How to Furnish an Apartment for Under $200

how to furnish an apartment

Do you browse the pages of stunning home décor magazines? Create luxurious Pinterest boards for each room of the apartment? Does it feel like you’ll never have an apartment you love because you’re on a budget?

Stop right where you are. You can rent the apartment of your dreams and furnish it without winning the lottery. All it takes is research, rack-browsing, and an eye for deals.

Live the glamorous life you deserve in a chic apartment. If you’re ready to learn how to furnish an apartment on a budget, keep reading.

Embrace Pre-Loved Furniture

Sure, it would be nice to shop the West Elm floor for new arrivals. But, most major furniture stores are way out of your budget. Instead, check out your local secondhand furniture stores and Facebook Marketplace listings.

Leave all your preconceived notions at the door. Not every person who donates furniture has bed bugs. Most people donate or sell furniture because they’re out of space or are changing their style. Plus, everything can get cleaned or updated. Right now, Facebook Marketplace is full of mid-century modern hutches, coffee tables, and entertainment units. You’re bound to find some affordable gems.

Shop Major Sales

Anyone on a budget knows when the major annual sales are. These are the prime days to buy what you need for your apartment, cheaply.

For example, there’s Amazon Prime Days. If you have a Prime membership, you get a full 36-hours of sales on the platform. And, Amazon has a flourishing furniture and home goods section.

Then, there’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s best to compile a list of the furniture pieces you need before the sale weekend. You’re on a budget so stay focused on what you need.

Here’s a bonus tip: shop during off-seasons. For furniture and appliances, April is one of the best months as people are spring cleaning and getting rid of pieces. Fourth of July weekend is also popular for furniture sales.

Fall for Knocks Offs

Forget brand names and major labels. You can get nearly identical furniture pieces to the ones in showrooms. This is especially true when it comes to home décor goods.

Love the natural, boho-chic look? Don’t waste your money on Restoration or Anthropologie. You can find identical wicker storage baskets and serving trays from Ikea and Wayfair or on Amazon.

Love the idea of hanging a gallery wall above your sofa? Authentic art prints and framing can cost you a fortune. Instead, shop for art prints on Society6 or Etsy. Find secondhand frames at the consignment store and spray paint them all the same color.

Wondering How to Furnish an Apartment on a Budget?

Decorating and furnishing your space doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re wondering how to furnish an apartment for under $200, use the tips above.

But first, you need an apartment before you can start decorating. If you’re looking for an apartment in the Fort Wayne area, check out our affordable apartments. Our apartments are small pet-friendly and single-story. All you need is furniture.

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Paws for a Cause Grab ‘n Go

acspca fundraiser

Join us for our Paws for a Cause Grab ‘n go and dinner’s on us!

September 26, 2019
In front of Leasing Office

Stop by to pick up your “Doggie Bag” which includes a hoagie, chips, cookie, & a drink. Donate pet supplies to the Allen County SPCA to be entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card.

Items needed by the ACSPCA:

  • kitty litter
  • cat & kitten food (wet or dry)
  • dog & puppy food (wet or dry)
  • box lids from copy paper cases
  • canned tuna, sardines, or mackerel
  • paper towel tubes
  • puppy pads
  • egg cartons (prefer paper
  • Martingdale collars (medium & large sizes)
  • Made in the USA rawhide chews & dog treats
  • disposable cat scratchers
  • peanut butter
  • lint rollers
  • dish detergent
  • tall trash bags or 39-gallon trash bags
  • paper towels
  • gift cards to Petco, PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus
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New to Renting an Apartment? A Checklist to Help with the Process

Is it your first time renting an apartment? Don’t fret. While there’s plenty that you need to know about renting an apartment, it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Here’s a list of the most important things you should check in your new apartment if you’re new to renting. It’s good to know that your leasing office is obligated to ensure your apartment is up to standard before you move in.

1. Check for Damages or Health and Safety Hazards

Before moving into a new apartment, ensure that the apartment has no existing damages. Do a thorough inspection of the walls, windows, doors, and other fixtures. Bring a friend or family member to help you out and make sure that you don’t miss anything.

Ensure you also look for the safety measures in place. This could be smoke detectors, fire suppression systems, and safety exits. Look for anything likely to be a health hazard, such as the presence of mold, lead paints, or poor waste disposal mechanisms.

2. Check If the Plumbing, Heat, and Air Conditioning Systems Are Working

If you’re renting an apartment for the first time, these are some of the things you’re likely to miss out during a walkthrough. You don’t want to wake up the next morning and get frustrated by a shower whose water pressure is far from pleasant.

