How to live like an adult… but still spend like a poor 20something.

2 Jan

I’m gearing up for the move to NYC!! I officially make the leap next week, so this week it is all about the preparation. And apartment prep for a young 20something just starting out means one thing and one thing only: Ikea.

But seriously, what did people do before Ikea?!? It’s right up there with cell phones and word processing… I honestly do not know how my parents got through young adulthood without them. Where else can you find ridiculously cheap yet somehow semi nice looking furniture that perfectly bridges that awkward gap between wanting to pay the bare minimum and not wanting to look like you live in a college dorm room?? The only answer is Ikea.

And this brings me to my current Ikea shopping list. I was guided by parental wisdom (read: forced) to purchase the bare minimum amount of furniture. So clearly I went directly to the Ikea dining and eating department. Because, yes, I NEED these multi-colored pizza cutters, this 14-piece pastry cutter set in a box, and don’t even get me started on their entire section devoted to food storage and organizing!!

Okay, but in reality, I did reel myself in and put together this list that is entirely way too adult. (But don’t worry, I will be ordering again. And my next order will most def include this heart shaped baking mold.)



The Adult: I just really felt like the bed frame would take my room from ho hum to… “wow, now this is the room of a young adult who is super hip and totally has her act together.” Also, because the bed frame lifts the bed off the ground it really opens up the room and creates a more spacious atmosphere. (Is it too obvious that I didn’t come up with that last part myself? Read more about why bed frames are awesome here.)

The Cost Save: Yes, a bed frame will set  you back some dollars. But so will your boxspring and that little metal rolling thing you put a bed on. After crunching the numbers, I found that 9 times out of 10 in the bed frame versus boxspring war it comes out being even. And at least with the bed frame you get a super cool looking piece of furniture out of it. Clearly, the bedframe vs. boxspring debate brings up some heated conversation… but don’t worry, I already broke it down for you in this other (yes, I have multiple) furniture related post. 

Warning: Don’t forget to buy the slatted bed base when you purchase the bed frame!

The Product: MALM bed frame.


The Adult: The adult portion on this one should be pretty obvious… adults frown upon large piles of clothing strewn about the floor (and yes, it’s still not cool even if they are in organized piles on the floor… I’ve tried that one.) As a girl downsizing from a room with plentiful storage space to a shared room in Manhattan, adequate storage space was extremely important to me. So I got a huge dresser, and then another small one as backup.

The Cost: Taking a cue from the above bed frame, we decided to let Ikea do the decorating work for us, and just continued with the entire Malm set. (NOTE – the MALM series happens to be one of the most cost effective series Ikea offers.)

The Product: the MALM 6 drawer dresser.

Clearly, I need more room for my shoes. So I also got this dresser below as a “bedside table”. The Fiance never needs to know that it’s really a dresser hehehe… Hey, I think this just shows my ingenious use of closet design.

The Product: the MALM Ikea 3-drawer dresser.


The Adult: Okay, this one isn’t the classiest adult option. But hey… in case you couldn’t tell by my ode to dressers above, I want me some storage space. So throwing worries about looking like an adult aside, I sucked it up and got the rolling rack.

The Cost: At 15 bucks I think that this rack is one of the most ingenios inventions of out era.

Note: The Fiance has already been informed that his button-downs will look so much nicer on the roller rack so we really must show case them outside of the closet instead… I know, genius move by me.

The Product: RIGGA clothes rack.


The Adult: Puleeeese… doesn’t a home office just scream adult?!?!!

The Cost: Ikea gives you some really great home work space options. I was in a debate over getting a simple table top and adding legs with storage, (look how cool they set up the workspace here!) or going for a full on desk. In the end, we went with this straight up (but still super cool) desk below.

The Product: MICKE desk.

And to complete the home office nook? A kick butt chair.

The Product: the JULES swivel chair.

The Statement Piece: *

*I need help with this one…

The Adult: Every adult room has that one super swanky piece that just Makes It. It really, Ties The Room Together. I WANT THAT.

The Cost: Statement pieces can be tricky. They often creep up in price and then before you know it you are spending $500 on an African tribal mask because you think it will make the room. My goal: Go for something that pops, makes a statement, and is still functional. I was thinking lamp… or table.

My favorite find so far (Note – this has been vetoed by The Fiance… much to my dismay): an orange occasional table! It can roll over the bed so that you can do work… in bed!! Amazing. And, Statement? It’s a super cool table. Pop? It’s orange. Functional? It’s a table on wheels whenever you need it!! SOLD!! Come on people… help me out on this one.

The Product: TheMALM occasional table in orange.

I was promptly cut off of list duty after begging for the occasional table… so that is it for now. There is still the mattress and bedding to discuss, but believe me my friends, bedding is on a whole other level of adult. Next time…

In case this excessively ode to Ikea wasn’t enough… check out:

– A Little Polkadot’s Love/Hate relationship with the furniture chain.

Mackenzie Horan’s Ikea favorites for stylish design.

Southern Hospitality takes you along with her on her adventures through Ikea.

What other pieces do you recommend? and please… someone back me up on this occasional table!!

10 Responses to “How to live like an adult… but still spend like a poor 20something.”

  1. Brian January 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Yes yes I have the Malm Queen size in brown-black with a full-on memory foam mattres and I love it.

    • maggierulli January 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      Nice choice. I’m hoping to upgrade to a queen next time… that’s like next level adult after the full.

  2. tony January 6, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    So… why I am just learning now that you don’t need a box spring if you have a frame with slats? Cause we had both and my bed was 10 ft tall.

    • maggierulli January 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      You’re not alone… I had to explain it multiple times to the fiance as well.

      • tony January 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        Gosh… What is the criteria for i-banking these days? I’m embarassed for his employer.

  3. rhodasouthernhospitality January 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Glad you enjoy Ikea as much as I do! I’ll definitely be picking up a few things in there.

    • maggierulli January 12, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      Next on my furniture To Do list is a Rug… so I will be following your recommendations for Ikea Rugs!!


  1. The greatest thing since Jeggings: Ikea in home set up. « - January 11, 2012

    […] 2) Pick out the items. Browse Ikea’s website and pick everything your heart desires. Tip – not everything on their site is available in every store… so check the store’s site or call/email to make sure they have what you want in stock. For tips on what to buy, check out my Guide to Living Like an Adult on A Poor 20something budget. […]

  2. Moving to a new Apt? Don’t forget the lamp. « - January 12, 2012

    […] simple advice. But so easily forgotten… So easy, that I even forgot to add lighting to my Guide of how to live like an adult but still spend like a 20 something. But here’s a tip – you need light. I realized this all too quickly the first night I […]

  3. Decorating Is So Much Work, But I Want Overtime | Budget Nomad - August 20, 2015

    […] How to live like an adult… but still spend like a poor 20something. […]

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