Looking for the ultimate list of apartment must haves? This post goes into detail on everything you could possibly need in your apartment, from basics to products you hadn't even realized you'd need.
If you are moving into an apartment and want to make sure you don't forget anything, you're going to want to read this!! No matter what your budget is, I've got you covered with save and splurge options for everything.
Whether you are looking for apartment must haves for your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, or even technology, cleaning, and decor must haves, it's all in this post!! I have lived in my apartment for over a year, and I know how you can make your space look wayyy more expensive and homey.
There are 75+ items in this post that are all essential to your comfort and the looks of your apartment!! If you're on a tight budget, I've got you covered with all of my save options, and if you're looking to spend a little extra on something nice, I have found some beautiful splurge options!
This post is all about apartment must haves.
THE BEST APARTMENT MUST HAVES:
APARTMENT KITCHEN MUST HAVES
1. Pots & Pans
Obviously, if you're going to be cooking in your apartment, you'll need a nice set of pots and pans! At a minimum, you should get a frying pan, a few pots, and a cookie sheet. That should give you enough variety to allow you to cook different meals.
If you're looking for something that takes up a little less space but still gets the job done, check out the Always Pan! It has rave reviews and an amazing aesthetic!
I personally got my dishes and bowls from Target. It's good quality, and it's all simple! Mine came in a set of dishes, bowls, and mugs which was perfect since it had everything I needed within it.
If you're looking into places with a little fancier stuff, check out Crate & Barrel for some gorgeous dishes!! And if you want something more unique, Anthropologie is definitely the place for you!
Alllll the drinkware. Obviously, you're going to need cups for water, but where you get them really doesn't matter. I have even seen some pretty nice cups at the dollar store!
Just as important as the normal drink glasses, you're going to need some wine glasses!! Here are some pretty cheap wine glasses from Amazon and some wine glasses that are more of a splurge from CB2.
You can't forget mugs! Here are some inexpensive mugs from Amazon & a splurge mug option from Anthropologie.
I absolutely love my gold silverware. I think it is so trendy and different. If you are going for a similar look, check out these sets!!
If you just want classic, silver utensils, you can find some really cheap sets on Amazon, and a TON of options on Crate & Barrel, Target, CB2, Walmart, etc...
5. Coffee Maker
I am not a coffee drinker, but if you are you are definitely going to want a nice coffee maker! This one is kind of up to preference (and your budget) but if you prefer classic, drip coffee, just go with the cheap normal coffee pot!
If you like your coffee a little fancier, check out a Nespresso, or even a Keurig for single cups of coffee. The Nespresso I linked is super nice, so if you need something a little cheaper, there are different models that cost less!
Okay, I'm not usually a huge fan of the "retro" look, but I am absolutely obsessed with Smeg appliances! The toaster has always been at the top of my wishlist, but it costs a pretty penny!! I found an amazing Amazon dupe that looks pretty similar to the one that I shared above!
For more toaster options, check out the 11 Hands Down BEST Toasters Of 2021.
9. Serving/Cooking Utensils
This is an apartment MUST have. You literally can't cook without these! Plus, if you get a pretty set like this, it functions as kitchen counter decor too! I have the Amazon set on my counter in a utensil crock, and it looks so cute (they also work perfectly)!
For more, check out the 19 Best Utensil Sets on the Market | Silverware, Serving Utensils, & More.
10. Bar Stools
If you have an island with bar seating in your apartment kitchen, you're going to need some cute bar stools! The Amazon ones are perfect and will get the job done. You will love the splurge option so much because they remind me of the beautiful chairs we have in the BSL office!
For more, check out the 26 Best Bar Stools + Counter Stools in 2021.
11. Baking Sheets & Mixing Bowls
I use my baking sheets almost every day. If you're living in an apartment, you're going to want to make some easy one-pan dinners! I made this One-Pan Lemon Chicken Dinner, and it was SO good!
Make sure to also get some mixing bowls for cooking and baking! This Amazon option is a great deal for six mixing bowls, but if you're looking for something a little fancier, check out these All-Clad mixing bowls.
12. Tupperware/Food Storage Container
You're definitely going to need containers to keep all of your leftovers and prepped food organized and fresh! There are a ton of options on Amazon, but I also always see food container sets at HomeGoods for really good prices! Keep an eye out!
APARTMENT BEDROOM MUST HAVES
16. Mattress & Mattress Topper
Okay, there was no way I was going to fork over $1,000 for a mattress when I was buying everything for my apartment, so I got this exact amazon mattress.
No matter what mattress you get, you can make it feel like a $1,000 mattress easily with THIS mattress topper.