3. Review Your Apartment Lease Keenly

Go over your lease agreement section by section. Make sure you ask the leasing office what each phrase means if you have trouble understanding it. Learn what questions to ask before signing a lease agreement.

4. Find out all the Costs of Living in the Apartment

If you’re new to renting, there are costs associated with living in an apartment that you should be aware of. This includes a security deposit, apartment application fee, and first and last month’s rent (not always). A service charge may also be required for security and apartment maintenance purposes.

If you own a pet, you may be required to pay a pet fee. Make sure you know about all these expenses before signing the lease agreement.

5. Ensure the Apartment is Clean Before Moving In

Your apartment community should ensure that the apartment is sparkling clean before you move in. If any repairs have been done, all materials, such as paint and woodwork remains, should be cleared off.

Before you move in, it’s always wise to disinfect the apartment, especially in areas such as the bathroom and kitchen.

Are You New to Renting?

If you’re new to renting, follow the above apartment rental checklist to ensure your move is exceptional.

Read on to learn about apartments for rent in Fort Wayne!

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Dividing It Up: The Top Divider Ideas to Create Multiple Spaces in a Room

The surge of interest in tiny houses has caused a trendy movement toward more minimalist lifestyles.

Whether it’s van life or living in a small apartment, a lifestyle that calls for making the most of tight spaces can come with big headaches. It can feel a little claustrophobic to have your cooking space, eating space, living space, and sleeping space all be within arms reach of each other.

But don’t despair! There are creative and simple ways to break up your rooms and create a space that actually works for your life.

Keep reading to see some of our favorite room divider ideas.

Top Room Divider Ideas

Splitting up your space to make it work will take some creativity and little trial-and-error. But isn’t a living room with a separate sitting area, or a guest room that doubles as an office worth it? Here are our tried-and-true ways to work with a small space:


You can create a fake wall using a bookcase. In a small space, storage is everything, so this bookshelf-wall’s function is two-fold: one, it creates a barrier, and two, it provides extra shelving.

To keep the space from looking small with a large bookshelf, make sure the bookshelf reaches to the ceiling. This will draw the eye up and make the ceilings look taller.

You can also find a bookshelf that doesn’t have a back. In essence, it is a freestanding set of shelves that you can see through and access from both sides.

It creates the illusion of a wall without actually walling anything off.


For your sleeping space, consider hanging curtains. They’re easy to install. They can be pulled back to expose the sleeping area, or closed to provide privacy.

The best part—curtains don’t take up a lot of room.

You can choose from something sheer (think: romantic and whimsical) or something that blocks light (think: functional and utilitarian). They can also add an interesting pop of color or texture to the room.

Splitting your sleeping space from the rest of the bedroom allows you to create a sitting room or work area in your bedroom without feeling like you should crawl back into bed.

Pendant Lights

Lighting goes a long way toward dividing a room. Cohesive lighting for the kitchen area marks it as a separate space from the different lighting used in the living room.

Pendant lights are a great option. You probably don’t have floor space to waste on floor lamps in your Fort Wayne apartment, so hanging all of your lights can create separate areas of ambiance without wasting precious square footage.

Free Standing Bar Counter

This is essentially a long bench that is elevated to counter or bar height. You can buy, or make, one that has storage underneath. You can also use the under-counter space to stash stools.

This bar counter can be a functional eating area or work area that divides the room. One side of the counter is the kitchen. The other side of the counter is the living room.


A little greenery goes far in a small space. Consider house plants. I promise you can find ones that are hard to kill.

Tall plants that can thrive in low light, like a snake plant, can be used to create an organic barrier between spaces. Set them up on multi-tiered shelves to block the view of your kids playroom from the main living room.

Divide it Up!

Use some, or all, of these room divider ideas to make your apartment, or other tiny home, work for your lifestyle.

You don’t have to discard organization in order to live minimally. You can have your small space and love it too.

Looking for more ways to declutter your life when moving into an apartment? Check out this article on things you can probably skip when packing to move.

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Tikes in Tow: How to Choose a Kid-Friendly Apartment

Are you moving to south Fort Wayne? Looking for a nice apartment where you don’t have to compromise your budget for safety or the other way around? There are plenty of apartments you could check out – but not all of them are right for couples or parents with kids. We’d like to think ours is.

Want some help deciding if you agree? Check out these features to look for in kid-friendly apartments.

1. Look for a Community

The more apartments or units the apartment community has, the more potential friends your kids can make. Not everyone in the community will have kids, but a bigger neighborhood means that they’ll have more playmates to choose from.

Ideally, the community will have open places to play, like grassy areas in between the apartments. These spots allow kids to not worry about car traffic and run and play, as kids love to do.

