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I live in a tiny 600 square foot New York City apartment, and for the past three years, I've made do with my small quarters. I've added drawers underneath my bed, used benches to store workout equipment, and even put a three-panel divider in my kitchen to hide my exercise bikes.(Yes, I have more than one bike and an elliptical, too.) I've adapted to the renter's life. Though come November, when it comes time to resign my lease, I've decided to celebrate a new chapter. The time has come to wave goodbye to my small space and hello to something bigger— the world of new homeownership.
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I work remotely; my desire for more space outweighed any want to stay in the city, so it seemed like the perfect time to become a new homeowner. Yet finding my dream home hasn't been as seamless as I expected, so I've expanded my focus. In addition to finding my dream home, I've set my sights on furnishing it. From investment furniture to décor that speaks to me, I wanted to make sure I had everything I'll need ahead of time. Smart, right? (It will be once I move in!)
Whether you're like me and preparing to become a first-time homeowner or in the process of moving into one, here are 27 of the best things you need to buy for your new home.
1. A brand new mattress for your new bedroom
Before joining the Reviewed team, I worked in the home sector, testing nearly every mattress and mattress topper. While I can confidently say no two mattress-in-a-box are the same, I can tell you: that some models are far superior to others. Take the Tuft & Needle's Hybrid Mattress; the five layers of foam and springs provided softness and support, perfect for a side-sleeper like me. Plus, the heat regulation made my night sweats vanish instantly. Factor in the 10-year warranty and sizes ranging from twin to California King; you'd be hard-pressed to find a reason why this mattress is not worth every cent. Also, I'm not the only who approves—we named this mattress our best affordable mattress pick.
2. A mattress topper to add extra comfort and support
I'm a major fan of anything by Allswell, so naturally, I gravitated toward the brand's best-selling mattress topper. Created with Coolflow foam, the innovative design provides the necessary airflow to wick away moisture, while the infused copper gel provides antimicrobial properties that keep bacteria at bay. Available in four sizes, including twin, full, queen and king, it's the perfect way to top off any mattress.
3. Chic bedding to match your new mattress
Whether you’re buying a new mattress or not, buying new bedding is the quickest way to give your bedroom a facelift. Brooklinen ranks high on Reviewed and my list; it's the only bedding I opt for year-round. In the warmer months, the Luxe Hardcore Bundle is my go-to. The near-perfectly reviewed set features an included pillowcase, duvet cover and a 480-thread-count, buttery-smooth sheet set, and is nearly impossible to resist.
Transition to the colder seasons by preparing ahead of time with the Heathered Cashmere Core Set. This all-inclusive set features two pillowcases, one flat sheet and one fitted sheet that are as comfortable as your favorite cashmere sweater. Available in a range of sizes and colors, if you're like me, you'll be reaching for this set in more than one color.
4. Pillows to help you sleep in comfort
Pillows are every bit as unique as the person who uses them. Some people prefer fluffy pillows, while others want to rest their heads on flat-like surfaces. We tested bed pillows and found that the Coop Home Goods Pillow was perfect for back, side and stomach sleepers, making it one of the more versatile models on the market.
Personally, I own and swear by the Layla Kapok Pillow. It's not cheap—about $109 for the queen-sized version—but it is truly the most comfortable pillow I’ve ever had the pleasure of sleeping on.
5. Bath mats for all your bathrooms
You could pick up a cheap bath mat on Amazon, but it probably last very long—and honestly, you’ll be kicking yourself when you find wet footprints throughout your bathroom. We tested bath mats and found that the Gorilla Grip Bathroom Mat performed the best. It’s deliciously plush and absorbent, which is everything you could ask for in a bath mat.
6. Sets of towels for all the guests you’ll host
You may not be hosting people anytime soon, but as soon as your friends can visit, you’ll want to offer them a set of nice guest towels they can enjoy during their stay. They’re not guest towels unless they’re the best, which means it’s time to splurge on some fancy (and effective!) towels. Our favorite bath towels are from Parachute, and the set we recommend comes with two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths. It also comes in six colors, so you can pick the set that best matches your bathroom.
7. A sparkly new shower head (believe me, you need this)
I feel so passionately about buying new showerheads wherever you go. They’re cheap—you can get a quality shower head for about $25—and they’re yours, so you can kiss the previous owners’ gunk goodbye.
We tested showerheads and found our favorite at Amazon. This Hydroluxe showerhead actually comes with two heads, which means you can seriously up your shower game. It maintains an impressive water pressure, but most importantly, the mist feature was so incredible. In fact, one of our writers described it as “the absolute best sensation I have ever had in a shower: It felt like a bunch of angels were gently pelting me with wet cotton clouds.”
