17 things everyone in their 20s should have in their apartment, according to interior designers

World Market/Target/WalmartInsider talked to two interior designers to find out what every 20-something should have in their apartment.
  • Furnishing your first adult home can be a challenging and expensive experience.
  • Insider talked to interior designers Jade Joyner and Ashley Moore to get their expert advice on what every 20-something needs in their apartment.
  • Investing in durable furniture is just as important as making sure you have staples like a coffee maker and a tool kit.
  • These are the 17 things everyone in their 20s should have in their apartment.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Your 20s are filled with firsts: your first real job, your first legal drink, and your first adult apartment. It’s different than decorating a dorm, and deciding what you actually need can feel overwhelming – especially if you’re on a budget.

So Insider spoke to two interior designers, Jade Joyner, the founder and principal designer of Metal + Petal, and Ashley Moore, the founder and principal designer of Moore House Interiors, about what they believe every 20-something needs in their apartment.

Joyner and Moore revealed it’s just as important to stock up on essentials – like a coffee maker, tool kit, and plunger – as it is to make sure you have nice furniture that will last for years.

These are the 17 things everyone in their 20s should have in their apartment.


Throw pillows will make your space look put together, and you can update them if they start to feel stale.

World MarketThis blush patterned pillow from World Market is the perfect pop of colour.

When searching for the perfect throw pillow, it’s a good opportunity to incorporate patterns and bright colours. “Taking away heavy, dark pillows and replacing them with light and vibrant patterned pillows can instantly bring a fresh feel to a space,” explained Moore.

This pillow from World Market has a funky pattern, and the colour palette is inviting without being too attention-grabbing.

Cost:
$US26.24


Taping up posters to your wall might have been fine in college, but framed art will make a space seem more adult.

WZartThese abstract prints already come framed, so all you’ll have to do is hang them.

One of the biggest hurdles with adding frames to your space is finding the right size to match the art piece. But these abstract prints made by WZart are framed for you, so all you’ll have to do is hang them.

Cost:$US40.80 to $US255 for a two-pack


Picking a mattress that helps you sleep is a must as you get older.

NectarA Nectar mattress arrives at your home in a box, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing it into your space.

“Sleep is so important, and getting a good night’s rest leads to more productive days,” said Joyner, who also advised to look at the expensive purchase as an investment.

If you don’t want to deal with dragging a mattress home yourself, a “bed in a box” company might be the move for you. DreamCloud, Lala, Casper, and the highly-rated Nectar are all good choices.

Cost: $US599 for a full mattress from Nectar


A bed frame can make your room look more put together.

IKEAThe BRIMNES bed frame comes with built in storage.

While a supportive mattress is a good start, putting it on the floor could make your apartment look like a temporary spot – rather than a space you’re working hard to make feel like home.

This frame from IKEA will help you step up your design, and it provides built-in storage with drawers and shelves.

Cost:
$US399


It’s also important to get bedding that makes you feel relaxed.

AnthropologieThis patterned duvet cover from Anthropologie feels fresh without going over the top.

“Your 20s can be a difficult time, so invest in good bedding that makes your bedroom a welcoming and relaxing space at the end of the day,” said Moore. “Our lives are so busy with work, school, social life, and all the responsibilities that come with being in your 20s. Your bedroom is your sanctuary, and you want it to be homey.”

This embellished duvet cover from Anthropologie is a good choice, as it has a fun pattern and a neutral colour palette that can help you relax.

Cost:
$US248.00 to $US298.00


Removable wallpaper is a great compromise between a blank wall and painting your space.

TargetThe pattern on this removable wallpaper is subtle but interesting.

Most people in their 20s rent their apartment, which means painting a wall might not be an option. Investing in some removable wallpaper can make a space feel like your own, without upsetting your landlord.

This constellation pattern from Target would work in a bedroom, bathroom, or even on a ceiling.

Cost:
$US31.49


Having a special place to store your books can give your decor legitimacy.

Urban OutfittersThe open design of this bookshelf gives you flexibility as you decorate.

My mum always said “books are friends,” and friends deserve a place of honour. This shelf from Urban Outfitters isn’t bulky, so you won’t have to worry about running out of space if you move to a smaller apartment in the future.

