Your Complete Guide to Apartment Must-Haves

Updated on January 3, 2023 by Joseph D. Nielson

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Whether you’ve found your first or next apartment, moving into a new space is an exciting time in anyone’s life. The chance to start fresh and create a space that reflects your style and personality isn’t a chance everyone gets and should be celebrated as a significant milestone.

No matter where your apartment is, whether you’re living in a small town or a major metropolitan city, it’s important to start thinking about all the ways and possibilities that come with decorating and customizing your space. What are your must-haves for your apartment and what will your design aesthetic look like?

In this guide, we’ll help you identify your new apartment must-haves, from cleaning essentials to furniture staples. Check out our guide and learn how to make the most of your move.

9 Must-Haves for a New Apartment

While your aesthetic and colour palette may vary from your neighbour, there are several essentials that we recommend adding to your apartment must-haves list, including: 

Coffee Table

Your living room is likely going to be your main entertainment space, so it’s important that your furniture is as functional as it is stylish. A coffee table is a new apartment must-have and can be customized to fit your aesthetic.

If you have children or simply have a lot of items that need to be stored, there are coffee tables with built-in storage that will help keep the rest of your space organized. On the other hand, if you prefer a minimalist look, opt for something chic, perhaps a glass table, which will help the room feel bigger than it is.

Coffee Maker

Speaking of coffee, we can’t forget to mention the importance of a coffee machine as part of the must-haves for your new apartment. If you’re used to purchasing a coffee from a local coffee shop on your way to work, you may not realize how much you’re spending each day on something that could easily be made at home.

Coffee makers can be found at any department store or even online and come in a wide variety of models and price points. So no matter what style of coffee you prefer — from a simple drip to a strong espresso — you can find a machine that works for you and watch how much money you save each week.

Bed Frame

Your bedroom should be an oasis, a place to escape after a long day. When you’re creating your apartment must-haves list, consider the importance of adding a bed frame to your bed set. Bed frames add a level of sophistication and elegance to your room, acting often as a main focal point for the entire bed.

You can find a bed frame to match any style, so there’s no need to worry that adding this piece of furniture will compromise your unique taste. For a minimalist effect, a simple metal bed frame is all you need. If you’re looking for something more rustic, you can find warm wooden frames. Lastly, if you want something luxurious, a soft-toned fabric frame will do the trick.

Step Stool

Unless you’re over six feet tall, there will likely be multiple areas in your apartment that you’re unable to reach without a little help. A step stool is a cost-effective way to solve that problem and can be stored in any closet or storage space for easy access. With the help of a step stool, you can easily change light bulbs or reach higher cabinets.

Vacuum Cleaner

Whether you’re living independently, with roommates, children, or pets, a vacuum cleaner is one of the top must-haves for your first apartment. The type of vacuum you need will depend on a variety of factors, including if you have any pet hair, the size of your apartment, and your budget. No matter which size and model you select, ensure your vacuum has the power and battery life needed, if you’re choosing a cordless vacuum, to get the job done. Be sure to check reviews to see how other homeowners and renters have fared with the model you have your eyes on.

It’s also important to consider where in your apartment you can store your vacuum cleaner so that you know which model is best suited to your new space. For pet owners, a pet-friendly carpet cleaners should be added to your apartment must-haves list to ensure your space looks as good as new. 

Tall Man Vacuuming a Carpet

Floor Lamp

Ensuring you have enough lighting in your apartment is key to feeling comfortable in your new space — especially during the winter when the sun sets earlier in the day. Floor lamps are simple ways to add more light without the harshness of overhead lighting — perfect for evening movie nights or reading in your favorite nook.

Shower Curtain and Liner

Shower essentials should never be overlooked when deciding which items are considered must-haves for a new apartment. Shower curtains offer privacy and add another design element to your bathroom, while a shower liner protects the rest of your bathroom from excess water escaping.

Full-Length Mirror

Mirrors are a multi-purpose design element that can simultaneously help you to see yourself clearly while opening up any room and creating the illusion of more square footage.

A full-length mirror is ideal for those who put emphasis on their daily outfits and want to ensure everything they’ve put on is cohesive and appropriate. When it’s not being used, these mirrors are also a stylish addition to any room.

Cleaning Supplies

Without quality cleaning supplies, it’s impossible to keep your apartment looking fresh and inviting. When it comes to cleaning supplies, start by dividing your list into three sections — kitchen, bathroom, and carpet or fabric. Having an organized list will help you identify which products are meant for specific rooms in your apartment.

For example, sponges for washing dishes would fall under the kitchen list while a mini vacuum keyboard cleaner could be labeled miscellaneous or office-based if you’re working from home. For kitchen and bathrooms, silicone sponges are the best choice to ensure you’re getting the best possible clean.

