The most awesome apartment gear for young professionals

By Endy Sleep

If you've gone through the arduous process of post-grad apartment hunting, you know that finding your first place out of college is one of the most challenging and simultaneously rewarding aspects of adulthood. You've spent weeks (or sometimes even months) navigating the world of broker's fees, agonizing over square footage and becoming intimately acquainted with the legalities of a lease.

So when you finally sign on the dotted line, it's a huge sigh of relief — until the next wave of decisions presents itself: The first priorities for furnishing your new pad.

Below are a few investment purchases as well as some useful and envy-inducing gear to consider adding to an abode for any young professional.

The kitchen

Filling an empty kitchen with all the necessary accouterments can cost a pretty penny, so it's important to prioritize based on cooking and lifestyle habits. The good thing about kitchen supplies is high-quality products tend to last, so you're not stuck re-purchasing items with every move. On top of toaster ovens, spatulas and all the other miscellaneous items that go into a fully stocked kitchen, below are a few key purchases that should make the list of must-buys.

A set of kitchen knives is an essential, even if you're not much of a chef. All you really need for a start is a set of three: one knife for chopping, a serrated knife and a paring knife. This five-piece set by Wustof is a solid starter set, or for something at a lower price-point, this set by Topchef has a fun look and rave reviews. Consider building or buying a system for hanging magnetic knife storage for a clean, modern and elegantly badass element to your kitchen aesthetic.

Another kitchen staple for budding chefs is a starter collection of spices (get crafty with spice rack displays if you're the DIY type), a set of mixing bowls (this set by Joseph Joseph is ideal for saving counter space), an indoor countertop grill or panini press, and reusable grocery bags.

Consider a coffee maker or an espresso machine if you're a caffeine hound (and if you're not yet, just wait until you start your first nine-to-five; it's a game-changer). You'll save on the daily expense of a pricey morning latte, which can really add up over time. There's a huge range of prices and models, depending on how seriously you take your java. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express is a highly rated option among coffee connoisseurs, and the Nespresso Inissia is a lower-priced option.

A water filter is another go-to kitchen purchase: Both Pur and Brita offer popular options that can adjust to an existing faucet attachment. Enjoy crisp-tasting tap water for a fraction of the cumulative cost of plastic water bottles, and reduce your carbon footprint to boot.

The "worth-it" investment purchase: Never underestimate the importance of a nice set of cookware. This set by Calphalon includes just about everything you need for hobbyists and seasoned chefs alike.

The bedroom

Your bedroom is your at-home oasis, so it's worth it to invest the time and money to make it as comfortable, calming and practical as possible.

For extra storage space, Pax closets by IKEA allow for customizable options in countless combinations. Create your ideal closet based on your individual wardrobe needs. For even more storage, consider vacuum storage bags that you can use to store out-of-season clothing.

Lighting is key for any environment; so playing around with the options that make you feel most zen is one way to create a space that feels like home as soon as you step in the door. The Philips hue system is a high-tech way to mess with the lighting in any room of your apartment, and you can control everything from brightness to color to nighttime settings.

The "worth it" investment purchase: You spend approximately a third of your life asleep, so investing in a comfortable mattress that will last for years to come and help you get your nightly ZZZs in peace is crucial. Endy Sleep knows there are a ton of factors to consider with this purchase — price, quality, delivery options — so do some due diligence before selecting the mattress that’s right for you. Endy offers a 100-night in-home trial, free shipping to your door and the mattresses conveniently come in a box, making the delivery and purchase of your mattress as seamless as possible.

At-home workspace

Unless you're a lucky twenty-something with the funds for an apartment that has its own designated office, you'll likely be dedicating a portion of your bedroom or living room to a workspace. Below are a few items that can help make this the perfect space to get in the zone if you're working or studying from home.

For the truly strapped for space, the Minimal Wall Desk is a beautiful piece that can fit in almost any room and can be adjusted for height if you prefer a standing desk situation. The Bekant desk by IKEA is similarly adjustable and has a simple aesthetic that fits nicely with an array of home decor schemes. The Roost laptop stand, a recently funded Kickstarter project, is a must-have desk accessory for any young professional, and it's easily portable if you'll be taking remote work on the go.

While we'll hopefully be soon living in a wireless world, today it's still necessary to plug in. This unique power strip by Quirky makes it simple to plug in multiple unwieldy adapters, and it's a solid addition to an at-home work set-up. Control up to two outlets directly from your mobile device for hands-free fine-tuning of your home work environment.

The "worth it" investment purchase: A quality portable speaker system can set the mood for everything from soothing music to jam out to while you work to entertaining guests or hosting move night. The UE Boom 2 is a versatile option with amazing sound; alternatively for the splurge spender, it's hard to go wrong with Bose for everything from earbuds to full-blown sound systems.

Living room

You know you've truly reached adulthood when a new vacuum is a genuinely exciting purchase. Both the Dyson V6 and the Shark Rotator are quality options that will actually last and are lightweight enough to make daily cleaning far more tolerable than with bulkier models.

And while every young adult dreams of a massive flatscreen on which to watch their alma mater on college football Saturdays, it may not be realistic both from a space or financial perspective. A pull-down screen and projector system is one workaround. The Epson Home Cinema is one of the top-ranked models of projector for 2015, and will turn any living room into the ultimate video game lounge or Sunday football hangout spot.

For young apartment-dwellers interested in dabbling in the world of smart home devices, Amazon Echo is worth investigating. Use voice commands to control everything in your home environment from lighting to music, and get instant access to the news, weather and more.

The "worth it" investment purchase: If you've spent significant time couch-crashing with friends, you know the importance of a comfortable living room set-up. Investing in a LoveSac — essentially a huge bean bag for grown-ups — can add some funky flair to your chill zone.

What are your favorite home decor items for a young professional pad? Tell us in the comments.