Fab First Five Furnishings

Five Pieces to Significantly Improve Your Life at Home

First 5 Furnishings

By Melissa Roberts

Did you just move? Or did you move, like, over six months ago and your place still needs a little love? If your move was frenzied and/or chaotic you might not have found time to source your essential home starter pieces. Which leaves you with room for improvement (no pun intended, I swear to God!) and some important decisions to make.

So, where does one start? Below, I give you my apartment starter pack – the first five items to buy for maximum functionality and minimum cost, in order.

1.     Futon – Couch by day, bed by night. If you haven’t bought a bed yet, or you’re waiting for your mattress to be delivered or you’re just on a tight budget, a futon is a great investment. Once you have a permanent sleeping situation, use it as a sofa.


Unlike most, this Houzz futon looks fantastic. Get it here.


2.    Folding Chair Set – The only thing sadder than chairs without a table is a table without chairs, so buy these first. Folding chairs are easy to move from room to room if you have company or need to store them. And if later you decide to upgrade your chair situation, plastic, aka waterproof, chairs work beautifully outside.


Remodelista, as usual, has scavenged the prettiest folding chairs for us. Not plastic but definitely waterproof!


3.     Kitchen Table – Theoretically, you might never need a kitchen table. You may be perfectly content to sit on your futon and eat with your dinner plate in your lap. But one day you might decide you need to get some serious work done at home, and you will need a place to do it. Do not buy a desk. I repeat, do not buy a desk. A desk inevitably devolves from useful workspace to a holding tank for old mail and books. A kitchen table doubles as a desk.

Kitchen Table

This table is made in Greece so you’ll probably want to look for similar ones in Vermont, or on Etsy.


4.     Dresser – Maybe you were resourceful enough to fit all of your clothes into your closet. Seriously, mad props. But what about your treasures? Mementos make your space personal and deserve a home. What better place than on top of something that will also allow you to neatly store clothes?


These adorable mid-century dressers are available from ERA Interiors.


5.   Lamp – Items 1-4 met your basic space needs – working, eating, and sleeping. Item 5 is from the oft-neglected lighting department. So, treat yourself and buy something colorful and decorative that will also allow you to see the floor of your apartment.


The Arco lamp was invented in 1962 by the prolific Castiglioni brothers and has been copied ever since. It’s not hard to find a variation that fits your budget.

Extra:    Storage – We’re not calling it the prettiest thing ever, but like your clunky winter boots, this cabinet/bookshelf hybrid from Ikea is insanely practical. It hides your messiness and displays your accumulated knowledge (books) and your seashells, snapshots, and treasured trinkets. And with a plant or two on top it might not look so Soviet!


Supremely practical cabinet/bookshelf hybrid from IKEA.