College Apartment Essentials Checklist

Moving out of a dorm and into your first college apartment is a big step– say goodbye to sharing a tiny room! Instead, you’ll share a somewhat larger space with your friends and have more freedom about what goes in the apartment and what you’re allowed to do there.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist

However, with great freedom comes great decorating responsibility, and that’s often a financial burden. Unlike living in a dorm, you have to fully outfit your place. And even if the unit has some furniture (mine had a desk, bed, and sofas), you still have a lot of work to do before it feels like home.

Before you get lost in the euphoria that is shopping at home stores, however, make a list of everything you need. As a matter of fact, why don’t you use our college apartment essentials checklist:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Infogrpahic


Your bedroom will be your haven in your college apartment. Other spaces are shared between you and your roomies, and the bedroom is where you can close the door, unwind and focus on your studies. So, it’s a pretty important space. Here’s what you’ll need:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Bedroom

Bed Frame and MattressSome college apartments provide the bed for you, but double check before you make any assumptions. If you do have to bring you own, measure your bedroom. You don’t want to pack up your queen-size bed just to realize it takes up the entire room.

Full-size beds are great for college apartments – they’ll fit in most rooms and they’re still big enough to let you spread out.

Mattress PadCollege apartments don’t have TempurPedic mattresses. They may be downright uncomfortable. Save yourself a backache and get a mattress pad.

BeddingNo matter how furnished your apartment is, you’ll need to bring your own bedding. See how large the bed is and purchase based on that. Also, the bedding you choose will determine the color scheme in your room, so pick wisely.

Neutral bedding allows you more freedom in picking colors later on, and you can always change things like pillow covers and art to alter your color scheme. Also, consider getting two sets. That way, when you wash one set, you can put another on your bed.

Desk and ChairAgain, many college apartments provide a desk, but if yours doesn’t, get one! This is where you’ll write your papers, study for finals and lounge around on Facebook. Make sure your chair is comfortable – you’ll use it a lot.

LampMake sure your desk is well-lit so you don’t strain your eyes trying to read “Crime and Punishment” for your classical literature class – don’t make it any harder on yourself.

Organizational Tools

While your bedroom in a college apartment will be larger than your dorm, it’s certainly not a mansion. Keeping your things organized will prevent clutter and give you plenty of room to live. These tools will help maintain order in your space:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Organizational Tools

  • Shoe rack
  • Under-bed storage bins
  • Laundry basket
  • Bins for storing in your closet
  • Organizers for your desk

Additional Items

While these may not be essential, they’ll are great to have:

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Additional Items

  • Nightstand
  • Alarm clock
  • Fan
  • Area rug
  • Blackout curtains (you’ll want to sleep in after a night out)
  • Art


Now onto shared spaces: You may only have one bathroom split between multiple roommates in your college apartment, so plan accordingly. Essentials include anything that helps you manage clutter and keep your roommate’s stuff out of your area.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Bathroom

Shower CaddyThese lovely inventions use a pole filled with springs to stand upright in a shower or tub. Attached to the pole are a series of baskets. Make sure the caddy you use has an equal number of baskets to the amount of people living in your apartment – four people, four baskets. That way, each person can store shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and so on in their designated basket.

Extra Towel BarsIf your apartment doesn’t have enough bars for towels, install more. Or, get over-the-door hooks so everyone has a place to hang their towels.

TowelsAs with bedding, consider buying two towel sets that match so you always have a clean set available. Plus, using matching towels clearly displays which belong to you.

Shower CurtainYou don’t want to drip water on the floor. Enough said.

Plunger and Toilet BrushKeep that toilet clean and running. You don’t want to be stuck in the bathroom without a plunger, trust me.

ToiletriesDon’t forget to bring the basics.

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Hair products
  • Soap (both body and hand)
  • Rugs
  • Toilet paper (seriously, don’t forget this!)


Decide amongst yourselves who will bring what items for the kitchen. Remember that whatever you don’t buy now, you will need down the road.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Kitchen

Dining SetGet a dining table that fits in the space and that’s large enough for all of the roommates to use at once – roomie dinners are tons of fun! Also, don’t forget chairs.

Plates, Cups, Mugs, and BowlsPurchase a set that includes a variety of sizes and make sure you have enough for everyone.

Silverware and UtensilsThis includes your basics (forks, knives, and spoons) as well as tools like spatulas, serving spoons, a garlic press, and so on.

Pots and PansYou can actually cook now that you have an apartment, so go crazy! You’ll need pots and pans to bring out your inner Julia Child.

Trash Can: Buying a trash can for your apartment is the easy part: Getting your roomies to throw out the trash is another matter entirely.

Living Room

You and your roommates will call the living room a shared home. It’s where movie nights, viewing of the big game and even parties will occur.

