When signing the lease for my first ever apartment, one of the things I immediately wanted to do was decorate. I began planning themes for each room and planning the items I wanted to buy for them. However, I realized really quickly that while I was focusing on how I would decorate my apartment, I was missing the essentials.

While decor is definitely what helps make a home a home, you can’t get so caught up in the decor that you forget about the essentials. For example, I remember in my very first apartment by myself, I couldn’t wait to have the freedom to decorate it as I chose, but there were quite a few things that my lovely mom ended up getting for me because I forgot to grab them – like a plunger for my toilet and toilet paper. True story.

Or like how when registering for items for our wedding, I registered for a lot of really cute decorative items that we currently use, but figured out that we didn’t have enough cups for more than four guests at a time.

Before making your list of things that you want to add character to your space, I would make a list of the essential things that you absolutely need to survive in your apartment, first and then add your decorative items last. To help you out, I’m sharing with you a list of things that I believe are essentials for your first home or apartment, so that you don’t make the same errors that I did.

Essentials for Your First Home or Apartment Click To Tweet


If you are moving into a new place for the first time, I would definitely recommend buying a new mattress and new pillows. Aside from the fact that it’s much easier to get a new mattress (when it’s wrapped up as they do in the factories) delivered than it is to try to move an old one, a new place is a great opportunity to start fresh.

Additionally, beds and pillows acquire build up over the years. Regardless of how often you wash it, pillows eventually lose shape and begin to lose the original puffiness or firmness it once had. The mattresses begin to change shape as well often forming to the position you typically hold when you’re in the bed.

One of the things my husband and I got when we moved in together for the first time was a new bed and it made all the difference.



I know this is probably explanatory, but when you’re so excited about moving into a new place, sometimes these things get lost in the midst of our potted succulents and handmade coffee tables.

While it’s easy to live off of paper plates and take out, that gets old after a while and eventually you’re going to need a fully stocked kitchen with real plate sets, spatulas, serving spoons, ladles, and measuring cups.

New mattress? Check. Find out what other essentials you need for your first place! Click To Tweet


When moving into my first apartment, this was another one of those things that I forgot that I needed, but I am so glad that my mother went out and got for me. When we’re preparing to move things into our first apartment, getting a first aid kit isn’t really something that comes to mind. We’re too excited about having our own place to think about the potential need for bandages – right?

I would highly recommend that you invest in a first aid kit when getting items for your new place. It could be as simple as placing band-aids, burn creams, and alcohol swabs in a pencil case or getting a kit that includes ace bandages, but it’s important that you have something in your apartment that you can use in the case of an emergency. Personally, I also like to keep my thermometer in there as well.


Who would’ve thought that all of those years of watching HGTV would eventually come in handy? You’d be surprised how many things you can either quickly patch up yourself using spackle or other items.

In your first apartment, your tools can be used to help you nail things to the wall, remove former nails that the former tenant left over in areas you don’t want to hang things. It was another one of those things that I never thought I would need and yet I use my tools all of the time. I even used them for some of the DIY projects I did on the blog!


If you’re moving into an apartment, most places will provide you with a spare key to use in the case that you get locked out of your apartment. If they do not or if you are moving into a home where this only one set of keys for each person on the lease, I would make a copy.

The first reason why I’d get another copy of your first key is so that in the case of an emergency where you’re unable to get to your apartment, the person who has a copy of your spare key can get into the apartment or home for you. For example, when my husband and I went away with his side of the family for a weekend, I gave my mom the spare key so that she could go in and check in on our cat while we were gone. Another example is when the cable guy came in to set up the cable in my first apartment and someone needed to be home to let him in.

The second reason is in the event that you get locked out of your apartment, which has happened to my husband before. In apartments, a lot of landlords and agencies will charge you an extra fee for replacing a lost key. Rather than paying the extra fee, break out the copy of the key or ask someone who has the spare key to let you in.


Although this is focused on the essentials, I do believe it’s important to get at least some decorative items that you can afford. Moving into your own place is an exciting time and it’s worth celebrating by treating yourself to something you really think would accent the place. Remember, buying the essentials doesn’t necessarily mean refraining from purchasing decorations. It just means prioritizing what you need first and then gradually getting all of the hanging terrariums your heart could desire.

Although you may be tempted to buy everything you’ve pinned on Pinterest at once, as mom would always say, you have to crawl before you can walk. You can always purchase the tapestry you really wanted to put above the couch in your living room after you purchase a couch to sit on. You can always purchase a bunch of pillows for your bed, after you buy a new mattress. Take your time and you may even be able to catch some sales on a few things.

Sometimes that might mean holding off on that super cool pillow you saw for $30 to buy a space heater. My advice is to buy what’s essential first and then buy the decor your heart desires and your wallet can afford.

Now that you’ve successfully determined what you need for your home, be sure to take some time to really soak in the newness of having your first home or apartment. I think there’s something really special about taking time to just enjoy the moment and celebrate. Grab something yummy to drink and happy shopping!

You have to crawl before you can walk. The same goes for buying things for your home. Click To Tweet


What are some of your essentials for your apartment/home? If you currently do not have your own place, what are some things you’d love to have in your future place?

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