8. More rugs than you thought you’d ever buy
Sometimes the home gods bless you with hardwood floors, and sometimes you’re left with old carpets from generations of old tenants. Either way, you’ll need some new rugs, whether you’re hiding stains or protecting beautiful floors. Our favorite place to buy rugs is Ruggable, which offer machine-washable rugs in a variety of shapes and designs.
Personally, I've sought out pricer models from Rifle Paper Co., with the caveat that these will be more of an investment due to their intricate detailing and exceptional colors.
9. Fresh plants to brighten up your space
Adding fresh plants is the quickest way to add life and character to your home. When it comes to mail-order plants, it doesn’t get better than The Sill, which has carved out a special place in our hearts.
Our executive editor, Kate Ellsworth, received a Pink Anthurium as a housewarming present, and while she claims to "not know anything about plants, [she's] absolutely obsessed with her."
10. Curtains to tie the room together
I had never really paid attention to curtains before—until I moved into my apartment. Turns out you need some kind of window treatment to keep people from seeing directly into your home—who knew?
If you’re looking for cute curtains, I highly recommend Society6, which is where you get your curtains for your new home. Each curtain pattern is designed by an artist, so you know you’re getting unique and attractive designs. You can also shop from Amazon, which offers a great selection of chic and affordable curtains, too.
11. Paint, because your walls can’t be bare
Jazz up blank white walls with the help of paint. Whether you are a minimalist or maximalist, there are dozens of shades up for grabs and one of my favorite paint brands is Drew Barrymore's. Available in Walmart, the Flower paint palette is reflective of Barrymore's own personal style, featuring everything from rich hues to subtle shades, all ringing in at $39.
12. Floral wallpaper that's groundbreaking enough to make a statement
It's no secret I love Rifle Paper Co. I love it so much that I turned their adhesive wallpaper into removable wallpaper for a DIY- project in my bedroom. Naturally, when moving into my new home, I'm looking for a more long-term solution, which is why the Black Bramble wallpaper from the new York Wallcoverings and Rifle Paper Co. collection spoke to me. The abstract floral motifs are designed on a black base and multi-colored print that provides enough versatility to put anywhere in a bathroom or bedroom (or both!).
13. A couch for lounging and entertaining
When it comes to home décor, I believe more is more, unless we're talking about your sofa. A sofa should work with your décor, not against it, and is best in a solid shade. This is why I highly recommend Article's Moro sofa.
Available in Lunaria White Boucle, Riverbank Gray Boucle and Space Blue, this stunning foam and down-blend seat provides ample space to sprawl out or cuddle close. Plus, the removable back cushion seals the deal on deep-seated comfort.
14. Seating that doubles as home décor
No matter how small or large your new home is, you're bound to run into some situations where you want to prioritize fashionable pieces over functional ones. In this instance, turn to Instagram-famous brand The Inside to make sure you get both.
Beloved for their custom hand-made pieces, their best-selling bench is praised for its versatility. Thanks to the fully upholstered and extra comfortable padding on the top, it works as a table or extra seating for guests. Available in a slew of limited-edition prints, and materials (linen, velvet and cotton), any variation will do wonders in your home.
In fact, I even went as far as to invest in the Blush Aviary by Scalamandré X Bench, hoping it'll pull my (future) living room together.
15. Smart thermostats so you can start saving energy
You truly don’t appreciate how life-changing smart thermostats can be until you own one. We picked up a Google Nest for our home, and while it’s not Reviewed’s favorite smart thermostat (that would be the Emerson Sensi Touch WiFi Thermostat), I'm obsessed when pairing it with my Nest. It was easy to install, it’s simple to use, and I can literally control the temperature from my phone, which is incredibly convenient.
16. A smart doorbell you can watch from your phone
Your thermostat isn’t the only device you can control from your phone—if you’re sick of running from the sound of a doorbell like a cat (or is that just me?), we definitely recommend picking up a smart doorbell. The Google Nest Hello Doorbell is the best one we tested—we liked it even more than the Amazon Ring.
We thought the Google Nest Hello Doorbell has superb video quality. We enjoyed how you can adjust its settings at night for better viewing, and that you can even set it to recognize faces).
17. A smart speaker to control all your new tech
If you’ve loaded up on new smart tech for your home, you may want to invest in a hub that can control all the other devices you’ve purchased. Our favorite smart speaker was the Bose Home Speaker 500, which is compatible with both Google Nest and Amazon Alexa products.
