Fill your first apartment with all the essentials and must-haves using this comprehensive first apartment checklist, which has all the things you need (and want) for your first apartment.

By Lauren Phillips
September 21, 2018
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Shopping for a first apartment isn’t easy. You may be leaving your parents’ house for the first time; you may be starting afresh in a new city after graduating college or trading an on-campus dorm room for an off-campus place. Regardless of your life stage, perusing the seemingly endless variety of home furnishings, kitchen tools, and linens can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re starting from scratch.

The good news is that this is your first apartment and your first time picking these items out for yourself—and it’s practically guaranteed that it won’t be your last time, so every decision doesn’t have to mean a lifelong commitment to a mattress, a duvet insert, or an adorable loveseat that fits perfectly in a small apartment or starter home (we love this one from West Elm). 

The key is to balance getting everything you need on the first apartment checklist with prioritizing the splurges that are most important to you. If a powerful vacuum matters more to you than a good toaster, put your money into the vacuum and worry about upgrading your toaster later. And fight the urge to rush. It’s true that sleeping on the floor in an empty apartment isn’t fun, but it’s better than spending money on items you don’t actually like. Or items that offend your roommates (this is where the rules for decorating an apartment with roommates come in handy).

As you work through our ultimate first apartment checklist, don’t forget to set a little cash aside for the surprising things you’ll need for your first apartment—these little luxuries will make your first adult living space a little more home-y.

For more ideas, tips, and tricks for filling a new apartment—whether it’s your first or your fifth—check out decorating tips from the Real Simple Home, a four-bedroom penthouse apartment in Brooklyn, New York, that we worked with designers and professional organizers to transform. The gorgeous space is full of genius organizing tricks, decorating inspo, beautiful finishes, and more.

The Ultimate First Apartment Checklist

Click for a printable version you can take shopping with you!