Let’s Furnish My Son’s New Rental House!

by Katy on January 9, 2024 · 36 comments

My son is moving into a rental townhouse at the end of the month and is going to need a lot of major furniture pieces, as his current house was already furnished by his roommates when he moved in. (Without the exception of his bedroom, which had been empty.) Luckily there’s still three weeks to go before move-in day, which gives us plenty of time to source what he wants and needs. He’s extra lucky that one of his new roommates was a professional chef and will outfit the kitchen.

It’s not as easy as grabbing whatever, as my son has visions of midcentury/Bauhaus/modern aesthetic decor. I’ve happily been tasked with helping to find a couch, coffee table, floor lamps, artwork, a rug, a dining room table and chairs. I love thrifting for furnishings, so this is no great favor. I am up for this challenge!

Needless to say, my goal is to not buy anything new.

So my friend and I went grocery shopping today and I asked if it was okay to pop into Goodwill along the way. (Worry not, she’s also a thrifter.) And whattayaknow, I immediately came across a solid wood Ikea black dining room table for just $30! I texted photos to my son and got the thumbs up for purchase and will return this evening to pick it up as my friend’s Prius wasn’t up to the task. It comes with two additional leaves and we can now cross “dining room table” from the list!

This table is enough of a parsons-adjacent style to scratch that high end furniture itch without emptying anyone’s savings account. Yes, he still needs chairs, but one step at a time baby, one step at a time!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kym January 9, 2024 at 6:28 pm

This decor score is great! Something to look forward to for the next few weeks. Have fun


Katy January 9, 2024 at 6:36 pm

This a better challenge than when I was finding supplies/furnishings for my kids’ college apartments, as it doesn’t have to be schlepped across the state.


Lindsey January 9, 2024 at 6:35 pm

What a find!


Christine January 9, 2024 at 6:37 pm

That Ikea table is great! Keep us up to date on what else you find for his new digs. It’s always interesting to see what items you discover in your thrifting adventures. Best wishes to him in his new home.


Ruby January 9, 2024 at 7:02 pm

Oh, what fun! And what a nice table!

It’s totally okay to have excellent taste at his age, even with a thrift shop budget. I still have three pieces that were in my first apartment, which was 40-some years ago. They were not fancy and not expensive, but were made well.


MB in MN January 9, 2024 at 8:05 pm

You are off to a great start!


A. Marie January 10, 2024 at 3:51 am

The next best thing to going thrifting myself is reading about you doing it! So I’m along for the ride.

I continue to be amused/bemused by the fascination with midcentury furniture, however. Young folks, I lived through the midcentury era the first time; I don’t need to do it again.


Anne January 10, 2024 at 8:57 am

I’m with you on the hard pass on 1950s furniture.


Heidi Louise January 10, 2024 at 12:12 pm

I also agree, except that I have learned that the less to dust or clean, with the fewer cracks and crevices, the better. In my future, this will include sleek kitchen cupboards, sinks, and toilet bases, as well as furniture and bookcases.


Vickey January 26, 2024 at 4:23 pm



Plaidkaren January 10, 2024 at 4:14 am

Oh goodie, this will be fun!!! Thanks for taking us on this journey with you !


K D January 10, 2024 at 4:38 am

The table was a great find Katy. I look forward to following the rest of the story.

Our daughter moved to her first apartment about six years ago. We told her we’d buy her a table and chairs. The very weekend she was moving our neighborhood had their annual spring yard sale. At the end of our street there was a table with four chairs for sale (I think it was $35). I texted her a picture and she was happy with it so it has been their dining set ever since, even though they eventually moved from an apartment to a house with a dining room.


K D January 10, 2024 at 5:21 am

I was thrilled that no shopping was necessary (too many choices these days) as well as happy that the funds that would have gone to buying new could be used in other ways.


Ecoteri January 10, 2024 at 6:30 pm

@K D, my daughter moved on Halloween and is a bit picky about what she is moving into her apartment. Unlike her mother who is happy with ‘place holder’ furniture, she really wants to wait to get what she WANTS – but she has very few dollars. The apartment she has moved in to has a free shelf in the laundry room, with a pin up board for folk to post things for sale – she found someone cleaning out her father’s apartment, and ended up getting a decent round table and 4 slightly wobbly chairs. I am trying to find my chair repair kit, but currently she sits on the two better chairs – the table was the find, though – everything for $50 and one floor down, three trips on the elevator and she got it all moved herself. The table has sides that fold down and additional leaves that make it quite large – an oval shape. She is finding it to be quite perfect. So glad she is cheap! and that I didn’t have to help her move this one thing…


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:59 am

Finding what you need without having to schlep it across town is a gift!