And it’s pretty without making too much of a statement, following Joyner’s rules about prioritising basics.

“Start with the basics and build up,” Joyner added. “Having solid neutral pieces as a base allows you to bring in your personality through colourful and fun accent pieces.”

Cost:
$US199


A coffee table should be on your list because it’s so versatile.

TargetThis coffee table is the kind of piece that will go with everything.

“Whether you’re entertaining friends or eating dinner on the couch, a coffee table will come in handy,” Moore said. “You can use it for playing games, setting out a yummy spread for a TV marathon, or just to get organised for the week.”

But Moore also advises against buying an expensive coffee table, since you’ll likely spill food on it or forget to use a coaster. This Target option is cute without a hefty price tag, and has a classic design that can evolve with your tastes.

“When you’re in your 20s, you’re still finding your style, so don’t buy things just because they’re on trend,” Moore added.

Cost:
$US84.99


It’s a basic necessity, but you’ll want to double check you have a plunger.

TargetClorox’s plunger and brush set allows you to clean with ease.

You’d hate to find yourself in an emergency situation without supplies. This Clorox bathroom set from Target is inexpensive and can get the job done.

Cost:
$US15


Curtains will make a room feel more complete, and they can help you sleep.

Urban OutfittersThis window curtain is available in eight colours.

A colourful curtain can brighten your space, but keep it dark when you need more shut-eye. The velvet material makes these curtains from Urban Outfitters feel mature.

Cost:
$US59 to $US69


It’s better to invest in a couch early in your 20s so you won’t have to replace it every few years.

Urban OutfittersPurchasing this sleeper sofa will get you a couch and an instant guest room.

When it comes to seating, it’s better to spend a lot up front. “Splurge on a quality couch that you will want to have forever,” Joyner told Insider.

This Urban Outfitters sofa converts into a bed, so it’s two pieces of furniture in one.

Cost:
$US399


Hand towels are a basic bathroom staple many people don’t think to buy.

AmazonIt’s better to get a multi-pack of hand towels, so you don’t have to wash them every week.

Your 20s is a time to move past using your shower towel for everything. This eight-pack of hand towels from Amazon comes in eight colours.

Cost:$US20 for a pack of eight


Drinking wine out of a mug can be fun, but you deserve real glasses now.

West ElmSizes vary depending on whether you’re using the glass for red or white wine.

Stemless glasses are a stepping stone into adult glassware. This barware from West Elm is dishwasher safe, so you can feel fancy without a fuss.

Cost:$US19 for a set of six


It’s not a glamorous purchase, but you’ll need a tool kit to hang your framed posters.

AmazonThe Cartman tool kit is a bestseller on Amazon.

There are countless scenarios in which you might need a tool kit in adulthood, and it’s best to buy your own so you don’t have to borrow from friends.

This Cartman kit provides the basics you’ll need for cheap.

Cost:
$US16.99


The days of your parents vacuuming for you are long gone, so you’ll need the right tool by your side.

AmazonThis Eureka model offers three vacuums in one.

“If you’re in your 20s and don’t own a decent vacuum, please save your money and invest in one. It’s a lifelong necessity!” Moore told Insider.

This vacuum from Eureka, a best seller on Amazon, is both affordable and effective.

Cost:
$US29.99


Having a coffee maker at home will help you save money on those caffeine pit stops.

WalmartThe Mr. Coffee can make 12 cups of coffee at a time, so you won’t have to make a new pot every hour.

“My coffee machine was the one item I could not live without in my twenties and, honestly, still can’t live without today,” Joyner said. “Days get busy and coffee is the only thing that keeps me going, so a coffee machine is a huge life and money saver.”

Spending less than $US20 on this coffee maker from Mr. Coffee could save you from hundreds of trips to caf├ęs throughout the years.

Cost:
$US18.99


Incorporating multiple seating options into your apartment will make guests feel more welcome.

PB TeenThis velvet pouf is available in grey and pink.

“It’s always good to have different seating options for friends or family when they come to visit, especially if you have a small space,” Moore said. “In addition to a couch, have some floor poufs or foot stools that can serve as decor and seating.”

This neutral pouf from PB Teen can double as an ottoman.

Cost:
$US99

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