11 Things You Need In Your First Apartment

You're movin' on up from your parent’s house and your dormroom, but now you’ve got to furnish that apartment. Here’s what you need to know to do it on budget and in style.

Zoë Gowen
Shannon Crain Studio Apartment
Laurey W. Glenn
1. A sofa and two chairs for your living room. If you’ve begged, borrowed, and stolen mismatched seating, don’t fret. Look into readymade slipcovers from places like Pottery Barn to pull them all together. Watch out for sales to snag colorful throws and pillows.
2. A coffee table. You don't need to spend a bundle on the piece that may end up doubling as a foot prop. Shop flea markets and garage sales for a sturdy piece that you can paint or re-stain.
3. Window coverings. Head to HomeDepot for their bamboo roman shades or get creative with inexpensive fabric to make a valance. Pro tip: sheets and blankets give you a lot of coverage without a hefty pricetag.
4. A basic set of dishware. Go to Ikea for flatware, white dinner plates, and stemless wine glasses. Next hit an Anthropologie sale to pick up their latte bowl in every color and some funky, coordinating mugs. Pro tip: Stemless wine glasses work for every drink you’ll need except coffee.
5. A nice serving bowl and casserole dish that transport easily. This is the beginning of hosting parties and being asked to bring food for parties. Stock up on something attractive, but so precious that you’ll become unhinged if it gets broken. Pro tip: Check out Homegoods or TJ Maxx for these items.
6. A bar area. Now that you’re a full adult, or at least practicing to be one. You’ll be inviting company over to pre-party. Don’t stress about the pricey bar cart from your Pinterest dreams. Instead, corral a few basic drink necessities on a tray or in a basket that you can pull out at a moment’s notice. Check out our handy guide for setting up a bar. Pro tip: World Market has great deals on fancy looking barware, wine, and drink mixers.
7. A matching set of bathroom towels with a monogram. Four bath towels and four hand towels is the perfect equation if you don’t have guests often. If you have guests often, then up the number to 6 and 6. Pro tip: Save a few of your old towels for mundane things like chores or cleaning up spills.
8. A pulled together bed. There's nothing more comforting than coming home to a dreamy bed. So invest in your bedding with good quality sheets, pillows, and a duvet. If you can’t commit to a color or pattern yet, just go with classic white.
9. A dresser and a bedside table. Pro tip: Keep your eyes peeled for a console table. They are endlessly versatile bedroom pieces that can work as a bedside table, a desk, or a dressing table.
10. Collect fun artwork. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but you’ll want something colorful that means something to you–blown up travel photos, inexpensive paintings from flea markets, that abstract piece you won on Instagram. This will instantly add personality and make your rental feel like home. Pro tip: Relegate the framed ticket stubs or sporting event posters to hallways and offices.
11. Basic safety devices and toolsets. In a perfect world, all rentals would come with a working fire and smoke detector and a fire extinguisher, but this isn’t always the case. Also, a simple stockpile of tools will come in handy for hanging art and assembling furniture. You’ll need pliers, a hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, and a power drill. Download a level on your phone.