood light in your room.
LAMPAN Table Lamp, $9.99


Fortunately for my budget, my apartment’s kitchen includes a generously sized bar. Rather than purchasing an entire dining set, I opted to stick to a couple of no-nonsense bar stools that could be easily moved around. The only requirement I had was that the stools had backs; I wanted to be comfortable sitting in these chairs while eating a meal or getting my studying done.

FRANKLIN Bar stool with backrest, foldable IKEA You can fold the chairs, so they take less space when you're not using them.
FRANKLIN 29 1/8″ Bar stool with backrest, foldable, in black, $34.99 (2)

Miscellaneous Storage, Linens, Kitchenwares, and Such

Taking advantage of the $29 flat-rate delivery fee and saving a few trips to the store, I decided to buy as much of my necessities from IKEA as possible. I would love to share these with you in another post — if you’re interested, make sure to “like” this post!

As you can see, it’s definitely possible to furnish an apartment (with brand new items AND delivery!) for less than $1000. I can speak from experience and say that the IKEA furniture my parents purchased back in 1994 is still holding up strong in spite of my dad’s inability to assemble furniture. We have loved the bedroom set enough to move it down into my parents’ second home in South Carolina all the way from New York!

I have to say that the online shopping experience makes IKEA so much more enjoyable; there’s sort of a running joke about couples getting into fights while trying to shop at IKEA. You can comfortably add items to your cart and wait until your scheduled delivery date.

What are your thoughts on the items I chose? I’m excited to see how they look in place; I think adding a little personality will really bring these clean pieces to life. There’s something so satisfying to me about basic furniture. I can’t stand a cluttered room, so my preferences are definitely reflected in my choices.

ALSO, be sure to check out Milk Makeup’s major sale! I wrote about the items I ordered here. Click the banner below to see what the brand has to offer.


P.S. If you aren’t already following me on Instagram, please do! I like to poll my followers to find out what content you’d like to see next. I think Instagram is just the easiest platform to get feedback on. Regardless, I love hearing the comments you have to offer on my blog posts, so let me know your thoughts below!

The Offbeat Venusian

Psalm 25:15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net. 

Thank you for taking the time to hear what I have to say. I hope you’ve found something helpful, or at the very least interesting. You can keep up with my beauty adventures by following me on Instagram @offbeatvenusianI also share my favorite photo memories from travel and life on my photo diary Instagram account @offbeatandaway. Instagram isn’t your vibe? I’m on Facebook, too. If you have any questions or comments, I always love hearing what you have to say. You can comment below or you can contact me here.

Email Updates- The Offbeat Venusian Blog

Disclaimer-Milk Makeup links are affiliate, meaning I am compensated for your purchase when you use the links in this post. I was not provided any products for free in exchange for my opinion; these are my honest thoughts. I use affiliate programs to support my ability to share new information on my blog. 

8 thoughts on “Furnishing Small Spaces on a Budget, an Ode to IKEA

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