Using cheap decor to furnish your first place

Make up for items left at home by mooching off previous tenants, raiding shops, DIYing



HOPE Center in Moscow is a local shop that offers furniture and decor.

Catherine Taylor, Evergreen reporter

With the upcoming craze that apartment and house-hunting season brings, it’s a perfect time to start collecting ideas for how you want to decorate your new home in the next school year.

Current roommates Paige McQuaid and Emma Smith met through a mutual friend during their freshman year and instantly connected. The two started joking around with the idea of living together and ultimately decided a few months later to co-lease a room in the Cliff House.

Emma Smith, a native Californian, could only bring what she was able to cram in her Kia SUV before beginning the three-day drive from her hometown of San Diego.

“Most of the room in my car was taken up by my clothes, which left little space for any furniture or decorations,” Smith said. “I knew once I made it to Pullman I was going to need to find the cheapest things I could to furnish our place.”

McQuaid, on the other hand, lives in Spokane, a mere hour and a half drive away, and had the luxury of being able to drive multiple loads over from her home to the apartment.

“I’m a bit of a hoarder and refused to leave without all my clothes and knickknacks,” McQuaid said. “I drove to Pullman four times total to bring over all my stuff.”

Along with clothes and knickknacks, McQuaid was able to bring over a few simple house amenities, such as bathroom and kitchen supplies. But the two still had a long list of things they needed.

Luckily, they found the previous tenants left their couch and entertainment stand behind, knocking two big furniture pieces off their list. Besides those and the few simple appliances that were included, the two were on their own for everything else.

“Goodwill, Walmart and The Hope Center became our best friends while we were trying to buy stuff for our place,” McQuaid said. “We took the cheapest routes we could find.”

They made a pact at the beginning of summer to move into their apartment at the very beginning of August, to ensure that they could “raid Goodwill of all its goods before everyone else,” McQuaid said. This is exactly what they did.

From Goodwill, they were able to find a coffee table, two desks and two dressers.

“They weren’t the cutest,” McQuaid said, “but we looked at furniture revamping ideas on Pinterest, bought a can of paint, and made them look super cute for only $5 more.”

Some of their favorite decorations include a tapestry and the posters they managed to pick up for only a few bucks at Storm Cellar, located in Moscow.

The final necessities were plates, cups, silverware and basic cooking requirements.

“I had never even heard about The Hope Center until my mom forced us to go take a look at it,” Smith said. “Once again my mom was right, and we wound up finding everything we needed there.”

Instead of breaking the bank to lug over all your belongings, look at what the shops in Pullman and Moscow have to offer first.