Apartment Furnishings: What To Buy New & Used

Whether it’s with our furnished apartments or convenient, on-site amenities — here at The Quad On Delaware, we love saving our residents money. We also know filling a new apartment with furniture can be expensive. Luckily, you can always save some extra cash by hitting up local thrift stores or garage sales to buy affordable, secondhand furniture. But, be warned, certain items are worth the investment of buying new.

To help you discern whether its more cost-effective to purchase furniture new or used, follow our trusty little guide below.

Are you a student looking for apartments near UMN? Well, look no further — contact us to schedule a tour of our Minneapolis student housing!

Students Setting Up Furniture

What To Buy New

Upholstered Furniture

Avoid buying any secondhand furniture made of fabric-based materials. Used furnishings such as upholstered sofas, rugs, and cushions are often unsanitary. Not to mention, upholstered furniture may be host to a nest of creepy crawlies, such as fleas or cockroaches.


Purchasing used mattresses is never a good idea. They’re often unhygienic, prone to bed bugs, and will only become a burden that’ll cost you more money down the line. Instead, hold out for those end-of-season sales to buy a new mattress and bed set.


Pots and pans handed down from relatives who’ve never used them aren’t so bad, but purchasing them from strangers may not be worth it. If not suitably cared for, cookware can get scratched or become a breeding ground for bacteria. Invest in a set of new cookware.

Ready-To-Assemble Furniture

“Assembly required” furnishings such as desks, dressers, coffee tables, and nightstands are risky to buy used. For starters, if the owner has disassembled the piece for resale, there’s no guarantee that all the necessary parts will be present. Second, if it’s still together, it may not survive the move as they’re often flimsy. Lastly, the owner may not have assembled it correctly in the first place. Sorry, secondhand ready-to-assemble furniture — three strikes and you’re out.

What To Buy Used

Solid Wood Furniture

Hardwood furniture is durable and easy to refurbish, making them great pieces to buy used. However, always check any of the piece’s cabinets, legs, and drawers for damage. Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find used hardwood furniture.

Art & Decor

Those barren apartment walls deserve to have something hung on them, and there are plenty of cheap secondhand options. Garage sales are rife with secondhand wall art, and decorations, perfect for help fill a new space. Even a simple print can look stylish in the right frame.


If you don’t already have some, tools are a great secondhand purchase. Having a fully-equipped toolbox around the apartment when it comes time to hang art or assemble complicated furniture will make the process a lot easier.


Smaller appliances, such as toasters and microwaves, may not come with your new apartment. Thankfully, it’s not too hard to find someone looking to get rid of their old appliances. Just be sure to test that secondhand appliances work correctly before taking them home.