Another benefit of having a large community is that you, the adult, can meet more friends, too! Your child may find a fast friend and you and their parents can switch off or even split babysitting costs.

2. Proximity to Schools

If your child is school age, you want to make sure the Fort Wayne apartment you’re looking at is near a good school. Fort Wayne schools are good in general, so that’s not an issue. Our community is specifically zoned for the following schools.

Lindley Elementary

Lindley is a unique school in that they not only have a kindergarten but a pre-kindergarten program. Most parents have to pay private centers for pre-kindergarten education, so that’s a plus.

Portage Middle School

For grades six through eight, children in this zone can attend Portage middle school. It’s a medium-sized school, at around 400 students, but it has a great teacher to student ratio, at about 14 to one.

It’s a short seven-minute drive from the apartments or a 15-minute bike ride.

Wayne High School

Finally, older students can attend Wayne High School, which teaches the traditional 9-12 grades. It’s close by as well, but not quite as close as the middle school.

If you don’t want to drive the 15ish minutes, there are public school bus systems your child can take advantage of.

If you’d rather your student take the city bus (it usually comes later than the school buses) we’re right on that line as well.

3. Look for Nearby Parks and Nature Areas

Our apartments are close to the beautiful Towpath trail, which you can take a leisurely stroll to on foot or by bike. The path is rich in natural beauty and miles of designated walking/biking trails. In fact, you can go up to 8.5 miles round trip, if you add in the optional part of the trail.

It’ll take you all the way to Rockhill Park, where there’s a playground, basketball court, and picnic area.

And, we’re close to Foster Park and Pawster Park so you kids and your dog can have a chance to run and play.

Kid-Friendly Apartments: Space to Grow and Play

Along with being close to schools, friends, and natural areas, you want your child to have room inside the apartment to grow. Our built-in bookshelves and outside storage will give you room to store all their gear – and your own.

Sound good to you? Come by for a tour of our kid-friendly apartments or download an application today!

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Think Outside the Dog: The Best Pets for Apartment Living

Want to live somewhere where you don’t have to shovel snow, mow the lawn, or do any maintenance projects? How about an apartment?

All you have to do is pay rent and go about your day. However, a drawback to apartment living is that there are limitations to the kinds and sizes of animals you can have.

While most apartments allow small dogs, that’s not your only option.

Dogs aren’t for everyone. They’re needy and require a lot of care. Additionally, a bored dog can cause a lot of destruction.

Read on for the best pets for an apartment!

Cats, of Course

Cats or dogs: the debate that has gone on for centuries.

Cats can make the best pets for any size apartment. They’re incredibly low-maintenance. Aside from food and water, they basically take care of themselves. The personality of cats, however, vary greatly. Some cats are super friendly cuddle monsters who love attention. On the other hand, we have all met those anti-social cats that seem to have no desire to be touched or looked at by you.

Depending on what you need from a pet, a cat may or may not be the way to go. Additionally, there is always the gamble of what kind of personality it will have too.


Birds can also make fantastic pets, but cockatoos can make the best pets. Cockatoos are extremely intelligent creatures and can even learn how to talk.  They have big personalities and bigger hearts. Cockatoos are known for being surprisingly affectionate with their owners, to the point of being clingy. They make good pets as well as excellent friends.

However, cockatoos demand a lot of care and attention, they are not a good fit for lazy pet owners. A cockatoo that is kept too confined can eventually exhibit aggressive and self-harming behaviors.



Ferrets are animals often overlooked while people are looking for the best pets to have. Ferrets in the wild can be aggressive and quite intimidating. However, domesticated ferrets are kind of like cats. They can be trained to use a litter box and can be very affectionate with their owners.

Also like cats, ferrets sleep for a good part of the day and are incredibly curious animals. They are quiet for the most part, but all develop individual personalities.

A downside (maybe) to owning a ferret is that it is often advised to have at least two, due to the social dynamic of a ferret’s nature. They love to play and explore, and that type of stuff is always better with a friend.

The Best Pets Are the Pets You Love

Regardless of the animals you decide are the best pets, one thing is always certain. If you choose to be a pet owner, you are making a commitment to yourself and that animal. It deserves to be treated with love, kindness, and respect.

With the right care and ownership, a pet can be the best thing in your life. When you’ve had a bad day, your animal is always waiting at home to cheer you up, just to be your friend.

Before adopting any pet, contact your leasing office to find out what types and sizes of pets they allow. 

For more information on apartment living, check out our blog!

