How to fill a bachelor pad
December 26, 2011 11:12 PM   Subscribe

I am going to be moving soon, and for the first time in several years, it will be on my own. I'd really like resources for checklists on what to have in my new domicile, and as well, ideas for furnishing and decorating.

I currently live in a shared housing situation. One of my roommates left recently to move to another city, and now two more of my roommates are likely going to leave in March. We've discussed it as a house and with our landlord, and we're clear to break our lease without any penalty... whatever. I've decided that this would be an excellent opportunity for me to finally get a place on my own, likely an apartment, condo or duplex. I figure I have two good months to figure out where I want to live and how I'd like to go about furnishing it.

Currently, I lack things to fill a house. I only have bedroom furniture and personal belongings. What I'd really like to do is get some very thorough lists of things to have in my future place so that I can prioritize and be able to fill it when I do move. I would like anything you MeFites have that would be an absolutely thorough list that I can scratch off anything I find unnecessary. This is for a whole house/apartment and down to the nitty gritty, including bathroom, kitchen and household supplies.

Secondary to that, I also would like to try to have some style points in my future home. FWIW, I am a single 28-year old male, and I'm really leaning towards a classy bachelor pad (the nice leather couch, big TV comfy-type pad, not the moldy dishes and three week old pizza type pad). Any resources similar to Apartment Therapy that have lots of ideas would be very welcome. I'm also very open to old AskMe questions. I've only found a few.

Lastly, if you've ever said to yourself "if I were still single I so would have *this* in my place," what would it be? Go crazy, because I am crazy. (example: I'm really considering a HD projector and having an entire wall for a TV/computer screen.)

Thanks MeFites!
posted by Mister Fabulous to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
You can start with an insurance contents inventory list, like this one.

I believe two of my friends have full wall tv/console screen projections. It's awesome, do it.
posted by jacalata at 11:51 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

shower curtain, if the place doesn't come with one.
posted by KathrynT at 12:05 AM on December 27, 2011

Patrick Bateman had the ultimate bachelor pad in "American Psycho". You may want to take a peek.

Check out the basics of feng shui color theory-- here. Essentially, keep the warm colors near the wood elements in your home and place the metal elements with white, grey and black objects/color schemes.

Basically, if you put your bed in the right place according to feng shui (never in line with a door, never under a window), keep your furniture at the right height (no tall shelves crowding your bed or seating areas), and make sure you have a place for everything, you should be able to make a beautiful home for yourself.
posted by devymetal at 12:35 AM on December 27, 2011

Response by poster: Patrick Bateman had the ultimate bachelor pad in "American Psycho".

Should I mention that I'm not going for ultra-minimalist, hyper-clean, monochrome and/or serial killer? I've seen pictures from that movie and that bachelor pad gives me the heebie-jeebies.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:41 AM on December 27, 2011

Two shower curtains, an inner and an outer.

Probably the most common-item stuff you'll be missing will be kitchen-oriented. If you cook at all you'll want a decent small set to get you going on the stove, and pick up a couple stainless cookie sheets (<$10 apiece), a small one and a big one. You'll need knives, and there are probably a lot of AskMe previouslies on that topic (I like Henckels). Go to Ikea or Bed Bath and Beyond or Crate & Barrel and get a set of dishes, 4 placesettings will probably be fine. Get a set of silverware while you're there.
posted by rhizome at 12:42 AM on December 27, 2011


At least:

Two full sets of sheets
comforter - different weights if you're in an extreme climate
comforter covers and pillowcase sets
Bath towels
hand towels
kitchen towels
dish cloths

swiffer/vacuum whatever
bathroom cleaning supplies
kitchen cleaning supplies
sponge and dish detergent
dishwasher detergent

paper towels
toilet paper

water jug or bottles
IKEA glassware sets - wine, water, juice

can opener
wine opener
bottle opener

trash can for kitchen
waste paper basket at least one
ditto for bathroom, covered if you expect to entertain ladies

bath mats

spice rack

a set of tupperware or IKEA plastic containers with lids
posted by infini at 1:41 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get some plants
posted by evil_esto at 2:53 AM on December 27, 2011

Best answer: Squawkfox PDF: Printable First Apartment Essentials Checklist; PDF: House/Apartment Set-Up Checklist; Nateshomes PDF: First Time Moving Out Checklist; Essential Housewares Everyone Should Have; Epicurious: Your First Kitchen; Essortment: Basic Kitchen Checklist; My First Apartment: various checklists.

