Nothing beats the fantasy of living alone and on your own terms. But how prepared are you for the cost of actually owning a home? If you plan on moving out soon, this article is for you.
Here’s what 8 Nigerian millennials spent on furnishing their homes. Note: curtains are the worst.
Location: Shangisha Magodo, Lagos
Total cost: ₦2 million
Before I moved into my apartment in 2019, I lived in my family house. I was 27 and my relationship had gotten to a point where I needed full privacy. Since it was just my cousins, siblings and me, we had to take care of everything we needed in the house. So I knew how expensive things could get to furnish a home. I knew exactly what I wanted.
A two-bedroom apartment was my target. Aesthetics were very important to me too, and plants were at the top of the decor list. My babe and I love plants, so I was going for at least seven to ten in our apartment. By the time I had the basics like paintings, curtains and setting up furniture — including a standard workstation because my job was a hybrid set-up — I had spent ₦2 million.
I can’t remember the cost of each item, but the most expensive things were within the ₦200k – ₦350k mark each. I’m still asking myself where I got the money from.
Here’s a breakdown, excluding miscellaneous costs:
— Femi*, 30
Location: Jabi, Abuja
Total cost: ₦100k
I moved into my first Nigerian apartment in 2020. Before then, I’d lived in the UK for a year doing my master’s, and my apartment came with furniture and basic living room and kitchen items. Compared to moving to Abuja on my own, that was heaven.
My style is minimalist and clean. But with the ₦250k salary I was earning, even the furniture I wanted was too expensive. The average price range was ₦145k for a single-seater, ₦365k for a two-seater and ₦385k for a three-seater sofa. Those prices were ridiculous to me. I was also sceptical about using roadside carpenters who were even charging like ₦200k plus for a regular bed. Why?
So I moved into the apartment with no furniture. For the time being, I’ve made a makeshift bed that cost me ₦20k while I save up. The thing I’ve sorted out, for now, are the curtains. They cost me ₦80k plus installations for four windows. And it’s not that the material was expensive. The thicker and more costly materials were going for ₦120k – ₦150k. That will be for another time.
— Lydia*, 26
Location: Avontrou, Benin Republic
Total cost: ₦30k
I go to school in Benin Republic. February last year, I decided to get an apartment mostly out of frustration from living in the hostels. I live in Avontrou and my place costs ₦30,500 weekly. That’s about the most reasonable price for a good quality apartment here. But there are student-friendly prices, around ₦10k – ₦15k weekly.
As for furnishing, my parents gifted me all my furniture except a mattress which cost ₦30k — someone needs to explain why beds are so expensive. Then, I stole curtains from my dad’s office. I’m not interested in any more expenses until I’m done with school.
— Michelle*, 21
Location: Gbagada, Lagos
Total cost: ₦180k
I moved into my first apartment in 2019. I was earning about ₦125k monthly at the time, so my budget was obviously low. I needed a place that wasn’t expensive and too far from my office at Gbagada. When I finally got one, the rent was ₦350k per year. I also paid the ₦60k agency and agreement fees and ₦30k caution fee.
I had to renovate it to make it liveable, but I didn’t consider aesthetics at all. I didn’t have money for that. The major thing I did was install metal burglaries over the door and windows. That cost ₦100k. Then, I painted the house and changed the tiles in my bathroom for ₦80k.
RELATED: Home Is a Shapeshifting Concept
The apartment was convenient until earlier this year (2022) when I decided I could get a much better place. My monthly earnings have increased to an average of ₦380k, but you can’t get a decent one-room apartment on the Island for ₦800k right now except if you go as far as Sangotedo.
I’d love to have a nice aesthetic in my new home. But the cost of rent alone is scary. The logical option is to furnish in phases.
— Jane*, 27
Total Cost: ₦40k
Before I moved into my one-bedroom flat in November 2020, I lived in a self-contained that cost ₦75k yearly. This was during my master’s degree program at a faculty under Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Agulo village, Anambra. After school, I decided to move to a more urban area, Awka.
I got a job as a public health worker, but the bulk of my money came from sewing and selling yoghurt. I was making about ₦100k by 2018. That’s how I raised enough to move to Awka. My new apartment costs ₦250k yearly, so when I moved in, furnishing was not at the top of my list because I’d spent the majority of my money on rent.