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Pack This, Not That: 8 Things You Actually DON’T Need in Your New Apartment

You’re moving to a new apartment – congrats! Let the packing begin. But before you box everything up, wait and think. Do you really need to bring ALL the things with you?

Apartment living brings its own set of rules with it. Whether you’re downsizing or looking to get rid of some things, there are items you have the freedom to let go of.

Let’s look at 8 things you don’t need to take with you to your new apartment.

1. Place Settings for 10

You only use about 6 plates at a time – tops. So save yourself the cabinet space and only bring the dishes you actually use. It’s wasted space to store dish settings for more people than can fit into your apartment at one time.

2. Power Tools

One of the great things about apartment living is being maintenance free! While it’s helpful to have some basic tools on hand, in case you want to hang a picture, power tools aren’t necessary. Leave the big repairs to the apartment staff.

3. Cleaning Supplies for Every Room

While you may need a couple of specialty cleaning items (we’re looking at you, toilet bowl cleaner), multi-purpose cleaners are the way to go in a new apartment. Having one item to clean several rooms saves space and money.

4. Specialty Kitchen Appliances

Waffles, paninis, and smoothies – oh my! Sure, it’s fun to mix up lunchtime with something new. But if you don’t use those waffle makers or blenders on a regular basis, donate or sell them online. Too many specialty appliances will overcrowd your kitchen storage.

5. All the Tupperware

Tupperware tends to multiply like rabbits. Before you know it, they’re taking over your kitchen. Save space by using a glass storage set. Buy only the sizes you know you’ll use on a regular basis. (Bonus: glass looks better than Tupperware too!)

6. Outdoor Furniture Set

Personal outdoor space is usually limited in an apartment. So that large patio set you have won’t fit. If you want to enjoy your small balcony or patio, get a smaller bistro set instead. You get the same practical use at an apartment living size.

7. Glassware for Every Beverage

By the time you store your mugs, cups, wine glasses, beer steins, whiskey glasses, and espresso cups, your kitchen is too full for much else. There’s no need to bring it all. Only pack two or three kinds you use most often. Besides, it might be fun to drink wine out of a mug.

8. Complete Bedroom Furniture Set

Yes, that entire bedroom set looks amazing in the showroom. But is your apartment bedroom as big as a showroom? Likely not. Do you really need two nightstands? Could you use a desk more than a dresser? Think practically about space, what you’ll need, and use.

Now You Can Pack Smart for Your New Apartment

Make your new apartment feel like home… without the clutter! These tips will help you move into your place like a pro, while also saving space and money in the process.

Still looking for your perfect place? Contact us today! We can help you find your next home sweet home in the Fort Wayne area.

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3 Fort Wayne Area Fairs and Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss This Fall

Fall is the time of cooler seasons, hoodies, and of course, pumpkin spice. It’s also a time when you may be stuck inside of your house flipping through Netflix shows and wondering what there is to do.

Being bored out of your mind is not a fun thing to experience. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for something fun to do this fall, you need to take a trip to check out the Fort Wayne festivals and activities.

Wondering what For Wayne would actually have to be worth your time? We’ve put together a list of amazing things to be done in the region that would absolutely blow your mind. Keep reading to find out more.

Fort Wayne Festivals of Food

If there’s one thing that Fort Wayne does right, it’s food – and they do that a lot.

Fort Wayne is famous for its food festivals, and when fall comes around, you see them happening every week. One of the most popular is the Johnny Appleseed Festival, which celebrates Johnny himself through (you guessed it) apples!

Another popular food fest is the Grabill Country Fair festival. This celebration is centered around the Amish heritage and involves eating traditional Amish foods as well as partaking in arts and crafts.

Fright Night

Feeling like being a little spooky? The Fright Night festival is exactly what you need.

Each year, Fort Wayne has an event where you get to dress up as a scary zombie and trudge through downtown with the rest of the zombie horde. After you reach the destination, there are plenty of free and low-cost activities to enjoy.

Some events even allow you to hear and tell scary ghost stories, so if that’s up your alley you’ll definitely want to attend!

Nearby Fall Fairs

Only a short drive from Fort Wayne you’ll find two fairs this Fall, the Bluffton Street Fair and Dekalb County Free Fall Fair. Get your fill of carnival rides, elephant ears, and fried foods on a stick!

However you decide to spend your fall, we hope it’s filled with great food and pumpkin everything!

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Let’s Settle This Right Meow: Are Cats or Dogs the Best Pets for Apartments?

For centuries, one debate has plagued mankind and ignited flame war after flame war: Which makes for the better companion, a devoted dog or a kindly kitten? Though cats and dogs are far from the only pets people own, they are the most popular. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36.5% of households own a dog while 30.4% own a cat.

