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The Ultimate Essentials Guide for Your First Apartment

Everyone dreams of their first apartment — living alone and being able to decorate your own space however you want seems pretty amazing. From personal experience, there’s something so surreal about sitting in a new apartment and realizing that you finally have a place of your own. As someone who’s lived alone since they were 18, I’ve come to learn what it really takes to live independently, and I’ve also discovered what’s actually necessary — I promise you don’t really need that many Target mugs. Here’s a rundown of all the essentials you’ll need to make your first place come together!


In seeing that this is probably where you’ll spend most of your time, you should make every effort to make this space as comfortable as possible! Having the basics will establish a solid foundation for the room, which you can spruce up later by adding cute decor. That being said, make sure you get the following for your sleeping quarters:

– Mattress

– Mattress Topper

– Bed linens (a weighted blanket isn’t a necessity, but highly recommended)

– Lamp

– Pillows

– Pillowcases 

– Bedframe

– Dresser

– Nightstand

– Full-length mirror

Living Room

You’ll also most likely be spending quite a bit of time in your living room, especially since it’s where you’ll be hosting guests. It’s important you get the following items to ensure you have enough seating and make the space feel cozy for you and your friends:

– Sofa

– Coffee table

– Entertainment center

– Floor lamp

– Curtains

– Side tables

– Rug


As the heart of your place, you’ll want to make sure you have the following essentials in order to make tasty meals right at home:

– Pots

– Pans

– Utensils

– Drinking glasses

– Wine glasses

– Cutlery

– Cutting boards

– Baking ware

– Trash can

– Measuring cups

– Dishrags

– Dish drying rack

– Sponges


Aside from toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, etc.), you’ll also need the following to ensure that your bathroom is organized and practical:

– Shower curtain, liner, and hooks

– Bath towels

– Hand towels

– Soap

– Toilet paper

– Toilet brush cleaner

– Toothbrush holder

– Bath mat

– Small trash can

Other Essentials You’ll Need
Anna Schultz-Girl Looking Through Closet
Anna Schultz / Her Campus

Not entirely belonging to any particular category, here are some items you’ll also need to make sure your space is well-kept and clean:

– Hangers

– Laundry basket

– First aid kit

– Cleaning supplies

– Vacuum

– Tool kit

Items You Can Hold Off On Buying

While it’s tempting to want to put your entire place together, it’s okay to hold off on purchasing the following items until you feel it’s necessary and have the funds to buy them:

– Bookshelves

– Small kitchen appliances such as a microwave oven, air fryer, blender, etc.

– Artwork

– Decor

– Headboard

– Tablecloths

Living on your own for the first time can be scary — remember, you’ll have to kill all the bugs yourself — but knowing what you’ll actually need will make the process of moving-in a whole lot easier. Start by purchasing the necessities, and then you can slowly start adding on until everything falls into place. Have fun with the process — and make sure to enjoy your independence!

Emma is a senior at the University of Central Florida studying Anthropology and History. When she's not writing articles, she enjoys long-distance running, iced chai tea lattes , and advocating for students as a Senator for Student Government.
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