The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
The best part of moving in to your first apartment or home is getting to create a space that’s all yours. Finding the perfect decor and picking out furniture is the exciting part, but after that comes all the expenses no recent grad or young professional wants to bare. A laundry hamper, pots and pans, bedding – these are just some of the distinctly un-fun, adult purchases they will reluctantly need to make.
Though you might be tempted to buy them some new decor for the walls, we recommend getting them some combination of the necessities they wish they didn’t have to spend their own money on, and the little luxuries that can make life infinitely better. Read on to see our picks for what they will really want this holiday season.
Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days’ time, so don’t stress too hard about your last-minute shopping – just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks’ holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
A gift card to buy the best set of sheets they’ve ever slept on
Our senior editor calls Brooklinen’s sheets one of the best purchases she’s ever made, and many of us at Insider Picks feel the same way. They will be able to choose from quite a few weaves/materials as well as a huge selection of fun prints and colours. A basic full set costs around $US130, for reference.
A personalised trinket tray for all their odds and ends
Catch-all trays are the kind of gift that may seem underwhelming until they realise how useful they are. That was certainly the case when I was gifted one after college. Now I have a few of them around my apartment – one for keys and sunglasses by the door, one for my rings and jewellery by the bed, and another in the living room for lip balm, candle matches, and other small items.
A robot vacuum that makes quick work of chores
Vacuuming is one of the great time-sucks in life – literally. Give them back their Sunday afternoons with the gift of a robot vacuum that will take the work out of cleaning the house. On a personal note, I can’t recommend this one enough. You can read a more thorough review of it here.
Stemless wine glasses that won’t spill or break as easily
When my partner and I moved in together years ago, her mum bought us a nice set of tall, thin-stemmed wine glasses – likely because I had once served her Cabernet in a mason jar. Though I like using those to entertain occasionally, I prefer these stemless glasses that are much more casual and much less breakable (…kind of like a mason jar).
A single-serve blender for smoothies and small batches
They’re likely not going to need a full-sized blender for any reason other than making large batches of frozen margaritas. Gift them a personal-sized blender for making healthy smoothies at home – and if they want to make a few frosty cocktails, they will just have to put in a little extra work.
A Dutch oven they’ll have for the rest of their life
A Le Creuset Dutch oven is one of those coveted kitchen items that most people don’t get until their weddings, if ever. It’s a special gift I only recommend giving to someone who really loves to cook. If you want to get them something a little less expensive but equally as useful, go for an eight- or nine-inch cast-iron skillet.
A coffee maker for one
A Keurig will have them out the door in a flash with a coffee in-hand – a priceless gift, if you ask me. Pair it with some cheap reusable pods if they’re the eco-conscious type.
A wall hook that works in an entryway or bedroom
If they’re living the big city life in a small city apartment, they will appreciate any extra storage they can get. This wall hook could be hung up by the door to hold coats, keys, and bags, or it could go in the bedroom to store additional items there isn’t room for in the closet.
A neutral bath mat to match any type of decor
Bath mats are one of those necessities that no one likes to spend their own money on. Gift them a basic neutral option that’s got just enough cheekiness without clashing with their decor. If you know what their space looks like and want to get them something more adventurous, check out more bath mat designs here.
A cleverly designed pillow to keep them cool at night
Leesa’s Hybrid Pillow is adjustable and reversible. One side features a cooling layer while the other has a quilted design that keeps the pillow fluffy and the fill even. Between the two sides is a thin slip pillow that they can add or take out for more or less support. You can read our full review here.
A friendly welcome mat
Likewise, a welcome mat is another home basic they’re going to need but aren’t going to want to purchase. This simple one is fun enough without bordering on tacky.
Candles that really make it feel like home
Otherland’s candles have the most beautiful packaging and intriguing scents (think: cardamom milk, or pink peppercorns and saffron). This is one gift you’ll love giving as much as they will love getting, and it will add a sweet touch to their space.
A jumbo pack of removable hooks that won’t damage the wall
You can never have enough Command Hooks – especially if you’re a renter who can’t nail anything into the wall. This multi-pack makes a great stocking stuffer.
A place to put their booze
Whether they have a proper bar cart or not, one simple way to add sophistication to a space is to store liquor and/or barware on a pretty tray. This neutral option is great for anyone who entertains a lot – they can use it as a serving platter or to hold their at-home mini bar.
A utensil holder for easy access to cooking tools
Unless they absolutely love to cook, a utensil crock probably won’t be the first thing on their mind when they move into a new space, so this is a smart and useful kitchen gift they will appreciate.
An exceptionally cool cocktail shaker for the person who loves to travel
Sure, you could find cheaper or simple bar tool kits or cocktail shakers out there, but this one is just too cool to pass up. If you know someone who loves travel, or just loves to play around with fun gadgets, you won’t regret giving them this cocktail shaker. The propellers aren’t quite functional, but they do spin when you shake the canister!
