What You Really Need for Your First Apartment (From Bedroom to Broom Closet)

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Welcome to your first apartment. Now what? This comprehensive list lays out the basics along with a few luxuries — think of this as an inventory of your need-to-haves and nice-to-haves. Whether you're graduating, moving out of your family's home, or simply starting fresh, keep scrolling for a comprehensive home essentials shopping guide.



A good night's sleep can fix almost any problem, especially if your first adult bedroom is up to snuff.

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You spend one-third of your life in bed. Time to invest in a good one. You should get in the habit of cleaning it, too.

Futons need not apply. Headboard is still optional, though.


3. Nice sheets (2 sets)

Again, do not skimp. Thread count matters.

4. Pillows (2)

And then wash them every three months. Our team tested nearly 30 pillows so you don't have to.


You can easily score these bedding essentials on Amazon.

6. Cozy blankets (1 or 2)

Check out our comfiest recommendations.


Practical and cute.

Or two, if you like symmetry.


It doesn't need to cost the big bucks.

Either a desk or bedside lamp will do. (Note: bedside lamps are often sold in pairs.)



We're here with everything you need to know.

Here's why they matter.


First, check to see if there's central air, a window unit, or ceiling fan.

There are tons of budget buys.


Amazon has some of the best budget-friendly finds, no surprise.

16. In-closet organization (nice to have)

For your shoes, purses, and other accessories.


17. Hangers

Ones that don't come from the dry cleaner.


You don't have to be a budding home chef, but you will have to cook for yourself at some point.

1. Knives


2. Pots and pans

3. Cooking prep tools

4. Mixing Utensils

5. Gadgets

6. Small Appliances

7. Food storage

8. Cleaning and safety needs

Dining Room

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

Even if you're not hosting Thanksgiving this year, you'll likely want to entertain at some point. Place settings for eight mean less frequent dishwashing, too. (At the very least, you need four.)


  • Dinner plates
  • Salad plates
  • Bowls

4. Cups

5. Serveware

6. Place settings

Broom Closet

Just the basics, for now.

3. Duster


6. Paper goods

Utility Drawer

Everything you need, aside from the number of your local handyman.

  • Hammer and nails
  • Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers and screws
  • Allen wrenches
  • Tape measure

4. Batteries (and battery organizer, if you're feeling fancy)

8. Spare keys


Your office doesn't have to be its own room, but it should be its own space.

1. Computer

2. File box or filing cabinet

4. Desk (Compact desks are great.)


Whether or not you're lucky enough to have laundry in your unit.

1. Hamper or laundry basket (Ideally two: one for darks, one for lights.)

2. Iron

4. Sewing kit (Nothing fancy required.)


Luckily, bathrooms come equipped with the basics.

1. Towels (2 full sets)

5. Cleaning and safety needs

Living Room

To lounge on your own and entertain others, you need a few creature comforts.

1. Sofa

Again, it's worth investing; a decent couch can last up to 15 years.

2. An accent chair or two

Ottomans or poufs can work double-duty. Check out our top picks, below.

Side tables, too, if you have the room.

Here's how to choose the best ones for every room in the house.

You can never go wrong with a jute rug. We love yellow, green, and blue rugs, too.

6. TV

And a TV stand if yours isn't mounted.

Professionals suggest layering light sources — task lighting, accent lighting, and then recessed or track lighting. Think in threes!

... With real books (Kindle, you can stay on the nightstand.)

9. Decor (nice to have)


Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

A balcony! What a treat. Here's what you should buy for it.

2. Umbrella (Or some kind of shade.)

3. Portable BBQ with all the accessories

4. String lights (nice to have)

A note about being on a budget: Not everything here needs to be brand-spanking-new. Scour Craigslist, hit the thrift stores, borrow and barter. It will all come together in its own time.



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