11 Must-Haves for a College Student or College Grad’s First Adult Apartment

published Jun 28, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Maybe you’ve just graduated from college and are heading to a nearby city for your first big job at the end of the summer. Or perhaps you’re about to *officially* move off-campus and into your first apartment. Either way, whether you’re starting out solo or will be living with a roommate, you’re likely realizing there’s a lot you need to set up your space — and yourself — for success.

If you’re struggling to identify the essentials to prioritize as you furnish and decorate your new space, though, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I’m here to help you with a shortcut: a list of 11 items you’ll most definitely want to buy sooner than later, so that your new home is cozy, stylish, and functional ASAP. One quick note: If you’re just starting college, I don’t want to leave you hanging on a packing list either. Check out Her Campus’ definitive packing list for everything you might need for that big move and then some!

1 / 11
was $96.25

It’s never fun to wonder where exactly your keys are as you rush out the door to work. A stylish marble bowl like this one provides the perfect spot for tossing those little things you need as you head out the door — like car and house keys, hand sanitizer, AirPods, and the like. It’ll look chic sitting on any entryway table.

2 / 11

Setting a daily alarm on your phone is easy, of course, but it’s always smart to keep a backup on hand in case you misplace your charger or experience a power outage. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a run-of-the-mill, clunky-looking design, though. This petite alarm clock has a fun mid-century vibe. You’ll never be late for work again!

3 / 11

Everyone needs a green friend to keep them company. This silver pothos plant is easy to care for and will grow longer and longer over time — the best is yet to come!

4 / 11
Uncommon Goods

It’s time to say goodbye to those plastic wine glasses from your college days and upgrade to some sophisticated vessels that you’ll be proud to bust out when friends stop by after work. Simple in silhouette and stackable, this set of clear glasses is sure to fit inside your likely small apartment cabinets.

5 / 11

You’ve just splurged on a living room sofa, but now you’re in need of some cute throw pillows that don’t break the bank. Fortunately, H&M Home is chock-full of amazing pillow covers in tons of great colors and patterns that ring in at under $10 each.

6 / 11

No apartment is complete without art, and these days, you can find so many excellent, budget-friendly pieces on the market to transform your blank walls in no time. Place a vibrant floral print in the frame of your choosing (or select a pre-framed option from the Minted site), and get ready for the compliments to roll on in.

7 / 11

If you’re sharing a bathroom with a roommate — or you’re just very serious about your #selfcaresunday routine — you may need to invest in some additional storage beyond just the standard medicine cabinet your apartment comes with. A drawer system like this one makes it easy for anyone and everyone to have space to tuck away extra toiletries, beauty essentials, hair tools, and more.

8 / 11
was $350.00

Whether you’ll be working from home every day or just a couple of times a week, you’ll want to ensure your “home office” space is up to par. This blonde wood writing desk provides plenty of room up top for a laptop and an additional monitor, if you have one, while the storage cabinets below will come in handy for supplies. Of course, the subtle Art Deco-inspired arch design is a selling point, too. If only your coworkers could see it from Zoom calls.

9 / 11

Vacuums might not be the most exciting thing to purchase, but they’re an essential, and a good one will last you for years to come. This cordless stick model boasts a lightweight, small profile that’s perfect for getting into tight corners, and it comes in a trendy rose gold finish, just in case you want to leave it out 24/7. It also can instantly transform into a handheld vac, too, for kitchen cleanups and smaller jobs. Talk about a win-win-win!

10 / 11
Home Depot
was $329.00

It’s time to recycle that moving box you’ve been using as a coffee table and invest in the real deal. This one may be under $300, but you’d never guess it, given how luxe the metal drum design looks. Best of all, the top of the coffee table comes off for extra storage, so you finally have somewhere to stash those throw blankets.

11 / 11

A great set of mugs may just inspire you to brew your own coffee at home every morning. These floral beauties are way more elevated than your standard travel souvenir mugs and will shine on open shelving or your countertop.