I have a whole post about How I Made My Cheap Mattress ($260) Feel Like a Hotel Bed if you want more tips & tricks!
17. Duvet Cover & Comforter
You're going to need a good duvet cover to make your bed feel extra cozy and luxurious. White duvet covers are classic and clean, you can't go wrong with one!
I have this comforter to fill my duvet cover, and it gets the job done! What I did to make the duvet & comforter look really fluffy and expensive was I got TWO duvet inserts. Once you get them, throw them in the dryer with a tennis ball, and it will get them even fluffier.
This saves vs. splurge option really comes down to how picky you are about your sheets! I have never really been a sheet "snob," but I have friends who can only sleep on the nicest sheets .
Maybe ask for some nice sheets as a gift!! I always go with all white, but if you want to do a beige or another neutral color, it would look really amazing!
19. King Size Pillows
This is one of my favorite tips...Use king-size pillows on a queen-size bed. I promise, they fit, and they will take your bed up a level. I can't remember where I learned this from but whoever I did, thank you because this looks really good.
I also am a big fan of satin pillows (if you're really looking to go all out, use silk pillows). They look fancier, are better for your hair and skin, and the ones I have are as cheap as you can get. I got a set of two for $10. I KNOW! Such a good deal. I've had mine for a year now, and I've only had one break. For how cheap they are, I'll call that a win.
Another reason I love these pillows, they have a zipper close which makes them look a lot more polished. I hate being able to see the pillow through the pillowcase (it automatically makes it look more sloppy)!
20. Throw Pillows
I'm a big fan of three-throw pillows with a lumbar pillow in front. You want to know why?! Because in the morning when it's 6:00 am and I'm quickly making the bed, I can throw those up there, give it a chop, and it covers half of the bed.
On my bed, I am using these pillow covers from Amazon in the cream white color. I get my inserts in the clearance section at HomeGoods or Marshalls, and I get my pillow covers from Amazon.
For more ways to make your bed look super cozy and nice, check out My Step-by-Step Guide on How To Make Your Bed Look Expensive (like WAY more expensive).
I love a tousled throw blanket at the end of the bed. Don't make it perfectly laid! I like it better with a little roughness to it.
You're going to want a super cozy blanket too, for the cold nights! I linked the barefoot dreams blanket, which is heavenly (but not a decorative blanket). It's super pricey, but it's legit the coziest thing ever (would make an amazing gift).
This is one of those items that you may or may not have room for in your apartment bedroom. I know my apartment does not have room for a dresser, but I really wish it did!! Not only are they super convenient for storing everything, but I think it would be super fun to style the top with decor.
I love these natural wood dressers. I can't believe the Amazon find, it looks SO trendy with the black hardware and is under $250!
You're definitely going to want a nightstand next to your bed to hold your phone, chapstick, book, etc... Besides practicality, nightstands can be topped with really pretty decor and make your room look way more put together.
Check out these 5 Nightstand Decor Ideas That Will Make Your Bedroom Look Professionally Designed for more ideas!
If you're working from home, or even just like having a separate workspace, you're going to want a desk!
Chances are, your desk is going to be tucked away, so you don't need anything super fancy. But I will say, you will be obsessed with this Pottery Barn desk. The cane/rattan drawers are everything!!
Curtains completely change the look of a room! Your apartment probably has some pretty basic windows that you can upgrade with a curtain rod and some simple curtains! I even found curtain rod brackets that are apartment-friendly and require no drilling .
You can buy curtains from pretty much any home decor store, but I am going to show you 15 of my top places to buy curtains that are both super cute and affordable.
You're definitely going to need a mirror, what type is honestly up to your preference and needs! I need to have a full-length mirror so I can see my whole outfit!
This Anthropologie mirror is seriously everywhere right now, and I loveee it. It's outrageously pricey, but if you want to splurge on something, this would definitely be worth it. It's so gorgeous.
28. Velvet Hangers
I always loved the look of velvet hangers but didn't really understand the hype ... until I got them, and omg, I don't know how I used plastic hangers before!! They are so great because your clothes never fall off the hangers and your closet looks so fancy and nice.
For more closet organization tips, check out my Closet Organization Ideas Every Girl Should Know.
APARTMENT BATHROOM MUST HAVES
29. Bath Towels
Again, this is kind of a given, but you're not going to want to forget bath towels!! If you really want some nice bath towels, get bath SHEETS, they're way bigger and literally feel like you're in a blanket.
This is one of those things that is definitely splurge-worthy because you really can tell the difference between cheap towels and expensive towels.