18. A Swiffer WetJet to mop up those hard surfaces
My life changed the day I bought a Swiffer WetJet. I had owned a conventional Swiffer for years, but upgraded to the WetJet after a friend recommended it to me. I regret nothing.
Unlike the standard Swiffer, the WetJet allows you to swap out cleaning solutions, so I can Swiffer the bathroom tiles with the standard formula, but switch to a hardwood-specific one when I need to hit the living room. The Swiffer WetJet is Reviewed’s choice for the most convenient mop, but it’s my choice for “best cleaning tool in my house.”
19. A robot vacuum that can keep your home tidy
My family geeks out over vacuums and among the four of us, we've tried every model under the sun. Much to our dismay, most models fall short of our expectations, which is why, when my brother Justyn declared his love for the iRobot Roomba, I knew I needed to test it out.
According to him, this robot vacuum did it all; it "knocked water bottles out from under the couch," just as quickly it cleaned his home whether he was there or not. This was proven true when I scooped up a Roomba of my own. I also loved how simple it was to connect this vacuum to your Wi-Fi and set it for a clean daily, weekly or monthly schedule. Plus, it even returned to the dock after to charge! All in all: this vacuum was essential whether you're a long-time homeowner or a first-timer!
20. A standing vacuum, because there’s no true replacement
Even if you own a stellar robot vacuum like the i7+, you still need a standing vacuum. Robot vacuums are fantastic, but they can’t quite hit the corners like a traditional model. That's why I will forever sing the Samsung Jet 75+'s praises.
The six pound lightweight design makes cleaning easy and getting into those hard-to-reach places a breeze, thanks to its 180-degree swivel head. The digital display easily lets you control how much or how little suction you use; plus, the flexible charging allows you to mount it to the wall or tuck it into the corner.
21. A shop vac, aka your new true love
The Rigid Shop-Vac does it all—it comes with four different hoses, two nozzle attachments, a hose, a filter and an entire leaf blower built on top. It works on both wet and dry messes, so we’ve used it to vacuum water from the basement and clean up debris after home improvement projects. If you own a fixer-upper, or just love home projects, this one’s a must-own.
22. This tool kit you can use to assemble furniture
While shipments usually come with Allen wrenches and screws, they don’t come with a screwdriver—or a drill, a rubber mallet or any number of other tools you’ll probably need to actually build your new furniture.
You need a good toolkit anyway, so you may as well buy the best one. We love this 65-piece kit from Stanley, which comes with a hammer, level, two screwdrivers, and much more. It’s got everything the first-time homeowner needs.
23. A lawn mower you can use for outdoor chores
If your new home has a lawn, you need to invest in a lawn mower. There are so many options to choose from nowadays. You can go push, electric, and even battery-powered, like the one I own, the Greenworks Pro 60V Brushless Lawn Mower. This model can cut an entire lawn on one battery without dying and when it does die, there's an included charger to juice it back up.
24. A sprinkler, because yes—you have to water grass
That’s right, grass doesn’t just water itself (unless it rains). Depending on where you live, you may need to water your grass daily to keep it healthy. Forget standing outside with your hose and invest in a smart sprinkler like the Rachio 8-Zone Smart Sprinkler, which is our favorite model you can buy. We found it incredibly easy to use and even thought it was a breeze to install.
25. A TV that doubles at art
Artwork, television, and movies—the Samsung Frame does it all on its stunning QLED screen. Displayed in 4k resolution and accented by customizable bezels, this TV doubles as your new home décor. It's programmed with a motion-sense light, turning the screen on when you walk by it and displaying some of your favorite artwork or pictures. Plus, it can be set on a timer to turn off when not in use.
26. A versatile chair that works just about anywhere
Anchor your space with the Opalhouse x Jungalow's Siena chair. It's upholstered in a geometric fabric for a luxurious feel and paired with an armrest, padded seat and back, which adds sumptuous comfort whether you're updating your home office or living room.
27. Blankets—because someone will always be cold
It doesn't matter if the temperatures go up or down at one time or another someone in your home will get cold. In those cases, you'll want something warm to curl up to—and that's where Vera Bradley's blanket comes into play. This generously-sized fleece blanket is warm and cuddly and available in 22 different colors. Scoring a near-perfect 4.8-rating among more than 2,100 reviewers, I can attest that the shoppers are right about it being "the best throw blanket." Every year, my Dad gets me a new one for Christmas and it's rare to catch me not snuggled up to this throw.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: New homeowners: What to buy when you move into a new house