|LACK table just $20|
When you start out in life after school it is pretty common to have an apartment. In order to furnish that apartment you may very well need to buy a fair amount of furniture. Most people, I'd assume, leave their parents homes with little furniture other than a bed typically.
Personally I'm of the opinion that when you first set out on your own that you should keep your household furnishing spending on the cheap side. This is often necessitated by the cost, its not as if most people can afford a lot of expensive stuff with the wages from their first job. However you may start with a reasonably good salary and have enough money to spend on nicer stuff if you choose. So if you have the funds I think its smart to limit the spending initially. Couple key reasons for this are 1) you may get married later and then end up duplicate furniture items or your spouse may have different tastes in furniture and 2) You are likely to move later and your initial furniture purchases may not fit well or match the style of your housing later in life.
Used furniture is one way to keep costs low. You can find a lot of good furniture for reasonable prices on Craiglist or at thrift stores. If you have some time to prepare for a move and acquire stuff then I'd strongly recommend shopping for used bargains first. When I first moved into my apartment when I got my current job I bought used furniture from a furniture rental store. The furniture was good quality and only slightly used. But a lot of people don't have the time to shop around for example if you get a job offer and you're faced with a cross country move to start a job in a couple weeks.
You can also get some pretty good new furniture at IKEA. If you don't have time to shop around for used stuff then this is a reasonable way to go. I've honestly never shopped at IKEA myself. But its one of the only nation wide chains that sells furniture and their prices are good. They seem to have a pretty good reputation but again I can't say with first hand.
Here is an example 'bundle' of furniture from IKEA that would be suitable to furnish an apartment for a single person :
sofa bed $200
coffee table $20
dining table $50
dining chairs $10 x2 = $20
bed frame $50
bed base $30
delivery fee = $49
total cost = $589 plus local tax
One big negative about IKEA is that their furniture is almost all "assembly required". However if you shop around at many other places, this is not uncommon for cheaper furniture. I've had to assemble most of the furniture we've bought over the past few years.
Images from IKEA website