31. Bath Mat
If you need a cute bath mat, I've got you covered. I found these 16 Best Bath Mats That Will Take Your Bathroom To The Next Level, and they are soooo cute.
If you're looking for something super plain, easy, and cheap, this Amazon set of two is perfect for you.
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32. Shower Curtain & Liner
Your apartment may come with a basic shower curtain, but if you want to step it up a notch, you can get a cute shower curtain. Some of my favorites are from Target, but there are a ton of similar looks on Amazon.
I have also rounded up the 15 Best Shower Curtains That’ll Take Your Bathroom to the Next Level if you want more shower curtain recommendations!
33. Shower Caddy Organizer
Unfortunately, most apartment showers have barely any shelving or places to set all of your bottles. I definitely recommend getting a shower caddy to give yourself some extra organization and space. It also makes the whole shower look neater than bottles being all over the place.
If you need advice on how to keep your shower super clean, I put together The Best Shower Cleaning Checklist, Products, And Life Hacks.
34. Trash Can
Again, this is kind of a given, but I wouldn't want you to forget! I like this super simple black trash can from Amazon, but if you want to be fancy the Serena & Lily seagrass basket waste bins are gorgeous!
This Target Trash Can is a total dupe for the Serena & Lily one!! Save yourself $28 and get that one!
35. Bathroom Wall Decor
To make your bathroom seem less empty and plain, get some decor to go on your walls. For inspiration, check out My Apartment Bathroom Tour.
If you want to have some framed art in your bathroom, BSL made Super Trendy Bathroom Wall Art that you can download for free!
APARTMENT LIVING ROOM MUST HAVES
Sofas can be so expensive. I was so excited to find this IKEA sectional sofa for only $899. Chances are you're only going to be in your apartment for so long, so you don't need to buy a super expensive sofa.
My Sofa in my apartment is from Ashely HomeStore, and it is the perfect sofa for my needs! It is super cozy, decently priced, and will last me for quite some time!
To see more sofa options, check out these 26 Luxe Apartment Sofas Under $2000 You’ll Obsess Over.
If you have room for accent chairs & extra seating, definitely get some sofa chairs!! Not only do they give you extra seating for entertaining, but they can also be super pretty decor pieces. Target x Studio McGee has some really cute options that are budget-friendly!
If you have some extra money to spend, Lulu & Georgia has some absolutely gorgeous accent chairs that are to die for!!
38. Coffee Table
A coffee table is another one of those things that are practical, but also just really fun to decorate! I love my solid coffee table, but sometimes I wish I had a coffee table with two levels so I could put a basket with games or blankets on the lower level and all of my decor on the top.
I also put together the 21+ Best Coffee Tables That Will Make Any Space Look Stunning for more options!
39. Bar Cart
A bar cart is pretty much an apartment essential. I just finished putting together my bar cart, and I could not be more obsessed with how it turned out. If you want to see how I styled my bar cart, check out my post: How I Decorated My Bar Cart To Look Expensive (while sticking to a budget).
40. TV Stand/Wall Mount
If you have a TV, you probably will have to put it on a TV stand if you can't drill into the walls for a TV mount. Most apartments do not want you to put holes in the wall, but if you are able to, you're going to need a TV mount.
Also, part of me is jealous of people with TV stands because it's an excuse to decorate another area. Stack some cute coffee table books and a little plant, so cute.
41. Floor Lamp
This isn't really a necessity for all apartments, but in some apartments, you definitely need a floor lamp! I have been loving the arc floor lamps lately, they're definitely trendy right now.
There are a ton of floor lamps at IKEA, Target, and even Home Depot!!
42. Throw Pillows
I'll admit it, I am a little obsessed with throw pillows. There are so many cute ones out there, and they make such a big difference in the way your space looks.
These pillow cover sets are so cute, and you will love them because they are already coordinated, and you don't have to worry about figuring out what looks good together.
43. Throw Blanket
Throw blankets go hand in hand with throw pillows in making your couch look put together and cozy. You will love neutral throw blankets because they add texture and layers but don't take away from the look of your throw pillows.
Amazon has a ton of cute throw blankets, and I also always keep an eye out at Target and Home Goods!
I have tried out a TON of rug options in my apartment, and I'm pretty much an expert at this point. I have everything you need to know about rugs in my posts: 8 Best Places To Buy Rugs For ANY Budget & The Absolute Best Cheap Rugs That Look Expensive.
APARTMENT TECHNOLOGY MUST HAVES
Okay, I linked two TVs from Amazon that are both 50 inches, but I think you may have more luck shopping Black Friday sales at Target or Best Buy! I got my TV on Black Friday and it was less than $300 if I remember correctly.