For now, my aesthetics are sapa-inspired. For the first four months, the sunlight woke me up every morning because I didn’t have curtains. The sellers were charging ₦80k each. I couldn’t afford it so I went for blinds, which still cost ₦40k each.
I’m at the point where I have to hit my fan before it comes on, and I can’t afford to buy air conditioners because my finances have dwindled over the years. I stopped sewing too; slouching all day gave me back pain. I’m focused on getting a job that’ll pay me enough. When I get one, all the sapa-inspired aesthetics will end.
— Bridget*, 30
Location: Mombasa, Kenya
Total Cost: ₦901k
I moved out of my parents’ house in 2021, and I got an apartment in Port Harcourt. Compared to Lagos, prices were reasonable there. But curtains were bloody expensive. One cost ₦60k. Why, please? By the end of the year, I had to move to Mombasa, Kenya for school.
Things there were six times the cost I’d spent trying to furnish in Port Harcourt. So I focused on the most essential things. First, I got an orthopaedic bed that cost 29k shillings (approx. ₦162k). I carried my PS4 from Nigeria and got a TV for 77k shillings (approx. ₦430k). Then, I got four blinds for 18k shillings (approx. ₦110k). Finally, I got my air conditioner for 35,500 shillings (₦199k). Omo, I haven’t actually sat down to look at the cost of things. I’m sure there were more, but these were the most pricey.
— Richard*, 21
Location: Portsmouth, United Kingdom (UK)
Total cost: ₦765k-₦1m
When I moved to the UK in 2017, I opted for a shared apartment because the rent was expensive. And my share cost £350 (approx. ₦179k). The apartment came furnished with some janky couches, chairs and beds. But one time, my roommate sat on the couch and it broke. They were clearly not made for black boys.
Buying something brand new in the UK was out of the question. I’m talking £400+ (₦204k+) for a single couch! We had to tell the landlord to get us another one instead. He brought a black leather couch that had coins and stuff from God knows where. So he definitely either gave us his own couch or bought it off Facebook Marketplace.
My bed was also destroying my back after a year. So I had to tell the landlord to change that too. A new bed cost about £300 (approx. ₦153k). If I had to replace it on my own, I’d have just slept on the floor like my ancestors.
So in the UK, you don’t furnish except you want to be extra. Most of the cost goes into rent, which can be between £750 – £800 (approx. ₦383k – ₦408k), and utilities like electricity, heat and WI-FI. If I get something, it’s a thrift piece. Like my TV that cost £120 (approx. ₦61k). Other costs of living come in too. The other day, the microwave broke down. That was £40 (approx. ₦20k) gone to fix it.
Also, the UK is set up in a way that you always need to split the bill. The cost of living is high. Right now, I’m looking for a new place to live because my landlord wants to sell the house. I’m also getting married so I need my own space. That’s a nice £150 – £200 (approx. ₦77k – ₦102k) on kitchen utensils alone. Full furnishing would likely be £1,500 or £2,000 (approx. ₦765k-₦1m).
— Ben*, 27
Location: Gbagada, Lagos
Total cost: ₦750k
I moved out of my mother’s house when I finished university in 2019. I was going for a minimalistic vibe because I really didn’t have the money to do anything grand. My modelling career was just kicking off. But I also didn’t want clutter in my space because it was a small one-bedroom apartment.
I didn’t have enough money to fully furnish until 2020. I got a bulk amount and took out ₦500k to re-do my home. First, I got furniture. I was going for something that wouldn’t encourage people to stay in my house for too long. So the chair didn’t have any arm or backrest. But it cost ₦50k because of the pink suede material.
I bought a fake plant that was way more expensive than a real plant at ₦25k. But a real one would’ve died; there was no need to spend money on it. The truth is, forming minimalist was way more expensive. Things like painting my living room satin white cost more than ₦50k. Way more expensive than painting my room (which is way bigger) purple. Painting and screeding the whole house cost 100k.
Oh, and my vanity mirror cost ₦40k to make, excluding the chair and table. I racked up ₦500k on my floating shelves, LED lights for Youtube and new cupboard doors. Then, curtains! I can’t remember how much they cost, but it was ridiculous — I was better off with window blinds. If we’re adding my inverter, it cost ₦250k.
I actually can’t complain because if I’d gone to a regular store, I would’ve spent at least ₦500k on furniture alone. And that was two years ago.