I recently moved out of my dad's house and into my own rental property with some pretty cool roommates. Moving is expensive, even if you're just moving across town. I got rid of almost everything I owned except my bed before the move. This seemed smart until I realized I had four walls and nothing to decorate with!

But my roommates and I fully furnished our home for about $400 total. Here's how we did it.

First, we took inventory of what we already had and what we needed.

Turns out we had a couch and a recliner, but needed more seating, a new kitchen table, bedroom furniture and more. Yikes! But, writing everything down in a Have, Need and Want list really helps you learn where your priorities lie.

Categorize your "want and need" list.

Next, we labeled each item with: Thrift Store, Craigslist, IKEA, Marshalls, and Family. You'll know items you can buy second-hand and others you should buy new. Cushioned seating, for instance, isn't really a great second-hand option unless you plan to reupholster. This doesn't have to be that expensive, but it's easy to get in over your head. A kitchen table, however, is a great Craigslist find. 

Decide who's buying what.

It's easy to spend within your budget if you, well, have a budget to begin with. I wouldn't recommend splitting certain high-dollar items with roommates because someone has to take it when you move out. But other items like cheap trashcans that won't last longer than your lease? Those can be split.

Don't buy too many "fixer-uppers."

It's also important to note that if you don't have an affinity for crafts, don't take on any DIY projects. It's so easy to get in over your head. So if you're not into fixer-upper projects, do not buy a cheap, old piece of furniture that you're not happy to put in your home as-is. All in all, being organized and clear on your budget restrictions will make this process easy. 

Ready to tackle another home improvement project? Read about this DIY bathroom project

Photo credit iStock