5 Surprisingly Affordable Ways to Furnish Your New Apartment

Furnishing your first apartment and home can seem financially scary. I am about to move out into my own place, and frankly, I do not have extra money to furnish my new apartment. There is a misconception where people seem to think that to get the best quality and most functional furniture, you must spend a fortune. Not so at Alex Cooper Railroad Crossing Discovery Auctions!

As a college student, I worked summers as the Art Intern at Alex Cooper Auctioneers. I often envied a lot of the furniture we had on sale. Furniture in the auction house is a woefully overlooked strategy for decorating your living space, and I would love to shine some light on it.

It is an awfully sustainable way to buy furniture décor, too! Everything sold at auction has been kept in a near pristine state, all while being used. No environmental impact, just simply recycling furniture. In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned how a friend of mine bought drinkware from a local thrift shop for his new apartment. Which… is fine. But it is a smarter idea to buy stellar items like that from auctions. For furniture? Same idea!

Here is a unique modern walnut live edge table that was offered in one of our most recent Railroad Crossing Discovery Auctions.

Lot 7229, Modern Walnut Live Edge Table, sold in Alex Cooper’s discovery auction (ended on April 24th, 2023)

#1 – Let us Talk Chairs

Something I have experienced in my time as a college student is most meals are eaten on the couch with a plastic folding table. Even when chairs and a dinner table are available, they are often outdated and simply functional. But at an auction, you do not need to drop a lot of money for fabulous stylish furniture!

Lot 7149, Set of Five Contemporary Windsor Hickory Armchairs, sold in Alex Cooper’s discovery auction (ended on April 24th, 2023)

Here, in one of our recent Railroad Crossing Discovery Auction, lot 7149 was this basic yet noteworthy set of five chairs. They sold for $60! Chairs and a dinner table do so much to space to light up and truly make a house feel like a home. I want to show everyone that affordable, wonderful furniture is available to anyone.

#2 – Lighting

It is way too often that I see friends with homogenized lighting, the same lamp, same fixture, model, and everything purchased from your local supermarket. This has happened to me much too often with my generation. However, it is easy to nab a small little lighting treasure from auctions that truly speaks to your personality and makes your home feel unique. I cannot think of a better example for this than a good light fixture.

Lot 7268, Three Mid-Century Modern Style Table Lamps, sold in Alex Cooper’s discovery auction (ended on April 24th, 2023)

Lamps - floor or table - are frequently offered at auctions for great budget prices. I have never seen as much variety in lamps as I have in Alex Cooper Auctioneers Railroad Crossing Discovery Auctions. I have learned that you can make lamps out of almost anything! Porcelain vases, airplane models, and antique telephones – all outfitted as table lamps – are just a taste of the many unique lighting options that have passed through our auctions. It may feel as though unique and stylish lamps are a rare find, but in auction, unique things are offered all the time.

#3 – Paintings

My whole mission with writing about Alex Cooper Auctioneers Railroad Crossing Discovery Auctions is to encourage the younger generation to stretch their furnishings budget and rethink how to shop for furniture and fine art at auctions.

I love every auction that includes art, as it yields so many great finds. Sure, when dealing with smaller auctions you might not find the most famous artists, but no two pieces are the same. Even if the artist is unknown, it truly doesn’t matter. If you like the piece, it is a great fit for your home. Getting into art collecting is an incredibly chic and ingenious way to furnish your place without breaking the bank.

Lot 7810, Three Framed Antique Style Paintings, sold in Alex Cooper’s discovery auction (ended on April 24th, 2023)

If you are interested in more information on starting an art collection, check out our blog post about our Art Discovery sale, “Want to Begin Collecting Art? Check Out the Art Collector Discovery.”

#4 – Couches

Little known fact about me - I love a good couch. It all matters and varies from person to person – but for me, my couch needs to be leather, squishy, and simply tactile. A good metric, for me, is that you should be able to sink into a couch to determine if it’s any good at all.

One thing that I feel people frequently underestimate when moving somewhere new is the cost of a couch. Currently, I am rocking a $20 budget couch that has seen better days. I was not lucky enough to have any other option. But, man! I learned the value of a couch the hard way. I purchased a couch for $500 that is not even comfortable. I mention this quite a bit in a past article, but you absolutely have to keep an eye out for the Alex Cooper Railroad Crossing Discovery Auctions. I have to note the low price of a couch that I absolutely adored from the most recent sale.

Lot 7217, Contemporary Two-Seat Leather Recliner, sold in Alex Cooper’s discovery auction (ended on April 24th, 2023)

This couch, from lot 7217, sold for an easy $150. If I had the means, I would’ve taken this straight down to my new apartment. Regardless, hopefully you will pursue an amazing couch, as I am.

#5 – Posters, Oddities, Etc

I tend to love posters and oddities. I am someone that tries to decorate and furnish every single part of a room.

Lot 1021, Dedalo Umbrella Stand by Emma Gismondi Schweinberg, sold in Alex Cooper’s May 6th, 2023 gallery auction

Look at this little orange umbrella stand. I LOVE IT! Lot 1021 from a recent auction. I do not know if you caught on to my appreciation towards strange unique little items. I absolutely adore decorating rooms with auction items and the adventurous treasure hunting gratification they bring.

A huge portion of my posters and decorations all come from Alex Cooper Auctioneers. I acquired one of these rarer John Lennon posters from an Alex Cooper Railroad Crossing Discovery Auction!

Lot 8242, John Lennon. Imagine Poster, sold in Alex Cooper’s discovery auction (ended on July 1st, 2020)

Naturally I would not be able to afford to spend all my money on auction items, but when it comes to treasurable one-of-a-kind finds of any kind, the Alex Cooper Railroad Crossings Discovery Auction has always delivered. Every item starts with a $20 price point!

If you are a Thriftanista, seeking to stretch your furnishings budget, and want to decorate like me, you would be best to visit Alex Cooper Railroad Crossings Discovery Auctions at bid.alexcooper.com.

I sincerely hope that this article has inspired you to – at the very least – check out the items offered at the auction.

Beyond that, keep an eye out for our next Alex Cooper Auctioneers Railroad Crossing Discovery Auctions by following our Instagram or keeping up with this very website.

Arguably even easier, download the Alex Cooper App, available on:

           iPhone Users - The App Store

           Android Users – The Google Play Store

Cormac Jensen

SCAD Class of 2025