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Roughly two years ago, I moved into my very first apartment. Granted, it was (and still is) a teeny tiny studio, I was fairly overwhelmed when it came to the act of actually furnishing it. I’ll admit, part of the reason for this was the fact that I like to take my sweet time when making decisions of that sort, the other was the result of working for Domino—a shortage of design inspiration is not something I ever really have to worry about. Before settling on a decorative aesthetic (i.e. investing in pieces I would be okay living with for the foreseeable future) I did what any first-time renter should do, I turned to Ikea.

Now, we can totally recognize the fact that stepping inside the winding aisles of Ikea—tasked with the challenge of having to fill an empty apartment—can be a relatively daunting one. Sticking to the essentials is key here—remember, you’re stocking up on the bare necessities. And as the Swedish retailer is known for their relatively affordable yet style-focused approach to design, I knew I would find exactly what I needed.

Read on to get the scoop on everything I bought (and have since kept!) for my first apartment.

MALM Storage Bed, $499

The Malm storage bed is the ultimate small-space essential. The array of items I hoard under my bed is actually astounding. From an entire collection of off-season clothing to folding chairs, fans, wall art, rugs, and everything else in between, it’s safe to say that I have an entire room’s worth of gear stored under my bed.

TERJE Folding Chair, $19.99

Given the fact that opportunities for extra seating come at a bare minimum in a small space, versatile alternatives always come in handy. The Terje is one such example and the fact that it’s easily foldable and can be stowed under my bed, when not in use, is a major plus.

Pro-Tip: Reinvent the seat with a fresh pop of color—I took to mine with Farrow & Ball’s Lulworth Blue.

TIMVISARE Dish Towel, $5.99

Aside from imparting my whitewashed space with a much-needed pop of color, these dish towels definitely hold their weight in the functionality department.

NORDEN Gateleg table, $179

Yet another essential that really holds up a small space, the Norden table is a multifunctional gem. Its foldable capabilities allow it to be used as everything from a console to a dining table. I utilized it as a stand for my television for the majority of the time and as a desk/table on occasion.

INTAGANDE Carafe, $7.99 and INTAGANDE Glass, $1.99

This set is still a standout favorite and I can attribute that to its streamlined, timeless composition. Its dreamy blush-toned finish and budget-friendly price (I mean, $1.99 for that glass?) is just an added bonus.

PUDERVIVA Duvet Cover and Pillowcase, $89.99

Affordability is a major draw when it comes to Ikea’s bedding collection—the fact that the sheets happen to be of high-quality and can actually stand the test of time is why we’re avid fans. This linen option can hold its own in comparison to all the luxe alternatives, exuding an effortlessly cool aesthetic that doesn’t compromise on comfort.

JANSJÖ LED Floor Lamp, $19.99

This one is about as inconspicuous as they get and yet, it provides just the right amount of light. I have it set aside my bed, in lieu of a bulky table lamp, and love how it seamlessly blends in with the whitewashed surround.

Compartmentalizing storage is key for avoiding clutter, hence why I stocked up on these versatile cases for the space under my bed. They make for the ideal vessel for clothing, bedding, and linens.   

JÄLL Drying rack, $8.99

This drying rack has come in handy more times than I can possibly recount. For city-dwellers who have to deal with public laundromats, this is an undeniable essential—besides, no one wants to sit through an additional cycle just to dry a handful of pieces that didn’t make it the first time around. When not in use, it folds into an ultra-slim position, allowing it to be easily stowed out of sight.

MINDE Mirror, $14.99

Mirrors and small spaces were made for one another, and this minimalist option is not one to miss. I installed mine in the tiny nook that doubles as a makeshift entry, and it certainly helps establish a visually-dynamic effect.

Discover more ways to shop Ikea:

Ikea’s New Collection Is All About Color (And We Want Everything) 12 Items You’d Never Think to Buy From Ikea All the Chic and Clever Ways Ikea Is Used Around the World

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