And, perhaps useful if you will be doing much cooking: Pantry Checklist PDF from
posted by taz at 3:34 AM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Work on the background first.

- Install bookshelves/clothing storage/hidden storage items first, so you can put the life stuff out of sight.

- Buy good area rugs with rug pads (even on top of carpet) that are comfortable to lounge on.

- Buy furnishings one piece at a time (not three-piece suites) and live with them before you buy more. I would buy comfortable club-style chairs first, then the sofa. More flexible that way. Use ottomans, not La-Z-Boys until you're at least fifty.

- Go for acreage on the coffee table; big heavy glass top preferred.

- Those tables that are bar height with stools will get a lot more use than a regular dining room table, especially if your friends are also 28.

- If you don't BUY clutter, won't BE no clutter. Buy art for the walls instead of stuff you have to dust around.

Take the time to really prepare the wall for your projection unit. Every speck will show up (in a snow scene from a Bond film, for instance), so sand it smooth and get some professional reflective screen paint for it. That should read as a pearl white finish in daylight. Do the entire wall, not just the projection area.

This is not a movie set that has to be perfect when the camera starts rolling. Take your time, find pieces that you really might like to have for ten or twenty years, and that don't scare girls.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:53 AM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

For the kitchen, think of the things you don't like to eat or drink, and if they need accessories. I don't drink wine or coffee, but if friends come over, it's nice to have a coffee maker and a corkscrew.
posted by xingcat at 4:18 AM on December 27, 2011

Mark Bittman, on kitchen gear: "In fact, I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well. "

Get a toolbox, too. You will absolutely need a drill, hammer, hanging hooks, screwdrivers, pliers and a work light. Get a small but powerful flashlight, or bendy light, for under-sink repairs.

Baking soda and vinegar are your friends for cleaning all the things. Dustpan, brush, broom, vacuum cleaner, and a copy of Cheryl Mendelson's "Home Comforts" for reference; she has more suggestions about cleaning gear here.

It'll be great fun. Good luck!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:35 AM on December 27, 2011

A plunger is easily overlooked. But when you need one and don't have one, there's no good alternative.
posted by azathoth at 7:04 AM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Get renter's insurance!!! Don't put it off.

Trust me. I know this.
posted by jgirl at 7:04 AM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: To go along with the kitchen recommendations: here is a cookbook. One of the most maddening things about living alone is cooking alone -- the batterie de cuisine is one thing, but single eaters are kind of cursed with oversupply -- either all the recipes come in a "serves 4" size and you can't divide things evenly (how do you do a fourth of an egg??) or all the ingredients come in huge packages and end up spoiling before you use them again (you get a bunch of sage but you only need one sprig, and then you have sage going bad in your fridge).

This book has a couple good ideas for coping with that: The early chapters are about planning for leftovers, either leftover supply ("if you buy a package of lamb chops, and have one for this night, then here's what to do with it the second night") and there are later chapters that help you cope with clearning-random-crap-out-of-the-fridge catch-all stuff ("here's a basic recipe for a single-serving quiche -- which you can jazz up by throwing just about anything into").

(She even has an idea for how to divide a raw egg in half, if not quarters -- break it into a bowl and beat it, and measure out how much it is -- then just use half that, and store the other half in the fridge to round things out the next time you have scambled eggs.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on December 27, 2011

I'd get a big sofa first. You can stretch out on it, several people can sit on it, overnight guests can sleep on it. But don't buy it new! They're so expensive, and you'll be buying a lot of other stuff right away. Get a comfortable used sofa; look in consignment shops, high-end thrift shops (our town has a wonderful one run by Habitat for Humanity), CraigsList. A few years down the road you can buy exactly what you want.

