When I first moved into my college apartment, I had no idea there were so many college apartment essentials I needed to keep track of! This blog post covers all the essentials you need to move into your first college study apartment.
Disclaimer: as an Amazon and RewardStyle affiliate, I may earn a small commission from purchases made through my links, at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
College is a time for new beginnings and exciting adventures. It’s also a time when you’re moving into your very first apartment!
If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering what you need to bring with you. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
In this post, we will be discussing the essential items for every room in your college apartment. We’ll also provide a list of things that everyone always forgets to bring! So whether you’re just starting out or are already in college, be sure to read this post!
This post is all about the college apartment essentials you can’t live without!
What are the Most Important College Apartment Essentials?
College Apartment Essentials – Kitchen Edition
When it comes to your kitchen, there are a few things you will need in order to be prepared for college life. These are the essential items you need to function in a normal kitchen making easy, delicious, and healthy meals! You can always add more fun kitchen items if you’re a master chef, but these essentials will make cooking easy and fun.
A Set of Pots and Pans
If you’re going to be cooking anything more complicated than ramen noodles, you’re going to need a set of pots and pans. Be sure to get a good quality set that will last you a long time. You don’t want to be replacing your pots and pans every semester!
A Knife Set
A good knife set is essential for any kitchen. Not only will it make cooking easier, but it will also help you stay safe while you’re cooking. Be sure to get a set that includes a chef’s knife, paring knife, and serrated knife.
A Cutting Board
A cutting board is a must-have for any kitchen. It’s the perfect surface for chopping vegetables, slicing meat, and mincing garlic. Be sure to get a cutting board that is big enough to accommodate all of your needs.
In order to cook anything, you’re going to need some cooking utensils. Be sure to get a spatula, wooden spoon, tongs, and a whisk. These will come in handy for cooking almost anything!
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Measuring cups and spoons are essential for baking and cooking. You don’t want to guess when it comes to adding ingredients to your food! Be sure to get a set that includes both dry and liquid measuring cups, as well as measuring spoons.
A Can Opener
This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to bring a can opener with them to college. A can opener is essential for opening canned food, which is a staple in most college diets.
Cups & Mugs
Cups and mugs are essential for, well, drinking! Be sure to get a few that you like so you can enjoy your coffee, tea, or water.
Drinking wine is the best way to unwind after a busy day of classes! Be sure to get a few wine glasses so you can relax in style.
A Set of Plates and Bowls
You’re going to need dishes to eat your food! Be sure to get a set that you like and that will last you a long time. You don’t want to be replacing your dishes every semester.
A Set of Mixing Bowls
Mixing bowls are essential for baking and cooking. Be sure to get a set that includes multiple sizes so you can mix ingredients with ease.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve moved without oven mitts, went to bake something, and ended up using $5 worth of paper towels to keep from burning my hands. Just do yourself a favor and buy oven mitts. They’re cheap and will save you a lot of money (and pain) in the long run!
In order to eat your food, you’re going to need some flatware. Be sure to get a set that includes a fork, knife, and spoon. You may also want to get a set of chopsticks if you plan on eating a lot of Asian food, too!
When you don’t want a comforting crock pot meal, a sheet pan dinner is the easiest way to make sure you’re fed without having to put in too much effort! All you need is some protein, veggies, and seasonings and you’ve got a meal. Plus, cleanup is a breeze when everything is cooked on one pan.
A Coffee Maker
Let’s be real, college life is stressful. You’re going to need all the coffee you can get! Be sure to get a coffee maker that fits your needs. If you’re only making coffee for yourself, a single-cup coffee maker will do. But if you’re making coffee for a group, you may want to invest in a larger coffee maker.
College life is busy! You’re going to have classes, homework, and a social life. The last thing you want to do is come home to an empty kitchen and have to cook a big meal. A crockpot will be your best friend when it comes to easy meals. Just throw all of your ingredients in the pot in the morning, and by the time you come home, you’ll have a delicious and healthy meal waiting for you!
Blends are key for easy meals like smoothies!! If you have a hectic morning schedule, blend up your favorite fruits, veggies, and protein powder the night before and store it in the fridge. In the morning, all you have to do is grab it and go!
