Expat Life
February 21, 2023

Furnishing an apartment on a low budget in the Netherlands

Moving into an unfurnished apartment might seemingly present more of a challenge, especially when relocating to a new country, but there are many reasons why it might be the right choice.

Why choose unfurnished?

Unfurnished apartments, depending on their finishing, are often much cheaper than the furnished ones. Moreover, an unfurnished apartment will be easier to check in and out of especially in terms of a full deposit return.  Pets are also another reason why unfurnished should be considered because the flexibility it offers can prevent endless searching and a possible additional month of deposit.

Discover your style

Furnishing an entire home on a budget is likely to be a marathon rather than a sprint, but the end product is completely personable and customisable. The style of a home is a good place to start, followed by necessary and desired items for each room. Research different styles and look for inspiration online on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.  


Ikea is great for new furniture, offering styles and collections in every price range. Smaller items like shelves and ottomans can be found at surprising retailers like Action, Xenos and Blokker.

*We recommend Ikea, mainly for their product diversity and simple Nordic design, but also for their delivery service. If you are buying large pieces of furniture, keep in mind that it has to get into your apartment which can be tricky if you have steep and narrow stairs, so flatpack systems are ideal.


For more environmentally conscious options, or giving new life to previously loved items, investigate charity or vintage shops, known as Kringloopwinkel. Rataplan is the largest chain available in Amsterdam and other cities. Schroeder is another great option in The Hague area, as is Karoesell in Eindhoven.

Meeting a purchasing threshold opens up the delivery possibilities from most of these shops.  Inventory lists can be expansive offering electronics, kitchenware, appliances, furniture, decorative items, clothing apparel, games, books, and even bikes, so it may take some time to view everything.

Online marketplaces

Facebook Marketplace & Marktplaats are great places to garner inspiration and grab a bargain, but often self pickup is the only way to bring it home. Depending on the seller, delivery may be possible especially with a polite approach! Alternatively, you could try a service like Brenger to get something delivered.

Flea Markets

Flea markets like the huge IJ-Hallen in Amsterdam Noord shouldn’t be forgotten and a short ride on the ferry can lead to amazing deals. While doing so, don’t forget the words that a Dutchie can’t resist: Goedkoop [bargain], Gratis [free!] and Korting [sale].

Good luck and may your adventure result in a beautiful apartment!

Written by Ana from our Rental Team