Moving into your first apartment is an exciting milestone. With nearly 40% of U.S. renters living in apartments, creating a stylish space without breaking the bank is more important than ever. Making your new home reflect your personality and style can be both fun and affordable.

Whether you’re moving out for the first time or relocating to a new city, having a comprehensive, budget-friendly checklist can make the transition smoother. This guide will help you gather your apartment essentials on a budget, ensuring you have everything you need to turn your new place into a cozy and functional home.

First Apartment Necessities

When planning your move, it’s important to focus on the essentials first. Here’s a complete first apartment checklist on a budget, divided room by room, to help you prioritize your needs.

Living Room

Living room couch with throw pillows

Your living room is the heart of your home, where you’ll relax, entertain, and spend quality time. To set up a functional and inviting space, start with these living room essentials:

  • Sofa or Couch: Look for affordable options or consider second-hand finds in good condition.
  • Coffee Table: A simple, sturdy coffee table is both functional and stylish.
  • TV Stand or Mount: Depending on your space, choose a stand or mount to keep your entertainment area organized.
  • Lighting: Floor lamps or table lamps can add warmth and ambiance.
  • Rugs and Throw Blankets: These add comfort and style to your living room.
  • Storage Solutions: Bookshelves or storage ottomans can help keep the area tidy.

For a full breakdown of the necessities in this room, take a peek at our checklist for living room essentials.


Bed with throw pillows

Creating a peaceful and comfortable bedroom is essential for rest and relaxation. Here are the most important bedroom necessities:

  • Bed Frame and Mattress: Invest in a good mattress for quality sleep. Platforms or simple bed frames are budget-friendly.
  • Bedding: A set of sheets, pillowcases, and a comforter are must-haves.
  • Nightstand: A small table or shelf to hold your essentials like a lamp, alarm clock, or book.
  • Lighting: Bedside lamps or string lights can create a cozy atmosphere.
  • Closet Organizers: Maximize your space with organizers for clothes and shoes.


Bathroom sink and shower curtain

Your bathroom needs to be functional and efficient. Be sure to stock it with these bathroom essentials:

  • Shower Curtain and Rings: Choose a durable shower curtain that adds a touch of style.
  • Bath Towels: Have at least two sets of bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths.
  • Toilet Paper and Holder: Essential for obvious reasons.
  • Bath Mat: Bath mats not only prevent slips and add comfort when stepping out of the shower, but they also add a stylish touch to your bathroom.
  • Storage Solutions: Over-the-toilet shelves or baskets for toiletries and cleaning supplies.
  • Hand Soap and Dispenser: Keeps your hands clean and adds a decorative touch.


Colorful kitchen

The kitchen is where you’ll prepare meals and gather with friends. If you’re looking for kitchen ideas on a budget, start with these kitchen essentials:

  • Cookware: A basic set including pots, pans, baking sheets, and oven mitts to keep you protected while handling hot items.
  • Utensils: Spatulas, wooden spoons, tongs, and a can opener.
  • Dishware: Plates, bowls, cups, and glasses.
  • Cutlery: Knives, forks, spoons, and a sharp chef’s knife.
  • Storage Containers: For leftovers and meal prep.
  • Dish Towels and Sponges: Essential for cleaning up.
  • Dish Soap: Keep your dishes clean with quality dish soap.

Dining Room

Dining room

Even if you don’t have a separate dining room, a small dining area is necessary for meals. Here’s what you’ll need to decorate a dining room with the basics:

  • Dining Table and Chairs: Opt for a small set that fits your space.
  • Placemats or Tablecloth: Protects your table and adds a decorative touch.
  • Dining Ware: Plates, bowls, and cutlery for everyday use.

Transform your home, apartment, or dorm with décor for any style. Shop home décor!


These miscellaneous items will help round out your apartment essentials checklist:

  • First Aid Kit: Essential for minor injuries and emergencies.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Broom, mop, vacuum, paper towels, and cleaning solutions.
  • Laundry Essentials: Laundry hamper, detergent, and fabric softener.
  • Tool Kit: Basic tools like a hammer, screwdriver, and wrench.
  • Trash Cans: One for the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.

Non-Essential Items to Get in the Future

Once you’ve settled in and covered the basics, you can start thinking about non-essential items and home decor that will further enhance your apartment living and the theme you want to convey. For instance, you might want to add beach cottage decor on a budget for a touch of coastal charm to your space.

For more tips, consider these:

  • Decorative Floor Pillows and Throw Blankets: Add comfort and style to your space.
  • Wall Art: Personalize your home with wall art that reflects your taste.
  • Extra Lighting: Floor lamps or fairy lights for added ambiance.
  • Plants: Bring the outdoors in and add life and color to your home with indoor plants.
  • Small Appliances: Coffee maker, toaster, or blender for convenience.

Fill Your Apartment With Stylish Essentials From Society6

Decorating your first apartment is a thrilling adventure, filled with opportunities to express your personal style. At Society6, you’ll discover stylish, budget-friendly options to help you turn your new space into a comfortable, unique retreat. Whether you’re filling your home with the basics or wondering how to decorate a studio apartment on a budget, we provide all the essentials to craft a home that truly represents you, all without stretching your budget.

Embrace the excitement of this new chapter with confidence. Our complete first apartment checklist on a budget ensures you have all the essentials for a smooth and enjoyable transition. Here’s to making your new apartment feel like home!


  1. “Quick Facts: Resident Demographics.” National Multifamily Housing Council,