A toaster is another kitchen essential. It’s perfect for making quick and easy breakfast foods like toast, bagels, and pop tarts. Be sure to get a toaster that fits your needs. If you’re only making toast for yourself, a toaster oven will do. But if you’re making toast for a group, you may want to invest in a larger toaster.
These are just a few of the essential items you’ll need for your college apartment kitchen. Be sure to add any other items that you think you may
A college necessity. Period. Whether you’re reheating leftovers or trying to make ramen noodles without a stove, a microwave is key for any college apartment.
College Apartment Essentials for Your Living Room
A couch is a must for any college apartment living room. It’s the perfect place to watch TV, relax, or take a nap. Be sure to get a couch that is comfortable and that fits your space.
A Coffee table
A coffee table is essential for any college apartment living room. It’s the perfect place to set your drinks when you have friends over or to sit and study! Be sure to get a coffee table that is the right size for your space.
A media console is more than just a place to put your TV! You can store games and even alcohol and wine glasses to use when you’re entertaining.
Side tables are a great addition to any college apartment living room.They will make your space feel put together and will be super useful for storage, decor, and extra landing spots for drinks!
A Floor Lamp
A floor lamp is key to making your living room cozy! No one wants to sit in harsh overhead lighting all the time. Not only will this provide cozy lighting, but floor lamps are a great way to save on electric bills when you’re hanging out studying every night!
Curtains & Rods
Curtains are essential for privacy, saving on heating and cooling bills, and they make your space feel more put together! Be sure to measure your windows before you buy curtains so that you can get the perfect fit. I highly recommend ordering curtains from Amazon so you can easily return them if the length is off!
These blackout curtains are my favorites for keeping my house totally dark – and TRUST ME I have tried sooo many blackout curtains.
An area rug is a great way to add color and pattern to your space. It’s also super cozy and will make your living room feel more put together. I love this jute rug because it’s neutral, adds a ton of texture, and goes with everything. It’s also great for creating a Japandi vibe, which is so perfect for a more mature looking apartment.
Be sure to get an area rug that is the right size for your space. You don’t want it to be too small or your apartment will look super small and weird.
Shoe storage is essential for any college apartment living room! You can use it to store shoes, umbrellas, and even extra blankets. Shoes can get kind of crazy when you’re living with roommates, so having a place with limited space to organize your shoes helps to make sure everything looks cute and put together.
You can’t forget throw pillows!! Throw pillows are essential for making your space look cozy and put together. They also add color and pattern to your space and make your apartment look super cute and put together without very much effort. You can save a ton of money by buying pillow inserts and covers so you can switch out your pillows whenever you need a refresh!
You need blankets to create a cozy space! You can also use blankets to add color and pattern to your apartment. Be sure to get a mix of different sizes and textures so you can always find the perfect blanket for the occasion. I love this chunky knit blanket because it’s so cozy and is actually a weighted blanket!
College Apartment Essentials for Your Bedroom
Of course, you need a bed! It wouldn’t be the ultimate guide to college apartment essentials if we forgot the basics, now would it? Be sure to get a bed that is comfortable and that fits your space. A cute platform bed is a great way to save money and make your room look super cute. If you’re not sure if you’re going to stay in your apartment until you graduate and want to avoid moving a heavy bed in a year, I have and love this super lightweight bedframe. You can jazz it up with a cute bedskirt and a headboard that’s easier to move around!
You need a mattress to go with your bed! I recommend getting a memory foam mattress because they are so comfortable and really easy to move around. You can also get a box spring if you want, but I think they’re kind of unnecessary unless you get a super barebones bedframe. I bought and LOVE this mattress.
A Mattress Pad
To be quite honest, unless you’re going to drop $$$$ on a super bougie mattress, a mattress pad absolutely essential for your college bedroom. I bought this one and loved it so much that I bought it again after it got damaged in a move. It is SO comfy you’re never going to want to get out of bed.
A bedside table is essential for any college apartment bedroom. It’s the perfect place to put your alarm clock, lamp, and books. A bedside table will keep your must-have items off the floor and prevent any spills. Trust me, you don’t want to accidentally step on a glass of water in the middle of the night.
A dresser is an essential piece of furniture for any college apartment bedroom. Most college apartments are pretty short on storage space, so storage furniture is a great way to add extra storage and keep your room feeling clean and neat.
