19 First Apartment Essentials For Building a Welcoming Space

Shopping for first-apartment essentials should be exciting—there’s an undeniable sense of newness in a space just waiting to be filled.

However, as exciting as it may be to live outside a dorm or your parent’s home, it’s equally stressful and costly. Many of us are quick to realize the challenges, such as the difficulty of finding a couch for less than $500 or the fact that IKEA cabinets may not withstand the test of time.

The recognizable “first apartment” look, while honest to many, is also not sustainable as you refine your interior preferences and start to discard or upgrade some of those initial items you bought just to “fill the space.” As you slowly acquire a few statement pieces that bring together your home in a personal way, we’ve compiled a list of those “starter” essentials that will withstand redecorations, renovations, and aesthetic changes.

Top picks:

AquaTeak Moa Oval Teak Shower Organizer

A shower caddy is nothing revolutionary, but while many hang on the back of a showerhead, over time they can start to appear a little clunky, defeating the purpose of shower and bathroom organization. This Teak Shower Suction Holder not only minimizes the amount of clutter in your shower, but it also suctions onto your glass shower door or tiled wall, making it a stylish yet discreet solution to the surplus of products that can overwhelm your shower floor and tub ledge.

Quince Organic Brushed Cotton Deluxe Bedding Bundle

On the subject of bedding, soft cotton seems to be all the rage. While not super visible, your sheets are just as important as your duvet cover. You may have been told, “Don’t cheap out on your sheets,” and thanks to Quince’s price transparency, you know you’re getting great quality and a great price when it comes to the Organic Brushed Cotton Deluxe Bedding Bundle.

Parachute Organic Corduroy Duvet Cover Set

Never underestimate the power of really nice bedding to make an apartment feel like a home. Dressing your bed is a subtle art, and the Parachute Organic Corduroy Duvet set does all the hard work for you with 100% Turkish cotton that’s dyed in rich colors and shows off slight texture with micro-corduroy embossments.

Buffy Deluxe Cotton Bath Towels

Although we’re aiming to make a new apartment feel like a home, well-chosen bath towels can transport you to the luxury of a hotel or the memory of a luxe getaway. Finding plush, soft, and nonpilling towels can be challenging, especially after multiple washes, but the Super-Plush Towels are made using 100% long-staple Turkish Cotton for lasting durability and softness.

Anthropologie Velvet Louise Curtain

Curtains, while often forgotten, are the touch to the house that announces it is now a home. Whether you prefer a light linen or lace curtain or a thick velvet curtain that aims to block out the city’s happenings and noise, a curtain frames the light of your house. These specific drapes are perfect if you have high ceilings and open space and are looking to draw attention to a specific areas, particularly the light source of the apartment.

SPACEKEEPER 3 Tier Acrylic Rolling Bathroom Cart

Nothing says luxury like a rolling cart. We think this clear bathroom cart organizer is perfect for the things you may not want to put on display. Whether it’s your surplus of toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, or laundry detergents and other cleaning supplies, the cart keeps those toiletries rolled away to wherever you’d like, so you don’t have to stuff them into a cabinet.

When moving into your first apartment, you’ll quickly learn that space optimization is crucial. In smaller spaces, you might find yourself stowing your surplus of stock pots and fry pans in the oven. Instead of the traditional bulk pots and pans set, consider the Always Pan. It’s known as a 10-in-1 cookware system that can fry, sear, bake, boil, roast, steam, strain, and more. The pan, deep enough to roast a chicken yet shallow enough to flip an egg, went viral in 2017 and has since become a staple for those who value saving money, conserving space, and minimizing dishwashing.

Crate & Barrel Emyln Woven Hamper with Lid

It’s crucial to have something that will conceal both the look and smell of dirty laundry. This woven hamper with a lid is sure to accomplish both and bring a rustic touch to your space.

Dyson Cool Gen1 TP10 Purifier

For those who live in a city or just a stuffy apartment, you may notice that dust, odors, and humidity can start to build up in your new home. While any noiseless air purifier should work, the Dyson Pure Cool TP10 is one of the highest-rated air purifiers due to its automatic sensors that capture and trap pollutants. This is essential for those who are sensitive to scents, pet hair, smoke, or allergens.

Everything has a place, and if not, having an aesthetically pleasing “junk drawer” might suffice. Whether it be sponges, dish towels, receipts, cards, knickknacks, or hidden hobbies, you should be able to just throw things in a box with no shame or second thoughts. This black woven storage container is so unassuming that it looks like decoration.

Umbra Bellwood Garment Rack

Not all of us can be blessed with Carrie Bradshaw’s closet; and even if you are, sometimes it’s nice to keep your outerwear or easy-to-grab jackets and bags on a separate rack for display. This multi-functional organization rack is equipped with four shelves for shoes, purses, and accessories, along with a spacious rack that can hold up to 121 pounds of clothes.

ADNIKA Cherry Toilet Brush & Holder

It’s hard to make your bathroom glamorous when there are things like toilet bowl brushes and plungers clogging up your space—so toss that into a cute cherry cover for an uncluttered look.

Urban Outfitters Roma Wall Multi-Hook Shelf

This multifunctional shelf adds a playful finish to your space, especially its curved design and top shelf. Its squiggly silhouette, accompanied by a trio of hooks and a spacious shelf for displaying your favorite items, whether they’re decorations or not, offers the perfect way to hang your keys, hats, scarves, and more.

Kartell Componibili Storage Unit, Medium

Next up on our first apartment checklist, are these modular stacking units, which are perfect because not only are they multiuse, but they can also be used in any room. Whether you need to store kitchen utensils, bathroom supplies, or socks in a storage module, you can stack them for maximum space-saving.

Yamazaki Tower Expandable Cutlery Drawer Organizer

This is definitely one thing you can’t forget for your new space. Designed in Japan with small spaces in mind, the Yamazaki Tower Expandable Cutlery Drawer Organizer serves as a full-service organizer for all of your cooking utensils, silverware, and smaller kitchen essentials, expanding up to the length of your full drawer. With a sleek black finish, this cutlery drawer organizer is just one of the essentials that will start to make your apartment feel a little more polished.

Boll & Branch Waffle Shower Curtain

Shower curtains aren’t just an accent in your bathroom, they’re the main event. Shower curtains do way more than just keep the water inside of the tub; they completely shape or hone in on the vibe of the bathroom. Waffle Curtain are a clean and minimalist way to add a bit of texture and style to your bathroom without making a part of your calming sanctuary overwhelming.

Jolie The Filtered Showerhead

At this point, who doesn’t have the Jolie Filtered Showerhead? We never knew so many people could be so enthusiastic about their water pressure and the effects of hard water. This particular showerhead stands out among the filtered crowd as it has the allure and look of a luxury showerhead while removing chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants from your shower water.

We talk a lot about the essentials you’ll need in your first apartment, but we rarely talk about the essentials it takes to keep your space in tip-top shape. Whether you need a toolkit to build up the first piece of furniture you buy or need it to fix that same piece when it inevitably breaks, this tool set will come in handy when you most need it.

Brabantia NewIcon Step On Trash Can

There are a few indicators of taste in a person’s home, and one of those is definitely their garbage can. Choose a unique color or an unconventional shape for your can. In the end, it may not matter, as it’s truly about where you put your trash.

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