Moving into your first apartment is no joke. Whether moving directly from your parents' house or your college dorm, you'll undoubtedly need to do some home shopping.
While you may be tempted to buy out all of Serena & Lily or Jonathan Adler when decorating, it's important to restrain yourself from purchasing every last copper vase until your bank account runs dry. While a decorative piece here and there is definitely important (nobody likes living with white walls!) there are a few essentials that are non-negotiable.
VIDEO: #Ask Kat: How Do I Decorate My Coffee Table?
Whether you're moving into a tiny studio on the Upper East Side or a lofty two-bedroom in South Carolina, these are a few basics that will set you up for comfortable living. And when you're done with the basics, you can totally go crazy with the faux sheepskin rugs!
1. Tall Bookcase
It's tempting to purchase a short bookshelf, but it's amazing how fast shelves can fill up, even without being a huge reader. This adorable sky blue shelf would be a great accent piece for a bedroom or living room, and perfect for storing all your trinkets and cookbooks. Plus, this makes for the perfect "shelfie."
Pier 1 Imports | $280
2. Stacked Ball Table Lamp
Even if your apartment has overhead lighting, chances are you will have darker corners that need a little lightening up, especially in the PM. This quirky, art-deco inspired lamp will brighten up any room, in more ways than one.
cupcakes and cashmere | $124
3. Wall Art Set
Not only is artwork expensive, but you should really wait a bit after moving into a new place to figure out what your design preferences are before making a huge artistic splurge. But on the other hand, blank walls can look like a prison! Find a happy medium with this wall art set that will give your gallery wall a good start without emptying your piggy bank.
DENY Designs | $99
4. 'Chambord Classic' French Press
While you could go the route of the clunky Keurig, a classic copper French press will not only brew you a better cup of coffee, but it will also look beyond chic in your kitchen. This option is inexpensive, but yields eight cups of coffee.
Bodum | $50
5. Windham Coffee Table
A sturdy coffee table is a non-negotiable in your tiny apartment, as it may (read: most likely) act as your dining room table as well, most nights. How else are you supposed to catch up on your TiVo while also eating dinner?! Choose a table in a neutral color with drawers for storage space.
Threshold | $150
6. Ombre Shower Curtain
It's hard to spruce up a bathroom, especially a small one, but an easy way to do it is by adding a pop of color via a cute shower curtain. This ombre option is budget-friendly and creates a great zen experience for your next bubble bath.
Threshold | $20
7. Hydrocotton Bath Towels
It's time to retire those old, bleach-stained towels that you've been using since the summer before moving into your freshman dorm! Invest in some super plush microcotton towels that will make your shower relaxing from beginning to end. Stuck on which color to buy? White always looks luxe.
Nordstrom | $49 for 2
8. Well Hello There Coir Doormat
While a door mat might not seem immediately important, you'll realize how useful it is on moving day when it starts pouring rain and you're tracking mud into your newly-waxed hardwood floors. When picking out such a boring item, mix it up with a mat that has a little extra to say than just "Welcome."
West Elm | $29
9. Metal, Wood, and Leather Bar Cart
A bar cart might not seem like a necessity, but if you lack in cupboard space, it's a great place to store liquor bottles and wine glasses. Plus, you'll always be prepared for happy hour with a loaded bar cart, and it's a great design element for a sophisticated apartment.
Threshold | $130
10. 16-Piece Dinnerware Set
You can't eat out of takeout containers forever, so unless you're setting up a wedding registry, you should definitely splurge for a sturdy dinnerware set that includes at least plates, bowls, and mugs. That way, next time your mom comes to visit, you can eat off of matching porcelain, as opposed to your mismatched college plates.
Pottery Barn | $179
11. SoMa Brady Sleeper Sofa
A great marker for entering adulthood is getting rid of your old college futon for a full-blown sofa. However, couches can cause your budget to take a huge hit. This sleeper sofa is compact for a tiny apartment, and creates a space for guests to sleep, while not looking as clunky and unattractive as a classic futon. Not to mention, it can come with a slipcover, which is a necessity when your Scandal wine night gets a little out of control.
Pottery Barn | $699
12. Dirt Devil Vacuum
Vacuums (and cleaning supplies in general) are not exactly the most exciting purchases to make, but definitely necessary. Find a small but effective vacuum like this one that is not only a powerful stick vacuum to clean your floors, but also includes a removable hand vacuum to clean other dusty spots.
Dirt Devil | $26