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The Best Apps for Furnishing a New Grad's First Apartment

Today's recent college grads have a lot on their plates. After the rush of finalizing their degrees, graduation itself and celebrating their achievement, it's time to focus on the real world: landing that first job, figuring out where to live, and beginning their lives as adults. The last thing a new grad needs — and their parents will no doubt agree — is to spend a lot of time and money on furnishing and decorating their first apartment. That's where tech comes in — there's a bevy of fantastic apps for furnishing and decorating a home on a budget, from inspiration to planning to purchasing. It's never been easier to furnish a starter apartment, and these apps can help.

Get Inspired

Many new grads find that, once they have a space of their own, they're ready to roll up those dorm room posters and find a more grown-up decorating scheme that still reflects their personal tastes. Several apps aim to help anyone translate their visual preferences into real-world planning. Mashfeed is an iOS app that helps users discover and curate "collections" of quality feeds from Instagram, Twitter and other social networks based on popular topics, pulling in posts in real time. For example, Mashfeed has one recent collection called "Design on a Budget," which pulls in posts from hand-selected U.S. Instagram accounts, focusing on affordable furniture from companies like Target, Ikea, Homegoods and more.

Plan Your Space

The Ikea Catalog app was an early entry in the augmented reality space. The app, which launched in 2013, allows the consumer to use their phone's camera to virtually "place" Ikea's furnishings in their apartments or rooms, so they know what they will look like once those boxes are unpacked. (It only works for Ikea furnishings, of course, but it's safe to say that the brand is pretty popular already with new grads.)

Get (Free) Design Help

It's the rare new grad who can afford professional interior design help, and that's where the app Tapdecor can come in. Tapdecor bills itself as interior design advice with personalized recommendations from real designers, "whether you're on an Ikea or celebrity budget." Just download the app and choose your "design challenge," from furniture to lighting to wall decor, and Tapdecor's designers take on the challenge and help you get the best finds for your budget. And the best news for new grads: because the designers are building their portfolios through these challenges, Tapdecor is free to use.

See It? Buy It!

Looking for that one special item to bring a room together? See something you like out in the real world but don't want to spend hours trying to enter the right keywords into a search engine to find it? That's where the Pounce visual search app can help. Pounce bills itself as a "Shazam for things," in that it can identify real-world objects and where to purchase them the way Shazam identifies songs. Users of Pounce can snap pictures of any 3D items they like (or 2D items on billboards or in magazines) and instantly find the products (or close matches) from a number of major retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy and Macy's. Users can even purchase the item right away through the app's "one-tap checkout."