If you’re transitioning out of student housing into your first apartment (or are the parent of said student), then here is a list of apartment essentials that will get you covered and then some. This isn’t an exhaustive list; I didn’t include a few fairly obvious items like bath towels or bed sheets, but I did list more than a few obvious items that might be easily overlooked in the rush to put together an entirely new household.
Let’s break it down, room by room:
The best way to make an apartment a…”home” is by adding some personal touches. Here are a few ideas we’ve used:
Even if there is standard carpeting installed, this elevates a basic apartment, adds a homier touch AND protects the carpet underneath from spills and stains. You can get some great, on trend options at Target, but for a bit money, I recommend getting a rug from Ruggable that is machine washable. You will spend more at first, but it’s a rug that will last for years and years!
Most student apartments come furnished, but even if they don’t, there are a few items worth getting. One is a futon to use as both a couch and a bed for visiting friends. You won’t have a lot of space, so it’s imperative to have furniture that has more than one use. Another is a foldable upholstered chair like this round dish chair. You can take It out when you need more seating, but easily fold it up and stick it under your bed when it’s not needed. Another furniture item I recommend purchasing even if one is provided for the apartment is a good desk chair. HOPEFULLY you or your student will be spending most of their time studying, so a comfortable desk chair is key. Gaming chairs make for a great choice-they’re specifically designed to be used for hours at a time. We ordered this one for our son’s apartment.
Photos of family, friends and loved ones are always nice, but how about this option from CVS that turns them mounts your photos ranging from 8×10 to 4×6 onto wooden blocks so they can be hung or placed on a shelf or table top? It’s a modern twist on a traditionally framed photo and much more age appropriate too.
Artwork to fill up the blank walls in an apartment (or a dorm) is key to make the apartment look less institutional. To bring in some more stuff for home, how about a customized wall map of your hometown, as well as a map of your new town? We’ve had great success ordering from this shop on Etsy and the seller can usually ship out same day! We framed them in these frames.
The best item to make a new place feel cozy are some soft throw blankets to cuddle in when studying, watching a movie, etc. The Bliss Plush Throw is my all-time favorite (we have seven) and full price it’s under $40, plus it’s machine washable! I grabbed this set of natural woven baskets with leather handles as a place to store the blankets (and other things) when they’re not in use.
The following is just a suggestion of items to get you started. Of course, add to it as you see fit, but this is more than enough to make basic meals at home. If you’re really pressed for time or aren’t interesting in shopping for each individual item, I highly recommend picking up a basic kitchen essentials box. I’ve seen various options on Amazon and at Walmart. If you’d rather go piece by piece, here they are…
- Set of pots and pans
- Set of dishes-these usually include coffee mugs (service for four is perfect)
- Drinking glasses
- Grill pan
- Broiler pan
- Baking Sheet
- Pizza Tray/Sheet
- Casserole Dish
- Set of knives
- Large Mixing Bowl (can double as a serving bowl)
- Cutting Board
- Bottle opener/Corkscrew
- Can Opener
- Mixing spoon
- Flat Spatula
- Mixing Spatula
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Pizza Cutter
- Food storage for leftovers
- Crock/Container for Cooking Utensils
- Silverware Organizer
- Kitchen Towels
- Dish Soap
- Rug for in front of the kitchen sink
- Dish Drying Rack
- Garbage Can (and trash bags)
- Toaster Oven
- Rugs-for in front of the sink and bathtub/shower
- Shower curtain, liner and RINGS (we always forget these)
- Toilet bowl cleaner (this one my boys will actually use!)
- Beehive Plunger (this one comes with a holder so no mess!)
- Holder for toothbrush
- Bedding set
- Mattress pad
- Mattress (if not furnished)-we got this one in a box!
- Pillows (we ordered two sets-one for each kid)
- Basic Tool Set
- Command Strips-get the ones rated for the heaviest weight
- Laundry Basket (folding)
- Stick vacuum
- Vacuum Cleaner if you have real carpeting
- Hand Broom and Dust Pan
- Fire Extinguisher
- Safe for Valuables
- Extension Cords (we like this one with USB ports)
- Power Strips
- Welcome Mat
One last recommendation, particularly if the apartment is not in your hometown, is to pick up your cleaning supplies and dry goods at home, if space permits. Especially during this pandemic, you might not be able to easily find it in your new home. I can say that here in Texas, our local grocery stores are pretty much cleared out in the cleaning supply aisle. This is not the time to start stockpiling toilet paper or paper towels, but it wouldn’t hurt to set a few packs aside.
I hope this list has been helpful to get you started or at least to remind you of things you might have forgotten to put on your own list. It’s not exhaustive by any means, but my hope is that it’s a little unique from what’s already out there. If you have any ideas to add, please share them in the comments below. Good luck and enjoy your new home!