On the other hand, when you buy knives for the kitchen, don't buy crap. Nothing makes cooking easier than decent tools, especially a knife. Chef's knife and a paring knife are the absolute minimum. Also a decent, heavy skillet and some well-made saucepans -- but you can get good ones for a more reasonable cost than good knives. Just don't buy anything that feels cheap; you'll keep on using it anyway, and it makes cooking much less fun.

Seconding the plunger, and a good broom and dustpan. And lamps! Some people have no problem with overhead lighting, but lamps make a huge difference; you can use standing lamps to bounce the light off the walls or ceiling; get 3-way lamps for more flexibility.

The wonderful thing about your own home is that it can reflect what you want it to. An HD projector definitely falls into that category -- not crazy, but what you want. When you're in your friends' homes, look around: what do you like? What do you wish you had? There is no List Of Necessary Items for your home. There's only what you want, and what you find you need.

My last piece of advice is that you're bound to make some mistakes and buy some stuff you don't like/doesn't work. Get rid of it, as soon as possible! I don't care how much you paid for it. Give it, sell it, toss it. The temptation is to keep it around, what the hell, might need it .... and thus your new home is filled with stuff that doesn't "quite" work, that doesn't really give you pleasure. It's so easy to do, and sooner than you can believe your 3-bedroom house with basement, attic and garage is filled with .... oh, sorry. That's my house. But be warned!
posted by kestralwing at 9:46 AM on December 27, 2011

Along with renter's insurance, buy a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.

With everything you buy, ask yourself if this item is for the life you're currently living or the Loire you wish you were living - don't buy if it's the latter.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 10:49 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't make any lists or buy anything. Move as little as possible, and buy things on demand when you find that you need them. Otherwise, you will inevitably waste time and money buying things that you thought you might need but it turns out you never use. Also, it's much easier to go out and buy these things one or two at a time than it is to buy them all at once when you move.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:53 AM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm seconding tylerkaraszewski in don't make a big list or else you'll end up with loads of stuff that sounds really really useful that you'll never, ever use. And who wants clutter?

When I move (and I move somewhat often) I like to have with me from the first moment I step into the new place 1) an air mattress or a bed 2) some clothing and ideally 3) access to a freezer and a microwave (eating out gets expensive really quickly) or access to a stove and a cheap pan you can throw away. (If you buy a set of nice pans in a rushed panic instead of after some research on Amazon, you'll end up realizing you really only use three and you bought twelve and they're mediocre.) Also, 4) my laptop and 5) a phone.

Then I unpack whatever else I have, and start spotting the big holes, and then fill the little holes over time when I notice them.

For your website query, I really like Whorange.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:05 AM on December 27, 2011

Shower curtain hooks or rings. I've learned the hard way in at least two different moves that the shower curtain doesn't do much good if you don't have the hooks and I usually remember at a time of day when it is inconvenient to buy them.
posted by kat518 at 11:10 AM on December 27, 2011

Thirding tylerkaraszewski. Buy only what you need. Vegartanipla's suggestions are really great!

The last time I moved (2 years ago), I decided not to buy a TV until I settled into my apartment and decided what size/color/specs I wanted. I realized soon after that I really didn't need a TV.

On the other hand, I always pack toilet paper. It sucks to realize there isn't any toilet paper in your new apartment...
posted by xmts at 8:38 PM on December 27, 2011

Tape measure.

As you kit out your apartment, you will be using this a lot. Will that fit? Will it fit through the door? What size cutlery divider will fit into that drawer anyway? How many feet long does that extension cord need to be?

The often-quoted triad of "art, plants, lamps" does really help the atmosphere.
posted by AnnaRat at 2:54 PM on December 30, 2011

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