Creating and pulling off a grownup-looking apartment isn’t easy — or cheap. And since most of us would rather spend our extra cash on fun stuff — records, sneakers,
Loubichrome nail polish, anyone? — we often wind up purchasing subpar furniture that we'll eventually need to replace. It’s the catch-22 of home decorating: Saving money upfront will likely cost you more in the long run. That’s why it pays to invest in quality home goods, even if you have to spend (and save up) a little more. To help, we’ve rounded up a few essential pieces of furniture that are definitely worth splurging on — but we also threw in a few affordable options for each category. Scroll ahead for 10 items that will transform your humble abode into a sophisticated space you love coming home to.
Photo courtesy of @melodrama.
A Couch The holy grail of home furnishings, a superior sofa is the easiest way to upgrade your entire apartment with one single purchase. Sure, a futon will save you some moolah upfront, but let’s be real: It’s neither comfortable nor attractive (and you’ll probably end up needing new seating in a couple of years).
Budget A clean-lined, comfy couch for under $500? Thank you, Ikea! Ektorp Sofa, $499, available at Ikea.
Mid-Range This super-plush — and affordable — sofa comes in a variety of fabric and color options. West Elm Henry Sofa, $799, available at West Elm.
Investment-Worthy We thought this perfectly pink sofa could only exist in our dreams! Article Emil Sofa, $1,049, available at Article.
Photo courtesy of @JennyKomenda.
A Mattress We’ve all heard that we spend about a third of our lives in bed, but are we really listening? Quality sleep calls for a quality mattress, so invest in a solid one from the get-go and spare yourself from sleepless nights.
Budget Memory foam at its finest — and most affordable. Memory Foam 8" Mattress, $219.99, available at Sleep Revolution Target.
Mid-Range A luxury mattress (sans the hefty price tag). Simmons Beautyrest Firm Mattress, $349.99, available at Sleepy's.
Investment-Worthy Blissful sleep, delivered straight to your door. Casper Queen Mattress, $950, available at Casper.
Photo courtesy of @em_henderson.
Curtains Window treatments can change the ambiance of your whole apartment. For instance, gauzy panels are great for opening up small bedrooms and cramped living areas, while darker, heavier curtains will add instant drama to just about any space.
Budget Cheap meets chic, by way of H&M. H&M Two-Pack Curtains, $24.99, available at H&M.
Mid-Range You can elevate your entire living room with a single set of sheer panels. Pintucks Curtain, $39, available at Urban Outfitters Urban Outfitters.
Investment-Worthy Luxe and washable: You really can’t go wrong with linen curtains. Anthropologie Linen Tie-Top Curtain, $78-$108, available at Anthropologie.
Photo courtesy of @DominoMag.
A Desk Acting like a responsible adult requires a lot of work — personally and professionally. What better way to bask in your grownup-ness than to create your very own home office, courtesy of a chic desk setup? Even if you never plan on working remotely, at least you'll have a pretty place to pay the bills.
Budget A sleek table with room for two. Micke Desk, $79.99, available at Ikea.
Mid-Range A minimalist’s dream desk. Crate & Barrel Pilsen Salt Desk, $199, available at Crate & Barrel.
Investment-Worthy This iconic desk is a favorite of designers and fashionistas alike. West Elm Parsons Desk, $399, available at West Elm.
Photo courtesy of @Homepolish.
An Armchair Once you've found the perfect sofa, consider seeking out a cozy armchair or two. Place one near your favorite window, and voilà: You’ve got yourself a dope reading nook. (Or, if we're honest, a great place to pile clothes.)
Budget A tufted armchair always makes a statement. Threshold Felton Tufted Chair, $284.99, available at Target.
Mid-Range This shaggy chair screams “glam” without costing a fortune. TOV Furniture Sophie White Sheepskin Lucite Chair, $550.30, available at Jet.
Investment-Worthy Colorful seating instantly brightens up a room. Crate & Barrel Grayson Chair, $899, available at Crate & Barrel.
Photo courtesy of @HomePolish.
Quality Bedding Much like a good mattress, superior bedding won’t just make your apartment look better — it will improve the overall quality of your life. Really. Invest in comfortable sheets, blankets, and pillows, and climbing into bed each night will be the best part of your day.
Budget The perfect comforter for every season, for under 100 bucks. Threshold Temperature Regulating Comforter, $69.99-$89.99, available at Target.
Mid-Range A superior pillow for a reasonable price. MyPillow Premium Standard/Queen Pillow (Pack of Two), $90, available at MyPillow.
Investment-Worthy We're all about the thread-count. PB Organic 400-Thread-Count Sheet Set, $32-$199, available at Pottery Barn.
Photo courtesy of @theeverygirl_.
An Area Rug We focus a lot of creative energy on decorating our walls, but what about our floors? A refined area rug won’t just make your apartment look more sophisticated, it will bring immediate warmth and comfort to even the dreariest of spaces.
Budget A stylish area rug for less than your phone bill. H&M Patterned Cotton Rug, $79.99, available at H&M.
Mid-Range A designer favorite, this Moroccan-style stunner looks great in just about any room. Kasbah Wool Rug, $399-$1,199, available at West Elm West Elm.
Investment-Worthy Geometric patterns and knotted fringe? Yes, please! Anthropologie Kaleidoscopic Blooms Rug, $598-$1,278, available at Anthropologie.
Photo courtesy of @abeautifulmess.
Art An interesting piece of art has the power to bring beauty and personality to just about any room in your home. That’s why it’s important to seek out cool artwork — think: photography, paintings, and sketches — that says something about your unique style, but that's also built to last.
Budget A framed, limited-edition print for 30 bucks is the stuff of legend. Wilder California Little Cactus Print, $31, available at Minted.
Mid-Range An affordable approach to fine art. Kate Schelter Stan Smith Limited Edition Print, $150, available at ArtStar.
Investment-Worthy An original painting at an attainable price. Alice Lancaster "The Vulgar Masses," $375, available at Tappan Collective.
Photo courtesy of @amberinteriors.
A Mirror Easy to source, and often more affordable than artwork, mirrors are an easy way to beautify your apartment and create the illusion of extra space. Place an oversized one in your living room to forge a loftier feel or near your front door to make a stylish entryway — and for last-minute outfit checks.
Budget Leave it to Ikea to offer a massive mirror for next to nothing. Mirror, $49.99, available at Stave Ikea.
Mid-Range An oversized, round mirror immediately opens up a cramped living area. Umbra Oversized Hub Mirror, $160, available at Urban Outfitters.
Investment-Worthy A slim, standing floor mirror will turn your tiny bedroom into a sophisticated space. CB2 Infinity Standing Floor Mirror, $199, available at CB2.
Photo courtesy of @Em_Henderson.
Bar Cart Few things feel more adult than an apartment with a mini-bar. Along with looking incredibly cosmopolitan, bar carts are surprisingly affordable and insanely fun to stock. Plus, you’ll always have a nice drink to come home to (if you want it), and what’s more grownup than that?
Budget This bar-style setup — complete with a removable tray — is way more baller than a butler. CB2 Acrylic Tray Table, $79.95, available at CB2.
Mid-Range This mint-green cutie comes with lots of built-in storage space. Urban Outfitters Collette Rolling Card, $149, available at Urban Outfitters.
Investment-Worthy Mirrors and brass and wheels, oh my! Pottery Barn Tristan Bar Cart, $399, available at Pottery Barn.