What you need for your first apartment in Roanoke, VA:
Whether you plan on living alone or with roommates, be prepared -- your first apartment will most likely be a small one. That's why it pays to plan ahead. Figure out in advance which things you just can't do without. This includes essential furniture, cookware and other basics.
Face facts -- your first apartment is never going to be featured in Architectural Digest. Think bare essentials. A good comfortable chair for study, perhaps a couch or beanbag, a small sturdy desk for homework or a computer, a dresser, a bed of course or perhaps a futon. Baskets and trunks too are a nifty idea...both as decoration and to store extra clothes or other items.
If you need to actually buy furniture, there are many places -- like Stacks & Stacks -- that sell fine inexpensive furniture and accessories. Also consider flea markets, yard sales or even the Salvation Army or Goodwill. And don't forget such essential things as bookshelves and hooks to hang your bike or speakers.
For sleeping, think about a bed-frame with drawers or raising your bed on concrete blocks for extra storage space. Screens also add a decorative touch to a room...as well as providing an area to "hide" storable items. Another good storage idea consider stashing the out-of-season stuff in empty suitcases. Finally, put a key hook by the door so you'll always take along your keys.
Yes, you're going to have to eat in too. Maybe even learn how to cook. But first, get the basics a good cast iron skillet, large covered pots, pans for roasting, service for four, silverware. Don't forget glasses, coffee and tea mugs, a teapot, perhaps even a microwave. And we're not talking sterling silver or fine china here -- inexpensive cookware is just fine to start out with.
Think plants and posters, colorful rugs and wall coverings. Also consider haunting flea markets and moving sales for those inexpensive funky items that'll add character to your place. Another idea: check out the local record stores for posters. And think about covering your sofa or easy chairs with print sheets -- it adds a bit of welcome color to the room.