And while both are wonderful in their own way, looking after a pet while living in an apartment can be a challenge. Of the two, which make for the best pets for apartments? Paws what you’re doing and read below to find out!


Sure, most cats may not be as verbose or rambunctious as their canine counterparts, but there are plenty of great reasons why cats are among the best pets for apartment residents.

Cats need little to no care from their owner aside from a few basic chores such as feeding and changing out the litter box once a week or so. As a result, cats are a wonderful choice for those looking for a low maintenance pet. Aside from feeding and cleaning, your feline friend will more or less keep to themselves.

A few minutes per day in care is all it takes to make your cat love you. Since cats are so self-reliant, they’ll take care of the rest! They’re also very quiet, so there’s little to no risk of upsetting your neighbors with a verbose animal. At worst you can expect a few meows when they need something or gentle purring when they’re snuggled up in your lap at the end of a long day.


The story of our love of dogs dates back almost 30,000 years ago when dogs became the first animal man routinely kept as a pet. Since then, we’ve never stopped loving our playful pups. But are they right for your apartment? That depends on a few factors.

Dogs are notably higher maintenance than cats. They require constant attention and aside from a few basic tasks, can’t groom themselves. Therefore, taking care of a dog can be a much more involved process.

There are plenty of reasons to choose a dog over a cat, especially if you’re seeking companionship. Dogs are known for their fierce loyalty. Once you and your pet bond, they’ll love you forever. But the benefits of dog ownership extend beyond companionship. Harvard Medical School found that dog owners tend to be less isolated, calmer, and at a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. So while you’ll have to take them out every few hours, your dog’s need to stretch their legs may save your life!

And with hundreds of breeds, you can choose the perfect dog for your apartment size.

Best Pets For Apartments: Final Tips

So which makes for the best pets for apartments? The final answer depends upon your personality type. If you’re looking for a low maintenance pet that keeps to itself, cats are the way to go. But if you’re after constant companionship — sometimes to a fault — a dog may be your best bet.

Whichever you choose, know that your small pets are always welcome at Poplar Ridge Apartments! We pride ourselves on being a pet-friendly community, no matter where you stand on the cats vs. dogs debate.

Plus, we’re not far from some of Fort Wayne’s best trails, parks, and vets!

Ready to find a great new home that you and your pet will both love? Get in touch today and see why our residents and their pets love to call Poplar Ridge home.

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Set Up Your New Apartment Utilities: A Step-By-Step Guide

apartment utilities

During the moving process, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Changing your address, packing your belongings, and shifting your work schedule. One of the last things many people think about is apartment utilities. That’s a problem–forget your utilities and you’ll be stranded without WiFi or water.

Here, we’re walking you through every step of setting up your utilities.

Know What You Need to Set Up

Before you call a single utility company, you should talk to your landlord about what utilities you’re responsible for. This information is typically included in the lease. At Poplar Ridge, for example, we include water as part of our amenities in your rent.

You may need to set up any of the following:

  • Water and sewer
  • Trash collection
  • Internet, cable, and phone
  • Natural gas
  • HVAC

Once you know what utilities you’re responsible for, you should ask your landlord if there are preferred providers. Apartment communities usually only work with one provider, and many have deals with Internet providers.

Apply for Service

Once you know what utilities you’re responsible for, you should contact each of your providers. If you have any common utility companies between your old address and your new one, you can simply transfer service. You should notify the company of the move a few weeks in advance and update your address. It’s usually a good idea to stop service within a few days of your move-out date.

If you’re applying for service with a new company, things are a little different. Every utility company has a different application process, but it often includes a credit check. If you don’t have good credit or haven’t had services before, you may need to pay a deposit.

Arrange a Setup

Once you’ve applied, you need to arrange to set up service. Generally, you should contact a provider at least two weeks before your moving date to arrange a setup. Luckily, most providers have an online portal that makes this process easy. You’ll need your new address, including the unit number, as well as the date you want service to start.

It’s generally a good idea to stop your service a day or two before you move and a day or two after you move in (you won’t have time to deal with it during moving day). Make sure to ask your provider about the wait time to resume services – if you’re moving during peak moving season (the summer months) the wait time will be longer. You should also ask the exact time of day when your service will be set up.

Apartment Utilities Make It Feel Like Home

Nothing quite like central heating and Internet to make an apartment feel like home! But setting up your utilities is just the first step.

For more tips on making the most of your apartment, check out our blog for more posts, like these five tips for a cheap apartment makeover. If you’re interested in living in our community, welcome! Click here to see what we have to offer to our residents, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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