A desk is essential for any college apartment bedroom. No matter how much you love your roommates, sometimes you just need to retreat into your room and have a head down study day. It’s the perfect place to study, do homework, and pay bills. I recommend getting a desk with drawers so you can have extra storage for pens, paper, and other office supplies.
You need a chair to go with your desk! Getting a comfortable chair is soooo important…but sometimes style wins out and you choose an uncomfy chair that looks really cute. If you end up picking a chair that doesn’t really work for a marathon study day, I highly recommend this butt pad. It has saved my scoliosis-having-cute-chair-loving-butt for the past few years!!
A bookshelf is an essential piece of furniture for any college apartment bedroom. It’s the perfect place to store books, textbooks, and other items. You could even add a few storage bins to store extra clothes and accessories if you run out of drawer space!
College Apartment Bathroom Essentials
A shower curtain is essential for any college apartment bathroom. It’s the perfect way to keep your bathroom clean and your shower dry. Be sure to get a shower curtain that is the right size for your space. I also recommend getting a waterproof shower curtain so you don’t have to worry about water damage.
A bathmat is an essential for any college apartment bathroom. It’s the perfect way to keep your bathroom clean and your feet dry. Be sure to get a bathmat that is the right size for your space. I also recommend getting a waterproof bathmat so you don’t have to worry about water damage.
You need towels for your shower! Be sure to get a set of good quality towels that are absorbent and soft. I also recommend getting a few extra towels so you always have one on hand when you need it.
Of course, you need toiletries! Be sure to stock up on shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toilet paper. I also recommend getting a toothbrush holder so you can keep your bathroom organized and tidy.
Laundry Essentials That Will Keep You Fresh
A Cute Laundry Hamper
A laundry hamper is a must-have essential for any college apartment. It’s the perfect way to keep your dirty clothes off the floor and out of sight. Be sure to get a laundry hamper that is the right size for your space. I also recommend getting a cute laundry hamper so you can add some personality to your room.
You need a laundry basket to go with your laundry hamper! Be sure to get a laundry basket that is the right size for your space. I also recommend getting a collapsible laundry basket so you can easily store it when you’re not using it.
Of course, you need laundry detergent! Be sure to get a good quality detergent that will get your clothes clean. I also recommend getting a stain remover so you can easily get rid of any tough stains.
Dryer sheets are an often-forgotten college apartment essential. Don’t forget them, please! You need dryer sheets to pretend static on all your clothes! Be sure to get a good-quality dryer sheet so you can easily get rid of any static. They will also make your clothes smell soooo good.
Scent boosters will be your life saver in college! There is nothing more relaxing than getting into a super fluffy bed that smells amazing after a long day of studying. I love adding these scent boosters into all my clothes, but I really go bananas when it comes to workout clothes and bedding.
Cleaning Essentials You Can’t Live Without
You need dish soap to wash your dishes! I swear by this dish soap and use it for everything from washing dishes to cleaning my countertops. It cuts through EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. I didn’t have hot water in my kitchen for the longest time and spraying this down on everything was the only way my dishes were ever actually clean.
Trust me, you want something for your windows/glass on a regular basis so you aren’t stuck scrubbing your windows to save your security deposit. I like to use this window cleaner because it’s streak-free and gets the job done quickly.
This one is a pretty self-explanatory college apartment essential! You need an all-purpose spray, well, for all of your purposes. I use it for cleaning everything from my countertops to my floors. It’s super versatile and a must-have for any college apartment. I love this one because the scent is sooo fresh. It makes cleaning feel like a treat!
Bathroom Cleaner Spray
If you’re anything like me, you love baths and hate germs! I am constantly cleaning my tub and making sure it’s sparkling for my next relaxing soak. I use this bathroom cleaner because it gets the job done and smells amazing.
Pro tip, I also keep a bottle of my dish soap (I told you I’m obsessed with it!!!) and spray down my bathtub with it before every bath. There’s nothing better than a long hot bath in a freshly cleaned tub!
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
No one wants to clean a dirty toilet, but it’s an essential part of keeping your bathroom clean. I use this toilet bowl cleaner because it’s powerful and gets the job done quickly. Plus, it has a nice fresh scent!
Trust me, disinfecting wipes are the secret to avoiding any roomie arguments about cleaning the bathroom. They really are!!! Get a pack of disinfecting wipes in a scent you love (I’m a grapefruit girl and can’t get enough of these) and wipe down your bathroom sink/counter every night before bed. Your bathroom will never get dirty!!!