On the product side, look for non toxic cleaning supplies if you have young children or pets. If you’re into DIY, there are resources available that will teach you how to make your own cleaning products out of items you can find from the supermarket.

Frequently Asked Questions About Apartment Must-Haves

What makes a good first apartment must-have?

While it may depend on the individual, typically a good first apartment must-have is an item or piece of furniture that serves a purpose in your new space and offers a level of convenience to a particular task.

If you’re looking for furniture, a must-have piece of furniture should fit your aesthetic and your budget, while simultaneously fitting the space itself. When it comes to smaller items like cleaning supplies, it’s all about function and how effectively they help you keep your apartment clean and inviting.

The best part about creating a list of must-haves for your first apartment is that you have the freedom to decide which products and devices make the most sense for your new space.

What are things you need for an apartment that you wouldn’t think of?

When it comes to shopping for new apartment must-haves, there’s a laundry list of items that you’ve likely already thought about. However, there are always items that escape our thoughts when we’re caught up in the process of moving and unpacking.

Storage is essential no matter how small or large your apartment may be and while you may have thought of large-ticket storage items including bookshelves and ottomans, have you added wall hooks to your list? Keeping items off your floors, chairs, and tables will keep the rest of your apartment organized. Wall hooks are ideal for hanging your coats, keys, purses and umbrellas.

Kitchen essentials are also important to consider. Oftentimes, we don’t realize the many kitchen utensils we need until we’re cooking in the kitchen. Start with small items like bottle openers, can openers, measuring cups, and plastic containers to store leftovers.

What are the top apartment must-haves for 2023?

If you’re moving into a new apartment, it may be helpful to take a look at the top apartment must-haves for the year 2023 broken down by room.


  • Reusable tupperware
  • Water filter
  • Ice cube trays
  • Electric tea kettle
  • Dish rack
  • Knife set
  • Slow cooker
  • Coffee maker

Living Room

  • Floor lamp
  • Coffee table
  • Bookshelves
  • Throw pillows
  • Area rug


  • Bed frame
  • Mattress
  • Nightstand
  • Blackout curtains
  • Full length mirror


  • Cleaning supplies
  • Wall hooks
  • Floating shelves
  • Laundry basket
  • Toolbox

What are the top small apartment must-haves?

After you’ve checked off the big ticket items from your list, it’s important to look at the smaller items that will help make your home feel more comfortable and make your life more convenient. 

In small spaces, storage is key. Over-the-door hangers are ideal for coats, bags, and towels and keep them off of your counters and floors. For a combination of storage and design, look for floating shelves which you can use to store books and important objects you’ve collected over the years. For maximum portability, look for the best cordless iron for your space, which you can then store in a storage closet or if you have enough cabinets in your kitchen.

Your kitchen is going to be one of the busiest areas of your home and likely where you’ll have to worry about storage the most. To make the most of your cabinet space, look for stacked shelves on wheels that can be pulled out of your cabinets. These slide-out shelves are ideal for smaller kitchens and can store considerably more goods.

What are the new apartment must-haves for couples?

If you’re moving into a new apartment with a significant other, you have to keep in mind that you’re moving double the amount of items and your apartment could feel crowded without the proper storage.

Of course, it’s important to start with the big-ticket items including furniture for the living room, and bedroom. You’ll want to invest in a comfortable couch and mattress since you’ll be using these items most often when you’re home. In addition to the bedroom furniture, quality bed sheets and pillows will ensure you both get a restful night’s sleep.

When it comes to the bathroom, the more storage containers and shelves you’re able to install will help keep your toiletries separate and organized.

Depending on how much you plan on cooking, you’ll want to ensure you at least have the essentials — pots, pans, dishes, glasses, and silverware. If you enjoy cooking, add a few more items to the list like a slow cooker, a set of quality knives, and a food processor to bring your recipes to life.

Even if your new apartment has been renovated, there may still be repairs that will come up in time, and having a set of tools on hand will ensure you can tackle these issues in a timely manner. All you need is a wrench, hammer, set of nails, measuring tape, and a screwdriver.

Can I find apartment must-haves on Amazon?

Absolutely! Amazon is often considered a one-stop-shop and can help you check off your list of must-haves for your new apartment in no time. Start with any larger items that are necessary for everyday life and then move on to the smaller items that are more convenience-based.

With fast shipping and a variety of categories to choose from, you can streamline your shopping process and get everything or nearly everything you need from the comfort of your computer or mobile phone.


Moving into a new apartment is a significant milestone that should be celebrated. With the help of our guide for apartment must-haves, you can create the perfect list for your new space and feel confident you have everything you need to live comfortably and make memories.

Joseph and Family
About Joseph D. Nielson

Former journalist and editor for various press groups, I now dedicate my time to reviewing products for the home and family life. When I get time to myself, I enjoy rock climbing, taking my dirt bike for a rip, and most importantly providing my family with the best home possible!