College Apartment Essentials Checklist - Living Room

Sofa and ChairsIf your apartment has this furniture, consider buying slip covers to add your own personality to the space.

Coffee and End TablesPeople need a place to set down their beers, right?

LampsWhether you’re doing homework in the living room or just chilling with friends, lamps can make the space feel cozier.

Throw BlanketsIf someone needs to crash on your sofa, you’ll be ready to accommodate with throw blankets.

TVPreferably with the ability to hook up to your game console or laptop – because, Netflix.

Make sure to talk with your roommates before you buy your essential college apartment furnishings. That way, you don’t all buy the same things for shared spaces and end up with too much. Good luck getting settled and have fun in a space that’s finally yours!

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College Apartment Essentials Checklist

Room Color Ideas For Every Space

Living in an apartment, you might think you’re limited in decorating. Sure, you can’t paint on the walls unless you’re willing to forfeit your security deposit, but that doesn’t mean your place has to be drab and dreary– quite the opposite, actually.

Room Color Ideas For Every Space

By snatching up cute throw pillows, a colorful bedspread, comfy carpets, furniture and art (you know, basically all of your stuff), you can create a beautiful color scheme that’s totally you.

Room Color Ideas For Every Space

But before all that, you have to choose the shades you’ll use to decorate. After all, your apartment should exude your personality and fit the space, and picking the right color scheme can totally help. With that in mind, here are some room color ideas for each space in your place:

Living Room: Neutrals

Your living room is likely the heart of your apartment. Here, you entertain friends and relax after work. You might binge-watch Netflix in the living room or relax when your significant other comes over. No matter what you use it for, this space should cater to every need.

Room Color Ideas For Every Space - Living Room Neutrals

Because the living room is both a private and public space, keeping the color palette neutral will ensure it has a versatile atmosphere. The room color can affect the way you feel when you’re in the area or the energy of the space. Neutral schemes can be both lively and relaxing. Mixing shades like brown and beige or variations of gray and white gives you freedom over what you want in the space.

Use neutrals in your curtains, area rug and furniture– wood goes great with neutral palettes. Then, if you want to add some accents, pick brighter artwork and accessories.

Kitchen/Dining Room

Even if your apartment doesn’t have a formal dining room, you can still add color to your eating space. The place where you take your meals should be bright and warm. In fact, psychologists believe that red (and similar shades) promote a hearty appetite– why do you think McDonald’s colors are red and yellow?

Room Color Ideas For Every Space -Kitchen Dining Room

Additionally, warm colors may stimulate conversation you have while eating with guests or your roomie. Consider a palette for your eating space that includes red and gold, or maroon and beige.

Your kitchen can have a similar color personality, by which I mean fiery and energetic. Oranges, yellows, and warm creams all work.

Table clothes, artwork, dish sets, pots and pans, etc., can all help you create the color scheme you want in your kitchen and dining rooms – no paint necessary!


Considered a private space, your bedroom is your sanctuary. It’s where you rest at night and relax after a long day. Ideally, your bedroom should provide you with serenity, and a few room color ideas can help.

Room Color Ideas For Every Space - Bedroom

Soft shades, like blues, grays, greens, and purples all offer a calming atmosphere. For instance, mix cornflower blue with a light gray to give your space an airy, beach-like feel. Neutral tones like cream also work well in a bedroom.

To implement the colors of your choosing, buy a bedspread, rugs and art that fits the decor. Your furniture can match or provide contrast– either option enhances the space.


Another (very) private space, your bathroom can feel luxurious or fresh. If you want a more serene space, go with pastels and a cool color palette. For instance, pale green and natural wood create a spa-like feel. If you prefer a royal-looking room, use golds and natural stone colors.

Room Color Ideas For Every Space - Bathroom

Your bath linens and accessories (like a toilet brush and toothbrush holder) can help you give the room the look you’re after.Hopefully, these room color ideas and suggestions help you plan your apartment decor.

However, it is your place and you should do what makes you happy. If you want your bedroom to feel energetic, use a warm palette, for instance. Your apartment must cater to your personal tastes, and if color theory and psychology fits, great!

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Room Color Ideas For Every Space

Hidden Gems: America’s Most Affordable Cities (Infographic)

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Big-city living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not only will you find plenty of small-town charm if you live in a less populated town; you’ll also save money. Apartment Guide found America’s most affordable cities — the top 10 cities with the least expensive median rent prices — and we dug up a few cool facts about these hidden gems as well.

1. FlorenceMuscle Shoals, AL

Median rent: $395

Named after the city in Italy, the northwestern Alabama town of Florence not only boasts the cheapest rent in the nation; it’s also the home of the University of North Alabama. Music lovers are in luck; artists from all over the country come to Florence each summer for the W.C. Handy Music Festival. It originally focused on blues and jazz, but now includes rock, gospel, country and more.

