Help me with the basics of furnishing my new bedroom!
August 31, 2010 8:13 PM   Subscribe

I now am the proud leaser of an apartment, and more pertinently, of an unfurnished bedroom. Before I go out and say "this looks nice, I'll buy it," what are some good resources, tips, threads, or hacks for furnishing and decorating a bedroom or living space or the like?

I know I'll want a queen bed, a desk-with-chair, some lamps, and maybe some bookshelves. But details are still too be determined.

Basically I'm looking for anything. General resources would be great, like previous AskMeFi threads about "what would make my bedroom look cool," or tutorials on home decorating. More specifically I'd love to find nice "hacks", like the ones in this article for storing shoes (I specifically like these), or maybe ways to light the room that don't involve large floor lamps. Particular products that you've loved? Also great. Unorthodox things, like one of those strange ergonomic alternatives to a desk chair, definitely welcome. My budget isn't too high, but I'll keep anything really cool in mind for the future.

Oooh hey I just navigated to the domain of that link I linked to and found! That looks pretty good. More sites like that!?
posted by Jacen Solo to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Buy the biggest pieces that you need first, then pick the smaller pieces you need so they fit around them.

Same for colors - you may have less choice than you'd like on the bigger items if you're economizing, so start the color scheme with them and then figure out how to balance the colors from there - if the big pieces are bright you might want neutral accessories, and vice versa.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:26 PM on August 31, 2010

Measure measure measure! Draw yourself a little map of your apartment (or pertinent rooms) and write down all the measurements. I recommend doing this in a little notebook, and also in this notebook putting all the measurements and notes about furniture you look at. Trust me, it all starts to blend together after a while!

For a bed, check out any furniture warehouses/liquidators for good deals. They often have other furniture too but it might be kinda ugly.

I recommend getting a desk with a hutch, which provides a lot of storage.
posted by radioamy at 8:46 PM on August 31, 2010

freecycle! Get yourself out of the consumer cycle now!
posted by HuronBob at 8:59 PM on August 31, 2010

I don't buy posters or other wall art. Instead, I have one wall in my bedroom that I'm trying to completely cover in cards and postcards --some I buy, but most have been sent to me over the years. You can't get much cheaper than that, and it's kind of fun to have an ever-expanding bit of decoration. (This plan requires having the sort of friends and family who still send paper mail, of course.)

Also, having a touch-on bedside lamp (like this) is great, because it means no fumbling around in the dark for a switch. Just touch the lamp anywhere, and voila! Light!
posted by coppermoss at 9:01 PM on August 31, 2010

If I were you I would suggest living off of cheap folding chairs and tables until you find furniture that you actually like. Folding tables and chairs are always useful later on, so getting them isn't a horrible waste.

Get a nice mattress, box spring and bed frame, and hold off on the furniture buying until you find something you really like and can afford. Otherwise you end up with enh furniture that you can't bring yourself to get rid of because you spent good money on it!
posted by that girl at 9:09 PM on August 31, 2010

If you like apartment therapy (their books are excellent too), you'll probably like designsponge.

When I returned from a few years overseas, I had to start from scratch with my bedroom. I got the 2nd cheapest bed from Ikea, which though quite ugly, is really strong and has given me a lot of flexibility with decorating. I wrapped the headboard in fabric and pinned it at the back so it looks more like a padded headboard. Mostly I use vintage sheets to do this, they're are some really cool designs in 2nd hand shops waiting to be taken home & loved.
posted by Wantok at 9:33 PM on August 31, 2010

I see you've already found apartment therapy, so let me amend my earlier comment: yes, it is a good resource.
posted by dfriedman at 9:40 PM on August 31, 2010

what are some good resources, tips, threads, or hacks for furnishing and decorating a bedroom or living space or the like?

Measure everything! Measure the angles of approach to your front door, measure the door itself, measure the height and width of everything, measure the distance from the wall sockets, measure how doors swing open and closed, please just measure everything! "I'm going to buy this kickass bookshelf OH GOD IT DOESN'T FIT UP THE STAIRS!" "This table is amazing WHAT THE HELL I HAVE TO STEP OUT INTO THE HALLWAY TO TURN AROUND!" People don't need this anguish!
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:11 PM on August 31, 2010

Spend the bulk of your money on a good mattress. That's not something you want to buy second hand anyway, and it's really the best money you can spend. Everything else you can do cheaply and/or free through various resources. I did a lot of thrifting and Craigslist, but just be cautious when not buying new so that you don't bring pests home. I would steer clear of upholstered or other fabric items, and clean anything you bring home thoroughly.

If you need rugs my two favorite (and cheap) resources are and, which have very cheap or free shipping.
posted by kimdog at 6:24 AM on September 1, 2010

nthing beds from Ikea. I did a lot of shopping for a new bed some years back, and Ikea mattresses were the cheapest and well comfy.
Don't try to make do with something else as a bed - as others have said, buy the bed first. You'll be very happy to have it.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:17 PM on September 1, 2010

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