Moving into a new apartment is an exhilarating time. A common impulse is to fill the empty space immediately. Don’t. Your instinct may be to get that cute loveseat and wingback armchair but, after living in the space for a couple of weeks and hosting a Netflix binge, you realize an L-shaped sectional and large coffee table would have been a more practical choice.

So, start off nice and slow. Buy the essentials, live in the space for a week, then start buying the furniture that you now know you need. Consider all the options as you are doing your shopping to make sure you are getting the most functionality out of your pieces as possible.

Furniture to Buy Immediately


  • Bed: As exciting as it can be, moving is exhausting. At the very least, you want to make sure you are ending your days in a comfortable, inviting bed. Options to consider: built-in storage, height of frame, and mattress size. 
  • Lamp: Nothing seems so dark and scary as a new apartment on your first night. Without a bedside lamp, you are looking at a restless night of back and forth scampering to the nearest wall switch and the potential for stubbed toes. 
  • Dresser: While most items can be hung in the closet, you will still need somewhere to keep your socks, pajamas, and other unmentionables. Living out of a suitcase loses its appeal after about a day and a half. Options to consider: plain or vanity-style and the number of drawers. 

Furniture to Buy in a Week or Two


  • Night Stand: It’s time to stop charging your phone on the floor or kitchen counter. Options to consider: surface area needed for items (phone, glasses, a book, medication, etc.), cabinet/drawer(s). 

Living Room 

  • Sofa/Chairs: By now you should know where you want your TV to live and the ideal size and placement of furniture to allow for best viewing and traffic flow. Options to consider: firmness, pull-out bed, total number of seating, durability and ease of cleanliness of fabric (pet hair, pet clawing, spills, fingerprints, etc.) 
  • End Tables/Coffee Table: Your drink needs to live somewhere. Options to consider: built-in storage, height, surface area needed for items (drinks, books/magazines, board game, etc.). 

Dining Room 

  • Table/Chairs: Depending on your apartment and dining style you may simply need some bar stools to belly up to the counter while you eat your Chinese takeout and can use the extra space for an office or workout area. If, however, you do plan to eat regular homecooked meals with a group of people then take some time to select an appropriate dining room set. Options to consider include: height, total number of seating, collapsible features, cushioned seats. 


  • Desk/Chair: When it comes time to pay your rent and other bills you will likely not want to do so sitting cross-legged on your bed. Options to consider: built-in drawers/filing cabinet, hutch-style, height, L-shape, facing wall/room.

Find out how much your move costs!