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Go Green in Your Apartment Month-by-Month (Infographic)

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Click the image to view the full infographic.

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to go green this year? Making the switch can seem intimidating — until you realize there’s nothing wrong with taking it one step at a time. When it comes to adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle, every little bit helps. We’ve got ideas for just one project per month that you can take on in your apartment that’ll help you live greener (and maybe even save a little money as well.)

We’re in January right now, and your small change for this month shouldn’t take long at all: Just buy an insulating jacket for your water heater so it doesn’t have to work as hard to get the water hot for your morning shower. Old blankets wrapped around the water heater would do the trick as well.

You’re already on your way to a green 2014! As the year goes on, here are more changes you can make:

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Black Friday is for Shopping — Not Clearing Your Garbage Disposal! (Infographic)

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Click the image to view the full infographic!

Don’t send your Thanksgiving down the drain!

Plumbers report that the day after Thanksgiving is their busiest day of the year for housecalls.

Don’t let plumbing woes distract you from your Black Friday shopping this year.

Check out these do’s – and mostly don’ts — for how to treat your apartment plumbing with care after Thanksgiving dinner is cleared away. Stay on friendly terms with your apartment community maintenance team by following these directions!

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Top 10 Metros for Apartment Entertaining This Holiday Season

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Click the image to view the full infographic.

They’re here again!

It seems the holiday season starts just a bit earlier each year.

If you’re feeling a little “bah, humbug!” about the return of the holidays, perhaps we can lift your spirits.

Here at Apartment Guide, we’ve given some thought to the challenges of apartment entertaining.

Take a look at our feng shui tips on how to set up a comfortable party at home in your apartment this season.

We’ve also scoured our apartment listing information to find the overall best cities for apartment entertaining.

According to our data, apartment dwellers in ten certain cities enjoy the most at-home advantages that make holiday entertaining a pleasure. These cities boast the most apartments with balconies, island kitchens, dishwashers, washers and dryers in-unit, microwave ovens and extra storage space. With all these amenities, hosting a holiday party is much easier and a lot more enjoyable!

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Top 10 Metros for Great Apartment Kitchen Amenities (Infographic)

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Click the image to see the full infographic.

For many American families, everything that’s really important in home life takes place in the kitchen.

At Apartment Guide, we know that renters want kitchens they can both enjoy spending time in and also put to work for their cooking efforts.

What are the great apartment kitchen amenities people want and need most?

Stainless steel appliances, dishwashers and microwaves are important, but extra amenities like a kitchen island and granite countertops can make a kitchen more useful and elegant.

We’ve combed our apartment listings to find the metro areas with the most tricked-out kitchens.

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What Cities Have the Most and Least Available Apartments? (Infographic)

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As a renter, you want to be able to find the perfect available apartment for your needs – that means the right price, location, and amenities. But that’s easier to find in some places than others.

According to the National Association of Realtors, in the apartment rental market – aka multifamily housing — vacancy rates are likely to stay about the same in the near future, with new construction rising to meet increased demand for rental spaces. The top cities that are considered “renter’s markets” have the highest vacancy rates, leaving many options open to renters.

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Closet Organization Tips for Fall (Infographic)

Click the image to view the full infographic. Spring cleaning may get good press, but we’ve discovered that fall is another popular time to air out your apartment storage spaces.

According to a recent Apartment Guide survey, 80% of people reorganize or clean out their apartment between summer and fall.

The survey also revealed that 39% of people conduct major apartment cleaning once a month, while 31% perform a big apartment clean seasonally. Organizing and putting away clothes topped the list of challenging tasks for about half the respondents.

To help you with your closet freshening efforts this season, Apartment Guide is teaming up with organization expert Lisa Zaslow.

As you switch out summer clothes for your colder-weather wardrobe, Lisa advises that you may be sitting on a stash of cash in the form of old outfits you no longer wear. Why not make some money as you declutter by selling items which are only taking up precious storage space in your apartment? (Hint: you can even sell clothing online!)

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Get More Apartment for Less Money in These Top Metros (Infographic)

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Click the image to view the full infographic.

At Apartment Guide, we strive to help renters find the perfect apartment to fit their needs.

Find your perfect apartment now!

Besides having all the amenities you prefer, we know you want to locate a place that costs less, too.

As you plan your summer move, we’ve identified the top cities where you can have more — for less!

We looked at our internal data for the cities with apartment listings that have the lowest rental rates for one and two bedroom units, yet also include top amenities and offerings, such as air conditioning, a laundry facility, a dishwasher, a fitness center and a pet-friendly building policy. These metros offer apartments with the perks that make a place feel like home.

Click for the top ten cities where you can get the most bang for your apartment living buck this year.

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