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Furnishing your first apartment can be a long, stressful process. As a homemaking novice, you’ll likely remember the big things like a couch and mattress, but might forget about the more obscure items like a bath mat – at least until your first slip on your puddle-laden bathroom floor. Making the perfect checklist of apartment essentials is only half the battle – then you have to scour different sites to decide which shaggy throw you actually want to buy.
Luckily, there are some places you can rely on to make this process a little bit easier – places where you can shop for your bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom all within the same URL, where you won’t blow your budget on luxury housewares (well actually, we can’t promise that), where you can put a luxury mattress and a lifetime supply of Clorox wipes all in the same shopping cart. These stores don’t take all of the stress out of apartment shopping, but they sure do make it easier. As someone who’s in the process of making her first apartment feel like home, that place for me is Target.
Read on to see our picks of 26 things you should get for your first apartment or home at Target:
A basic dinnerware set
This set has a minimalist style that fits any apartment aesthetic and looks a lot nicer than the $US20 price tag would suggest. It’s everything you need for your first apartment – and it will save you the inevitable freak out that would occur after your roommate chipped your first set of Williams Sonoma bowls.
A frame to help you personalise your space
Frames filled with pictures of family, friends, and important life memories will make your space really feel like home. It’s what’s on the inside of the frame that counts, but having a nice way to display your photos adds to the appeal.
A bathroom rug
This bath rug is a practical buy that also has the power to spruce up a plain bathroom. Pick a fun colour or pattern, but whatever you pick be sure to get one that’s machine washable. After living on the bathroom floor, these things need to be cleaned frequently.
A set of dish towels
Whether it’s drying your dishes, cleaning up kitchen messes, or holding hot pots and bowls when you can’t find an oven mitt, dish towels are definitely an apartment necessity. These dark ones are a good option if you’d rather not see how dirty they have become.
Like the name suggests, catch-all trays can be used to hold just about anything. I have one for jewellery on my nightstand, one for paper clips and push pins on my desk, and one right next to the door for keys – along with a lot of other ones scattered throughout my space. They’re super practical for keeping your knick-knacks somewhat organised, and they serve as nice decorative pieces, too.
A mini skillet made for eggs
You want an egg or two for breakfast, but a full-sized skillet is just too much – you don’t want to deal with cleaning it and it can be hard to get the perfect fried egg with all that surface area. Other than the fact that it’s adorably small, this mini egg pan is just the right size for an egg or two. You can use it to cook plenty of other foods too, as long as it’s a small portion. Even if you have the tiniest kitchen, there’s room for this pan.
An electric kettle
Using an electric kettle gets your water boiling faster than if you just use the stove, plus you don’t have to deal with an open flame. This is an affordable option that will help you sustain your tea habit.
A set of mixing bowls
Any mixing bowls will do, but these ones will do it better. They lock into each other for easy storage and the set even has an egg separator that can be clipped on to any bowl to help make your egg-centric recipes easier.
A decorative lamp
Add some light to your space with a stylish decorative lamp. You could buy a fancy one, but this is a great-looking option at a price you won’t regret if your design style changes in a few years.
A laundry hamper
We can’t help you with the eyesore that is an overflowing pile of laundry, but we can suggest you pick a nice-looking laundry basket to at least kind of conceal the mess.
Decorative storage bins
Whether you’re moving to your first apartment or your tenth, everyone always needs more storage. These fabric bins are sturdy enough to store a substantial amount, and can easily be stacked in your closet or under your bed.
A single-serve blender
I have both a Vitamix and a Magic Bullet, and I have to give it to this under-$US40 blender. I’ve made smoothies, dips and sauces with it, and it’s super easy to clean in a pinch. It also comes with resealable lids so you can take your smoothies to go or store your dips in the fridge. At just $US40 it really is a steal and very practical for smaller kitchens, too.
A long mirror
If you’re going for a more bohemian vibe, this floor mirror deserves a place in your space. All you have to do is lean it against the wall for a funky and practical piece of decor. The intricate dotted details will leave guests impressed and questioning if it’s really from Target.
Silicone oven mitts
Oven mitts are one of those things you absolutely need to have, but absolutely never think to buy (until you need to pull something out of a hot oven). These OXO mitts are strong enough to withstand extreme heat, and can easily be cleaned with soap and water.
An accent table
Simple, stylish, and functional – this tall and narrow accent table is great for smaller spaces. The metal finish makes it a relatively neutral pick for any type of decor.
A best-selling mattress
Yes, this is the same Casper you’ve heard praises of for disrupting the mattress industry. And yes – you can buy it at Target.
A decor-neutral rug
A rug can tie a room together, but it can so be hard to find one you like. This one isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s intriguing design and neutral colour scheme are enough to keep it for future apartments to come.
A shoe rack
Adding a small shoe shelf in your closet is a convenient way to keep your favourite pairs at arms reach, especially if you’re low on space. You can also use this as a regular shelf on top of a dresser to hold the bigger odds and ends around your home.
A shower curtain
Like rugs and dishtowels, a shower curtain is something you need, but won’t keep forever – so you don’t need to worry too much into which one you pick. Target has a great range of colours and patterns, so you can find one that matches your bathroom. There are a lot of affordable options so you can find one that fits your budget, too.
A silverware set
You could splurge on fancy flatware, but these forks, knives, and spoons help you eat your food just fine – is there really anything more to ask for?
An ottoman with added storage
In a small apartment, every bit of space matters – that’s why this ottoman is such a great buy. Sit on it or kick your feet up, and don’t forget to take advantage of the extra storage inside. You can fit some spare blankets or pillows, plus the lid can be flipped over to use as a tray.
There are plenty of cleaning supplies you should have, but if you’re going to get anything, a Swiffer should be your first purchase. It’s an easy way to mop and sweep all with one gadget.
A dish drying rack
This wasn’t top of mind when I moved in to my first apartment, but became very necessary very quickly. Whether you have a dishwasher or not, some things need to be air dried. This rack will help contain the counter clutter of just-cleaned dishes.
Decorative throw pillows
Throw pillows are a small accessory that can totally change the look of your couch or bed. You could splurge on nicer ones, but I’d suggest you go for some of the cheaper options. That way you won’t feel guilty when your style changes and you want to rotate them out for new ones.
Wall hooks with added storage
You could hang plain hooks right on the wall, but this added storage is very helpful if you live in a small space. It makes a convenient spot to leave your keys, hats, gloves, or any other small accessories you’re always grabbing for right before you leave the house.
A few trash cans
They’re not the most exciting thing you’re going to purchase for your new apartment, but you definitely need them. Chances are, you probably need a few of these throughout your new space, which is why I’d suggest picking a cheaper option. If you want something a little nicer to look at, Target has those too.