It is just the TCL brand, but it works perfectly for me, and I would never notice the difference between that and a TV that is $1,000+.
You always need a Bluetooth speaker for playing music when you have guests over or even just day today. You will be obsessed with this Marshall speaker (like I am) because it is so cute that it totally functions as decor! It comes in a brown and white color if that is more your apartment style.
APARTMENT CLEANING MUST HAVES
If you are a big ironer, you will definitely need to bring an iron with you to your apartment! If you're like me and too lazy to iron anything, you need Downy Wrinkle Release Spray!! It always amazes me, you can spray anything, and the wrinkles fall right out!
It's funny because I don't remember ever actually buying rags for my apartment, but I use them daily!! So moral of the story is that you definitely need rags!
I use multipurpose cleaning spray for everything and always use my microfiber rags with it!
56. Dish Soap & Sponges
This one is kind of up to preference. Personally, I love my Method dish soap and sponges from HomeGoods. I know a ton of people are obsessed with this Mrs.Meyers dish soap, and the Scrub Mommy is really just such a good sponge!!
No matter what you choose, you're going to need a sponge and dish soap to wash dishes. If you have a dishwasher, you will also need Dishwashing Detergent Pods!
58. Toilet Brush & Plunger
Something that's not too exciting, but definitely an apartment must have!! happens, and you're going to be glad you bought this . If you want a set that's a little pretty, check out this cute set from West Elm.
Who thought I would be calling a toilet plunger and scrubber cute?!
Another apartment must have!! If you live in a place with rain and snow (like me), you know those floors get nasty and need to be mopped often!! I have the O-Cedar mop, and it is legit!!! You can spin out all of the excess water so you're not dripping all over the place or saturating your floors.
If you're looking for something a little nicer and definitely easier, check out the Bissel Power Steam Mop I linked above!
APARTMENT DECOR MUST HAVES
61. Picture Frames
A gallery wall will be your absolute favorite way to fill empty wall space in your apartment. I just finished putting together a gallery wall in my apartment, and I LOVE it.
Here's How I Created a Cheap Gallery Wall That Looks Expensive (RENTER-FRIENDLY!).
You definitely need candles in your apartment!! I love both scented candles and fun, decorative candles like the bubble one I linked above.
Capri Blue candles smell SOO good, but they are definitely pricey. My all-time favorite candles are the Sand + Fog candles from HomeGoods/TJ Maxx.
64. Decorative Books
If you look around my apartment, there are coffee table books everywhere. The thing is, they can be super expensive, so I have some tricks to save money! I look for all of my books from Goodwill & just turn the dust cover inside out so it just has a plain white cover.
I have had my eye on this black Crate & Barrel vase forever. The round vase is sooo popular right now and probably all over your Pinterest feed.
You can honestly get any vase like this and fill it with faux branches for beautiful decor!! I have also DIYed this vase look by painting vases from thrift stores with a baking soda/paint mixture.
67. Makeup Organizer
The organization is key when living in a smaller space. Makeup organization is an apartment must have for sure!! If you're anything like me, my makeup is all over the place when I get ready if I don't have a specific place to put it.
The simple acrylic organizers are perfect, but if you want a little upgrade, the gold metal accents on the splurge option are gorgeous! Also, keep an eye out at HomeGoods/TJ Maxx/Marshalls for these types of makeup organizers (they always have them for pretty cheap)!
RANDOM APARTMENT MUST HAVES
If you're living in an apartment on your own, there's honestly nothing scarier than the thought of the power going out and you being stuck in the dark . Definitely get a flashlight (or two) when you're moving into your apartment.
Even if you think you'll never use it, I feel better just knowing I have one.
70. Light Bulbs
This is something you probably would forget to bring with you to your apartment and then have to go buy later on when your light bulb burns out. Having a couple on hand is all you need!
I know I said there was nothing worse than the power going out, but being stuck in a hot apartment might be worse. You definitely need a fan. Whether you just get a basic fan or a fancy Dyson fan, you will be so happy when it's 100 degrees outside at 90 inside .
72. Door mat
This pretty much depends on the setup of your apartment. My apartment has its own front door, but a lot of apartments are indoor hallways. If you have your own front door, definitely get a cute doormat!
You will be just as obsessed as I am with this CB2 color-blocked doormat. I think it is so simple but so cute and sleek.
Now, these you probably will use every day, making them a definite apartment must have! I have these gold and acrylic scissors, and I love them! They are so pretty and also just a really nice pair of scissors.
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