Getting a good quality duster is so important. You want something that will actually pick up the dust and not just push it around. I use this duster because it’s super lightweight and expandable. It is super easy to do a quick swipe of everything and pick up a ton of dirt.
You need a vacuum to clean your floors! I recommend getting a lightweight vacuum that is easy to maneuver. This one is my favorite because it’s super lightweight and has great suction. Plus, it’s cordless so you can easily take it from room to room. I also love how you don’t have to mount it so it’s super rental-friendly.
Repeat after me, mopping is essential to a clean house!!! Essential!!! Getting a good mop is the best way to actually clean your floors. I used to be a Swiffer devotee, but I swear I could mop 15 times and nothing would ever actually be clean. Don’t get me wrong, a Swiffer is great for a quick clean, but for sticky messes or caked on dirt you need to break out the big guns.
A broom is a must-have for any college apartment! I use it for everything from sweeping up dirt to cleaning my ceiling fan. It’s also great for getting dust out of hard-to-reach places. I love this broom because it’s super lightweight and has great bristles.
You need sponges for everything!!! I use them for washing dishes, cleaning counters, and even scrubbing my tub. I like to get a variety pack so I always have a few on hand. These sponges are my favorite because they are super durable and last forever. I keep a backstock of these and replace them every month.
Microfiber cloths are my favorite way to clean because they actually pick up dirt and dust! I use them for everything from cleaning my floors to dusting my furniture. I like to get a big pack so I always have a few on hand. These microfiber cloths are my favorite because they are super absorbent and don’t leave any lint behind.
Cool Things for College Apartments
Now that we’ve gone through all our absolute must-have college apartment essentials, it’s time to talk about some of the cool things you can get for your college apartment! These are the things that you might be able to do without but that will make your apartment sooo fun!
A Bluetooth Speaker
A Bluetooth speaker is a must-have for any college apartment! They are great for listening to music, watching TV, and even taking phone calls. I love this Bluetooth speaker because it’s super lightweight and has great sound quality. Plus, it’s rechargeable so you don’t have to worry about batteries.
Colored lightbulbs are a great way to add some personality to your college apartment. I love these because they are super cheap and easy to change out. Plus, they make your apartment feel so much more fun. They’re great for parties or even just jazzing up a marathon study session.
Cute Colored Glass Wine Glasses
Colored wine glasses are everywhere! They are SO fun and perfect for spicing up your wine nights. I love these because they are super cheap and come in so many different colors.
A Fun Bar Cart
You don’t officially have a college apartment until you have a bar cart. They are great for storing liquor, glasses, and mixers that you don’t want taking up valuable storage space in your kitchen. Plus, they make your apartment look so fun!
A cute set of matching barware is the perfect complement to your fun bar cart! I love this set because it’s super cheap and comes with everything you need. You’ll be ready to sling drinks at a moment’s notice!
A Coffee Bar Setup
Okay, a cute coffee bar is kind of a necessity, right?! You’re going to be drinking a lot of coffee if you’re going to survive college, so you might as well make it cute!!!
Random Things Most People Forget
Dish Drying Rack
If you’re like me and hate doing dishes, then you need a dish drying rack! I use mine all the time and it has saved me so much time. It’s also great for small apartments because it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
You can never have too much Tupperware! I use mine for everything from storing food to taking leftovers to-go. I like to get a variety of sizes so I always have the perfect size on hand.
I bought this set a few years ago because I was always throwing away cheaper sets and WHOOOAAA my life has changed forever. These are airtight and stay totally clear no matter how many times I put them through the dishwasher.
A corkscrew is another essential kitchen tool that most people forget about. I use mine all the time to open bottles of wine. You can never have too many of these!
A can opener is an essential kitchen tool that most people forget about. This will save you a ton of money since easy-open-cans tend to be much more expensive. I kept having to replace mine every few months until I decided to ball out on a cute white one. I’ve had it for the past two years and no complaints!!
The smaller the kitchen, the more intense your organization needs to be, trust me!
A drawer organizer is a great way to ensure your space stays super clean and organized. You can only get away with tossing silverware in a drawer for like 5 minutes before it becomes an emergency situation, lol.
This blog post was all about college apartment essentials!