Evelyn January 10, 2024 at 5:11 am

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you mention shopping at a Habitat for Humanity Restore shop… Maybe it’s just not convenient for where you’re located? I’m up in the Seattle area and they always have a great selection of furniture, rugs, artwork, etc. We had to outfit a spare bedroom for an exchange student this year, and found what we needed there for super cheap.


Katy January 10, 2024 at 2:41 pm
Marie January 12, 2024 at 12:27 pm

Used to love our local habitat store, when they first opened. But holy moly, they’ve gotten spendy.
$4000 for an antique side board, no thank you


Jill A January 10, 2024 at 6:33 am

Oh fun. I can’t wait to see what you find.


Ava January 10, 2024 at 6:40 am

I have full confidence that Katy will come through with the whole list.


Sandra January 10, 2024 at 7:13 am

When my daughter moved from the East Coast last year she gave away or sold most of her furniture. I had the pleasure of helping her shop for replacement furniture. We almost exclusively bought used pieces and we paid a fraction of the new price. One example, an Ethan Allen sofa with coordinating arm chairs that had been used for staging and they delivered it, too.


Mary Ann January 10, 2024 at 7:34 am

Excellent find.
Late on my five frugal things:

1. I have finally used up the popcorn that has been in my kitchen for about five years. It has been a tasty and healthy treat. I spray a little olive oil on it and added salt. I have no BP problems so no worries.

2. We discovered in the inherited River House a fabulous tangerine trees with sweet, easy peel, no seeds fruit. Score!!!! I have been eating them all week and will go back for more.

3. I did NOT buy a new mouse for school even though the left click is broken. I am only working until June and then won’t need the extra mouse. It is funny how I have to readjust my irritated thinking to use commands instead of left click. Really how much time does it cost and I am saving 25 bucks. Also, I have an old non wireless one. I certainly have entitlement issues.

4. I picked through my friend’s donation box and found a comfy matching jogger pants outfit. I wore it to a meeting last night with a sweater I bought in Peru and got rave reviews.

5. I remembered to save 4 T. of my homemade yoghurt to make a new batch when I go find cheap milk today at the discount store.


Anna Chan January 10, 2024 at 7:52 am

I would also suggest looking at facebook marketplace and https://trashnothing.com/beta/browse, for free items


Sandra January 10, 2024 at 9:41 am

I agree with Anna. Facebook Marketplace is a good source for used furniture. We checked it regularly.


Q January 10, 2024 at 11:17 am

I’m also looking forward to seeing your finds. I’m going to aim for some changing up at home, nothing major. I scored a nice Indian throw to use as tablecloth, and am ready to add a bit of color. Your son is lucky to have you scouting for him.


Ashley Bananas January 10, 2024 at 11:52 am

Great job! Second hand saves!


Bee January 10, 2024 at 1:35 pm

What a fun project! You are off to a great start. Do you have a budget in mind or are you going with the flow?
We used auctions and estate sales as well as thrift stores when we did my daughter’s apartment. But our Goodwills are not up to the standards of Portland.
Happy hunting and enjoy!


Katy January 10, 2024 at 2:39 pm

Goin’ with the flow . . . .


sharon January 10, 2024 at 1:50 pm

Great Table! My daughter and her partner broke up about 7 months ago and she moved into her own apartment. She owned a bed, a nightstand, a desk and a dining room table. She also wanted that mid-century look. I helped her lo0k on Marketplace and some local virtual yard sales. She found several things but for her mid century look she had her best luck on Offerup. She found a tv/media center for $50 that originally was $350 and a Crate and Barrel sofa for $200 that was originally $2800 (it had some minor cat damage and she has two cats) If you have Offerup in your area I encourage you to check it out


texasilver January 10, 2024 at 10:49 pm

I enjoyed your posts re: furnishing your guest room. I’m looking forward to your posts on your next furnishing adventure.


Katy January 11, 2024 at 10:58 am

Not sure my son will want me photographing his living space, but I’ll definitely photograph and and all finds.


Nalani January 14, 2024 at 9:41 am


Thanks so much for including us in your hunting adventures! Love all of this and your son’s aesthetic. Too bad we live so far away, I have a solid walnut midcentury dresser for sale.


Katy January 14, 2024 at 12:53 pm

That’s almost worth driving across country for!


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