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Furnishing Your First Apartment in Nigeria: A Young Adult’s GuideBy Ahmad-Tijani Agbaje on March 22, 2024

How do you know you’re really doing this adulting thing?

(Apart from your mum never paying you back for the bread and eggs she asked you to buy on your way home from work.)

When you finally move into your own space.

Are we right or are we right?

Few pleasures are as heady as not having anyone knocking on your door at ungodly hours of the day (6 am), and eating food straight from the – your – pot.

It’s the little things, o.

While house hunting can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back (we’ve been on the streets), finding a place that fits you – and doesn’t break your Piggyvest HouseMoney – is only the beginning.

The next step is where you actually get to have fun with it – moving in and furnishing.

Pro tip: Packmyload is a great way to haul everything to your new place – or even store things that you might not need yet.

Who said adulting can’t be enjoyable?

We hate to be bad bele, but as you navigate this long and satisfying process of moving in, you also have to remember to watch those ₦airas.

Luckily for you, gentle reader, that’s why we’re here. Valentine’s has passed and we’re still showing you serious love.

Cmon nau.

Sit tight (maybe grab a pen to take notes?) and let’s get into how you’ll make your new space yours – without excessive garri-drinking too.


Part 1: Planning Your Space and Needs

Assess Your Lifestyle and What You Actually Need.

It’s easy to get carried away with it all, being in a new space, and if this is your first stab at it, then the independence is probably a rush too, but, taking a step back and thinking about what you need, before you start ordering furniture or making arrangements, is vital.

Are you a full-time student? If so, your priority would be – we’re hoping o – your studies. So, you’ll probably need a good desk setup near a source of bright light.

Do you have a 9-5? Then your pad should probably be more focused on relaxation and unwinding, so, investing in a good bed and curtains (and maybe even a cute resin mirror from Theladycalledfumni on Twitter) should be high on the list.

The key is to make each decision a reflection of what you need in a living space. Once you’re clear on your needs, make a list and let’s move.

Bring out that Tape Measure

It’s boring, but sadly, you can’t eyeball measurements and furniture sizes. This is why you need to know how big your space actually is, and get furniture and appliances for it.

This is especially important if your space is either super cosy (as per small), or has many crevices and corners (which can also be a great opportunity to incorporate some freeform furniture pieces into your home – you can check out Anigray’s page and shoot her a message. Wink wink.)

If you’re really about it, you can even plan a floor sketch – that thing that architects do where they draw a space on paper (to scale) from an aerial view so they can plan what’s what.

Again, it’s optional stuff.

So, get to measuring, dear.

Part 2:  Finding Furniture on a Budget

The Second-Hand Market

Things don cost o! Hope you know that?

Buying brand-new furniture in these climes is a clear signal that you could be a prime target for “Eat the Rich” campaigns.

Either that or your father is Otedola.

Hi, Temi.

With nationwide inflation at a record high – The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the inflation rate in Nigeria increased year-on-year to 31.7% in February 2024, the highest level of inflation recorded in 28 years – it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re spending in a fashion that would please your wallet.

Just like there has been a surge in thrifting clothes in the country, the same need for more affordable buys drives the second-hand furniture market.

This is why second-hand markets like Jiji, and Alaba Market in Lagos are seeing so much traffic.

Thrifting is also a great option because the prices are usually negotiable, so if you have just the right amount of Nigerian mother within you, you could score some serious bargains.

We stan the second-hand market and so should you.

Embrace the Upcycle

What’s cooler than upcycled items?

Trick-question because the answer is nothing.

Getting creative and revamping old furniture with paint, new upholstery, or hardware can help you personalise your new space.

Maybe a disastrously ugly couch at your parent’s house is just gathering dust. You could take it to a furniture maker and ask them to change the upholstery or paint it with cool patterns.


Check out this table made from a tyre by on Instagram

Even if you are a complete furniture novice, YouTube channels like Remidial DIY and Ukunda Home should help you get the ball rolling.

Anything can be transformed if you’re creative enough.

Think Multifunctional

It may seem like a no-brainer, but getting items with multiple functions can seriously save you money and space.

Think of an ottoman with storage built in – essentially a stool with a drawer/compartment under the top – and how useful that would be. Clothes hangers with shoe racks are also high up on the multifunctional gold list.

This hack is especially useful if you live in places with tiny apartments (a certain city with yellow buses comes to mind…), as it helps maximise space and reduce clutter.

Have things Custom Made

Skip the mass-produced furniture and explore your local markets.

Custom made is a bougie way of saying go and pay your local artisan (“carpenter” seems too 1980s, so let’s step it up a bit) a visit.

There are many uncut gems hidden in your local market. It provides a way for you to support local artistry and craft, and it’s also mounds cheaper than most things you’d see online.

