24 Essentials for Your College Apartment

(This is adapted from its original post in 2014.)

In college, I couldn’t wait to have my own kitchen and my own apartment. It allows you to experience life on your own. You have the option to cook for yourself, decorate a larger space, host more guests and take on more responsibility. I lived in an apartment for two years in college, and it was a great experience overall. From decorating your space and finding new ways to make life easier, there are many ways to make the best of apartment life. If you are moving into an apartment, I hope to help you with making decisions about your space too!

Essentials for Your College Apartment

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Kitchen Essentials for College Apartments

 Essentials for Your College Apartment

Pampered Chef Micro-Cooker

This Micro-Cooker does WONDERS for dorm room food creations. It microwaves soups, vegetables, pasta, rice, leftovers or anything you can imagine. In your apartment, it is so easy to microwave anything in here for quick, on-the-go meals.

Essentials for Your College Apartment

Dinnerware Set – Plates & Bowls

We are not going to do the dishes all the time, so making sure you have extra plates and bowls is a must. Plus, in your apartment, you can plan dinner parties and host friends, so you need plates for them too. I found these high-rated, sleek and inexpensive dish set that would go well in any apartment.

Also, I’m a huge fan of these vintage style mason jars for serving drinks for guests and friends.

Kitchen Utensils

Don’t spend too much on basic kitchen utensils. With common kitchen areas in apartments, people share items amongst each other. There are many kitchen sets out there that include a variety of utensils together, so you don’t forget anything necessary!

Brita Water Filter

While this is personal preference, I love my Brita water pitcher for filling up my water bottle/tumblr everyday and making sure I’m drinking enough water.

Take-Out Menus

For those nights you don’t feel like cooking or adulting. Keep a stash of them.

Bags to Carry Groceries 

Use some recyclable bags to carry groceries up the stairs of your apartment or across the parking lot. They are so much easier to use than the plastic kind, plus they are more environmentally friendly. I can hold more groceries in them, and I always regret it if I don’t bring them to the stores with me. Pick up a couple of them, and they’ll be great for a lot of things.


For making smoothies, different sauces, soups, salsa, etc., you’ll need a good blender! I have heard great things about the Nutribullet Blender, especially since it is a great size for living in a college apartment. For smoothies, I recommend the Smoothie Smart Blender. I used it in college, and it was great for smoothies and soups. Plus, it is really budget-friendly. If you want a higher-end blender that could make a variety of things like banana ice cream, soups and more, I also recommend a Vitamix blender. After using one for awhile, it gives you amazing smoothies and drinks every time.

Handy Baking Supplies

We kept a community baking cabinet in our apartment, which means that any one of my roommates could use the flour, sugar, vanilla, sprinkles, salt, etc. to bake cookies, cupcakes, etc. for events around campus.

Tumbler Cup or Reusable Water Bottle

These are perfect for on-the-go around campus and my go-to to saving plastic from using water bottles.

Essentials for Your College Apartment

College Room Essentials 

Floor Lamps or Extra Lighting

Check to make sure there is enough light in your room the first week you arrive. I had to buy a floor lamp (similar to this floor lamp) to bring in some extra light for my room, and it was such a good decision. It allowed me to focus more on my work and create a brighter environment that made me stay awake at nights if I had to do homework.

Command Hooks

Command hooks are so necessary in college, especially if you are living on campus and want to decorate your room to match your style!

Quality Desk Chair

The chairs my school provide are not great for sitting for long periods doing homework. This is something I was ALWAYS grateful for having while in college. Not only does it keep you relaxed when you do lots of work, these are better for your back and comfort instead of squirming in a hard, stiff wooden chair from your university.

A Comfy Chair or Two

With a bigger space comes more room to add some chairs and other furniture. I had a black butterfly chair (similar) in one corner of my room in my apartment. It was always great to switch it up now and again. Extra chairs are always nice when you have friends over.

Essentials for Your College Apartment

A Quality Shoe Rack

Instead of buying a cheap shoe rack, make sure to invest in a durable one. This shoe rack one caught my eye – first of all, because it was named “Seville,” after my favorite city. Strong metal ones help keep our shoes in place and won’t tip over the rack. Especially for students at schools with multiple seasons, this will be helpful to you.

Room Decor for College Apartments

Pictures of Friends

Update your picture frames  with more current pictures of you and your friends to remember your first years of college together, especially if you are an upperclassman now living in your own apartment.

Essentials for Your College Apartment

Gallery Wall Frames & Art

I am a huge fan of gallery walls, and I decided to make one in my college apartment since I had a lot of wall space. I used all of my travel photos and some artwork I bought abroad to create a travel gallery wall. I also like the sleek design of using a white theme and these frames caught my eye for a great gallery in your college apartment.

Fake Flowers or Fresh Plants

This is a personal preference, but plants bring such life to a space. We started adding some plants to our windowsill in our living room and I liked the added freshness it brought to the room.

Dry Erase Boards for Roommate Messages

his has been such a good idea for communicating roommate messages and notes of inspiration! We kept ours right by the door so we see any notes we leave before or after class.

College Life Essentials

Sleeping Bag 

A sleeping bag comes in handy for sleepovers, camping trips, retreats and so many more things in college. If you have friends spend the night in your apartment, or if you just want to stay warm at night, a sleeping bag should be on your packing list. I never thought to bring one to college, but after the first year, I knew I needed one for sure.

Essentials for Your College Apartment


While you don’t necessarily need this for your apartment, you’ll be glad you brought a hammock to college in general. Trust me on this one. Hammocks can be great and budget-friendly for a day chilling on your beautiful campus.

College Apartment Cleaning Essentials

Apartment Cleaning Schedule

Our apartment created a cleaning schedule, which listed who had each chore for the week. We included chores like emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, vacuuming, dusting and cleaning the kitchen floors and counters. This way, we all know who is responsible for each item every week and it keeps it more orderly and clean.

A Clothes Drying Rack

I was thankful for my drying rack in college because I didn’t have anyplace to hang wet clothes. This does save you some hassle and keeps your room organized.

Floor Cleaning Supplies

Our college apartments got dirty, and that wasn’t fun for someone who likes things nice and clean. We used a Swiffer mop and Swiffer Sweeper Wet Mopping Pads that were easy to use.

Extra Clorox Wipes

We go through Clorox wipes so quickly and easily! I like to use them for cleaning nearly everything–you never know when you will need some.

Essentials for Your College Apartment

Make sure you are ready for your college apartment by planning out what to bring and what to split with your apartment friends. It helps to have a plan and think about all the little things that would make your college place feel like home. Your living environment is one of the most important things about college, so definitely invest in a space that you can make your own.