Whether you’re just starting out and filling your first home or looking to round out the missing pieces of a household you’ve lived in for years, this handy list can help give you a rundown of some must-have items for every room.


  • High-quality knives and a sharpener for even, precise slicing and dicing
  • A collection (although not necessarily a matched set) of pots and pans in varying sizes with lids
  • Wooden spoons and plastic spatulas and scrapers that allow you to prep meals without damaging pots and pans
  • Sturdy mixing bowls that will stand up to heavy blending and beating
  • A hand or stand mixer with variable speed settings
  • Baking essentials, including heavy cookie sheets, cake pans and muffin tins
  • Measuring cups and spoons (consider adding an extra set if you cook often so there’s always some clean and ready)
  • At least a couple of cutting boards so you can prepare potential contaminants, like raw chicken, separate from other ingredients
  • Thick mitts for handling dishes fresh out of the oven and trivets to prevent hot items from damaging counters and other surfaces
  • Complete place settings (plates, glasses and silverware) for as many as 12 guests

Living Area

  • Comfortable seating for every member of the household
  • Occasional seating such as benches or ottomans than can serve dual duty for visitors
  • Side tables and a coffee table to keep drinks, magazines and other necessities within reach
  • Soft, cozy touches such as rugs, pillows and throw blankets
  • Artwork and other decor that can add character and personality
  • Lamps that create a more inviting ambiance than stark overhead lighting (adding a dimmer switch can give you ultimate ambiance control)
  • Entertainment features, such as a television or home theater music system
  • Window coverings to block harsh daylight sun and give added privacy at night


  • A comfortable office chair with adequate lumbar support
  • One or more flat, sturdy work surfaces
  • Supply of pens and pencils in varying weights and colors
  • Standard supplies, including stapler, paper clips, ruler, etc.
  • Printer, paper and extra ink, so you don’t get caught mid-project with no way to finish
  • Quality task lighting

Guest Room

  • At least two sets of linens to accommodate beds, plus extra for inflatable mattresses or sleeper sofas for guests
  • Blankets in a variety of seasonal weights so guests can layer up or down to their comfort level
  • A complete set of towels and washcloths per guest
  • Toiletry essentials that are easily forgotten, like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner
  • Remedies for current maladies, such as headaches and allergies
  • A supply of extra hangers
  • Reading material, such as a couple of classic novels or current magazines

Laundry Room

  • A drying rack for air-dry-only garments
  • Baby powder to help lift greasy stains (just sprinkle, let sit to absorb then apply stain remover before washing)
  • Stain remover
  • An iron and ironing board
  • Hangers for items fresh out of the dryer and a rack or rod to hold them
  • A secure shelf or basket to safely hold detergent, other laundry essentials and items that do not fit in the pantry

Photos courtesy of Getty Images


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