Places like the Kurmi Market in Kano and the Orie Emene Community Market in Enugu are excellent spots to find local talent and commission custom furniture.

It also means you can have almost anything made, as long as the craftsman is skilled enough, so your imagination – or maybe your Pinterest board – is the only limit.

Plus, there’s a certain satisfaction in telling your friends, “This? It’s a custom-made piece o.”

Saved money and also got exclusive furniture?

Your head go just dey swell.

Part 3:  Maximising Space and Comfort

Smart Storage Solutions

Being organised = Maximum space

Who can say no to more space?

Optimising your layout for spaciousness is one of the great kindnesses you can do for yourself my dear, and here are some tips;

Use vertical space

Wall shelves, hanging organisers and pegboards are great ways to store things in plain sight without cluttering up your floor or wardrobe. You can keep anything from books and shoes to scarves and napkins on the wall. Yet another thing you can easily – and affordably – get made for your space.

Chef’s kiss.

Exploit the Hidden

Invest in bed frames with built-in drawers or buy under-bed storage containers to use the space beneath your bed for storing clothes, blankets, or things that you don’t use often.

If you want to take it up a notch (as we always support) you can even use over-the-door organisers in your room and/or kitchen for additional storage of shoes, spices, or cleaning supplies.

Over the door organiser. Image: Nordstrom Rack Pinterest 

The wisdom being shared here is of a monumental degree.

You’re very welcome.

Consider Room Dividers

If your apartment has bigger rooms, first of all, great for you, and second, you can make your space feel more intentional and segmented by getting room dividers.

With such a variety of shapes, materials and textures, room dividers are an easy way to define your space, which is great if you have a roommate or want to hide an ugly part of the wall.

Make it COSY

Cosy touches don’t have to cost a fortune. They’re tiny bits of luxury that make your home a bit more human.

Let people not enter your house and see the state of the economy, please.

Getting nice curtains – another thing you can visit a local market and have custom-made – throw pillows and small rugs can take a space from bare bones to lively. You can also print out your favourite pictures or Polaroids and stick them to a bare wall to give the room some character.

Did someone say “Aesthetic”?

The lifestyle no too cost, na you no know.

Embrace Natural Light

A good amount of natural light will instantly elevate any space, but if your curtains are heavy and always drawn, you risk making your room look like a tomb.

Open those windows and get curtains made with thinner material to allow light and air to pass through the room, even when they’re closed. You can even add an earthy touch with some plants. They are kuku proven to help your mood, and they make your room look good and alive.

Theplantsng (link in index) have some stunning stuff you should check out. Tell them we sent you.

Part 4: The Finishing Touches

Lighting is Key

Lighting is one part of decor that most people ignore, and they end up with nicely furnished spaces, and horrible lighting that doesn’t complement all their hard work at all.

This is why using a mix of overhead lighting and strategically placed lamps – like those from Randlthrift – creates a warm and inviting atmosphere.

You can also google different lighting options and decide which fits your style and wallet.

Personalise Your Space

What’s the point of having a house that isn’t really yours?

Adding personal touches to your space is like icing the perfect cake – it’s arguably the sweetest part.

Display photos you have, artwork you may or may not have stolen from your parent’s living room, souvenirs… things that reflect you and make it feel like a home, rather than just an apartment.


Look at you in your new apartment being an adult.

If no one else is, we’re proud of you o, and you deserve a treat or two.

Also, remember that having a space is a work in progress – you can keep up a constant rotation of things from decor to arrangement and lighting, so it’s really whatever you make it.

Speaking of treats, we have something for you…

The First Apartment Index

Furnish it

Bedmate Furniture
Vina Interiors
Furniture House
Largelife Furniture
Eline Interiors
Outline Decor
Kreative Kapinters
Unikke Furniture

Make it pretty

Arc Interior & Design
iDesign by Tola Akerele
Decor Interior
Blu Oak Interiors
Eva Sonaike

Inspiration & DIY

Remidial DIY
Ukunda Home
Morenikeji’s Vlogs
Imelda Onye
Udeme Umoh
Ifunaya Nzemeka
Zakithi Okonjor

Cooking & eating

Chef Uzzi’s Palace

Local gems

Alaba International Market
Garki Market
Kurmi Market
Orie Emene Community Market

Decorate it


Thrift it

Thrift Furniture

Moving in

Midas Movers
Axopolitan Moving
Ridera Logistics

Save & fund it

Piggyvest HouseMoney
Kuda Bank


If you’re sitting on your custom-made couch in your newly furnished space, how does it feel? And if you haven’t gotten a place of your own, what’s standing in your way?

Oya, tell us in the comments.

Also, do you have any budget-friendly artisan plugs for first-timers? People and businesses you wouldn’t mind putting others on to?

Click the link below to tell us about them!

Artisan Registation Form

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