If this one isn’t quite their style, check out some of the other ones we love here at a variety of price points.
A cosy throw to snuggle up with
This is the blanket we fight over getting to use in my house – it’s cosy, warm, breathable, and supremely soft. You’ll find it in a few different colours at Crane & Canopy.
A curated set of pots and pans that won’t fall apart
Help them get their kitchen fully stocked with the right tools. Potluck makes cookware comparable to brands like All-Clad and Calphalon, but at direct-to-consumer prices that won’t break the bank. Shop from a selection of well-curated bundles that fit all of their cooking needs. You can read a more in-depth review here.
A really nice speaker
The experience of listening to music on the Google Home Max is absolutely unparalleled, which makes the high price tag easier to justify (assuming you can bare to part with it). If you’ve got a substantial budget, this is the way to go for anyone who loves listening to music at home.
An over-the-door hook that can function in the bathroom or closet for extra storage
An over-the-door hook is the ultimate closet or bathroom storage hack. They can use this one to hang everything from towels and robes to purses and jewellery.
A new down duvet that works for every season
Casper makes two equally excellent comforters, but this one is the more basic option. Its stitched compartments keep the ethically sourced down from spreading through the blanket, and the organic cotton shell is gentle and cooling.
A set of hand towels for the bathroom
Hand towels are a necessity made all the more fun when embroidered or monogrammed. Crane & Canopy offers a variety of colours and styles for a personalised touch.
A beautiful set of coasters they’ll actually want to use
Hopefully it’s a lesson they won’t ever have to learn the hard way: always use a coaster. If you get them this beautiful set, they will actually want to.
A laundry basket that blends with any decor
A laundry basket is another much-appreciated gift they will be thankful for not having to buy themselves. The lining of this one is removable, and if they already have a laundry basket, they can use it to store extra sets of sheets and towels.
A really good chef’s knife
It’s not the only knife they will ever need, but it’s the best place to start. Get them one really good chef’s knife to start their collection, and if you really want them take care of it, get them a sharpener as well. This one is good for beginners.
A streaming stick that turns their plain TV into a smart TV
If they’re looking to cut the cost of cable out of their lives, a streaming stick is the way to go. It turns a regular TV into a smart TV by making all their favourite media apps like Netflix and Hulu available through a voice-controlled remote.
A beautiful set of dinnerware
Most people’s first apartments (and the next few after that, if we’re being honest) feature cabinets full of mismatched plates, glasses, and mugs they have collected over their time in college. Get them a new set of dishes, glasses, or flatware from Year & Day, one of our favourite new startups out there. If you’re not ready to commit, you can read a full review of their dinnerware here.
A salt lamp to give their space a warm glow
I swear by my salt lamp for creating a relaxing vibe at home. This one was gifted to me two years ago and I still use it every day.
A signature scent for their new home
Room spray is a fun twist on the classic gift of scented candles – and you can’t go wrong with anything from Diptyque. During the winter, there’s nothing more gorgeous than the iconic warm and woodsy Sapin de Lumière scent, which you’ll find concentrated in this beautiful mist.
A shower caddy that will follow them through multiple apartments to come
This shower caddy is one of the most useful things in my apartment. It uses an adjustable tension rod to hold itself into place and it can fit everything from a weirdly shaped bathtub ledge to a full floor-to-ceiling walk-in shower. It’s a little pricey, but Simplehuman is known for making quality home products that rarely if ever need to be replaced. I’ve had mine for over three years and it hasn’t rusted at all (you can read my full review of it here).
A smart device that can answer almost any question and play music
You can’t go wrong when it comes to gifting the Echo Dot. It’s a small speaker with major power, and Alexa can answer all their questions bout the weather, traffic, and more. They will also be able to play music, games, and control other smart devices around the home.
Note: May arrive after Christmas
A cost-effective investment in their seltzer habit
SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker, available on Amazon, $US109.99 (with refills), or SodaStream, $US79.99(without)
If La Croix sparkling water is their main source of hydration, they will love having a SodaStream around to make seltzer on demand. They can flavour it with drops meant to taste just like the real thing or create their own infusions – either way, they will save a lot of money over time.
Note: The more expensive of the two options comes with two soda bottles and two CO2 cylinders, while the less expensive one only comes with one bottle and one CO2 filter.
Note: May arrive after Christmas
A storage ottoman to save them space
Every extra ounce of storage space matters in a small apartment, which is why this storage ottoman makes a perfect (and decor-neutral) gift. The lid lifts to reveal enough space for throw blankets and a pair of slippers.
Note: May arrive after Christmas
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.