Moving into your first adult apartment is a really big deal — and the homeware purchases you're going to make are equally important. It's your first chance to communicate to the world that you're a grown-ass adult with sophisticated tastes. The truth of the matter is: It makes a world of difference to come home to an apartment full of well-made furniture at the end of the day. It'll pay off to be choosy.
We all have vivid memories of biting the bullet after months of saving up, weeks of perusing Pinterest, and endless comparison shopping. That moment when you finally unpack your well-earned investment piece? Well, it's pretty much the most gratifying feeling in the world. To inspire you on your path to #adulting, we've invited seven women to share the personal stories behind the first home product they've ever splurged on.
"My parents were really into rugs while I was growing up, so when I moved out, buying a huge carpet became a priority. I saved up for this bright yellow baby from John Lewis — it's a very fancy department store in the U.K., so ordering
anything there was already a big step for me. "Cutting open that plastic and unrolling this baby for the first time had me completely giddy. I’ve never loved a human being as much as I love this carpet: For a while, I seriously considered throwing a baby shower to celebrate my new addition to the family!" — Megan C. Hills, London, United Kingdom John Lewis Fusion Shifra Kelim Rug, $163, available at John Lewis
"This coffee table was the first nice piece of furniture I ever got. I was overcome with the urge to make the space I live in beautiful and cozy, and started with the living room because I wanted to have people over.
"Our kitchen is connected to an open living room. My boyfriend and I wanted to host people at our apartment for intimate gatherings because we really value our friendships and cultivating new relationships. This marble coffee table allowed us to have a place to gather around in the living room and set up food and drink when we host or when we just want to watch something on the TV." — Amy Zhang, Los Angeles, CA West Elm Box Frame Coffee Table, $549, available at West Elm
— PAID — "One of my first big purchases involved tricking out my bed. I had just graduated; I was working seven days a week to make rent, and I was sleeping any time I wasn't working. I bought a bomb mattress, a million pillows, a massive comforter, and the coziest jersey sheets. I even bought a clap-activated light switch, so I wouldn't have to leave my new sanctuary to turn off the lights. It was (and still is) glorious!" — Emily Levin, New York, NY Casper Wave Full, $1650, available at Casper.
"Figuring out my dining room situation was number one on my list of priorities I moved into my first studio post-graduation. I found a chic and sturdy white round table from CB2, but I clearly hadn’t learned my lesson and cheaped out on foldable chairs — I very quickly dreaded sitting on them.
"When I found out that my neighbor was moving out and selling her Bertoia-style chairs, I put up an offer: If she couldn’t get rid of them by move-out day, I’d buy them both for the price of one and save her the hassle of dealing with them. I’m happy to report that I now take my sweet time enjoying my meals on these comfy, modern seaters." — Cleo von Siebenthal, Los Angeles, CA Poly + Bark Bertoia Style Wire Dining Chair, $149, available at Poly + Bark
"I've never been a big fan of candles until I received a hand-made one from a friend, which came in a scent dedicated to me. Burning it became my go-to de-stressing ritual, and by the time it was done, I was fully hooked on candles with luxurious scents.
"I bought this Bvlgari candle as a Christmas gift for myself last year. Paying close to $100 for a candle sounds a bit crazy, but this thing smells absolutely incredible: The blend of burnt herbal tea and the jeweler's exclusive fragrance never fails to perk up my mood. I reach for a whiff whenever I feel downtrodden. Plus, it comes in a huge ceramic glass, and has lasted me for over six months." — Vanessa Lang, Brooklyn, NY Bvlgari Rouge Prestigious Ceramic Candle, $98, available at Neiman Marcus
"The first big purchase I’ve ever done for my place may not seem significant, but it definitely made me feel like I had a home. I travel a lot and the only souvenirs I take are my photos. I’ve always had an affinity for antique picture frames, so I scoured for the perfect frames for each of my favorite trip photos.
"I went to several flea markets around New York City to find the perfect frames, but also looked everywhere online. To this day, I still look at each frame and smile because it holds my most precious memories." — Debbie Arcangeles, New York, NY Chairish Antique 19th Century Gesso Frame, $99, available at Chairish
"The first 'expensive' thing I bought for my entire apartment was a Cuisinart mandoline. I think it was about $75, which may not sound like a lot, but it seemed rather decadent at the time. I was 23 and not cooking real meals for myself regularly; most nights I ordered delivery or — I still shudder when I think about it — defrosted something from the frozen food aisle.
"But, I was just beginning to become what I’ll call an 'event cook' — someone who enjoys throwing dinner parties. The mandoline opened up the possibilities of what I could prepare in my own kitchen — dainty shaved zucchini salads, perfectly sliced apples for pie, chilled beet carpaccio. I a more adventurous and confident hostess. Years later, I have a million gadgets and I tackle complicated cooking projects all the time, but it was the mandoline that started it all." — Rachel Tepper Paley, Brooklyn, NY Cuisinart Mandoline, $42,99, available at Wayfair