Orlando offers a wide variety of live-in communities. While most apartment complexes come unfurnished there are many student communities that offer furnished apartments from the get go. It's important to recognize what kind of apartment you're looking for and if you'd rather have a furnished or unfurnished apartment.
The difference between finding a unit with and without may mean hundreds of dollars in price difference right away. It also means you have these items to own (obviously) and that makes it hard to go back to furnished apartment living.
The trade-off of spending money on your own furniture and lugging it around is that you have the ability to choose furniture based on your personal taste. Maybe you've had your eye on your grandmother's armoire or you have a particularly gorgeous furniture set you've been itching to buy. Think carefully about what set-up you (and your possible roommates) want.
Looking for an apartment complex that offers furniture is easy with 407Apartment's Orlando Apartments Guide. Simply click here to go the guide and click the left tab that says "Apartment Furnishing". This is where you can select what features you want including "Furnished Common Area" and "Furnished Bedroom" or "Not Furnished".
It took me four years of apartment living before finally settling down in a non-student community living situation where I purchased my own furniture. Sure, I had more of a choice but I was still a tasteless college student. That means I made Ikea and Craigslist my best friends before move-in. The cost was that I had large furniture to move around wherever I move.
Recognizing what you want from the get-go is important. Furnished apartments are great starter units but finding a place as you get older should be focused on setting a comfortable living situation for yourself. That probably means going unfurnished. Here are some tips for finding affordable furniture in your first apartment that you furnish yourself!
IKEA – Google "places for cheap furniture" and the first thing that comes up is the nearest IKEA. IKEA is the popular Dutch furniture maker that tailor-make their furniture to be apartment starter-sets. The pieces here are stylish, modern and affordable. Orlando has one of the only Ikea locations in the state right near the Millenia Mall.
Target – In case you don't have an entire day to kill, your local Target is a great option for more practical furniture shopping at a slightly higher price. They have great choices in the department of end tables and decorations.
Craigslist Furniture – Only on Craigslist can you choose between dinged up end tables going for next to nothing and high-end furniture at affordable prices.
Craigslist Free – If paying for furniture isn't your thing, scout out cool stuff on Craigslist's Free Section. Just be prepared to meet and haggle with the owners in some random part of town (be careful!). Also have a vehicle ready to pick up large, completed items as they usually are giving them away so they don't have to move the items their selves. I found an amazing IKEA bed/desk set on Craigslist's Free section!
If all else fails, go to grandma. Large, heavy and likely made of finely crafted old wood - This is the way to up your apartment to "classy". Just find a strong friend and a truck ready to haul.