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So, you’ve done it! You’ve travelled by bus, car, train, or plane (or a combination of all four) and arrived at your new home in Canada. You’ve just found your new accommodation and whether it is an apartment, house, studio, townhouse, condo, cottage or bungalow, you’re going to need a few things. A decent internet connection, for example, plus furniture, kitchen stuff, and more. 

Setting up your new home in Canada is now a pressing issue. You’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting by signing the lease or taking ownership. The keys are in your hands, or your pockets, or down the back of the couch (if you’ve actually managed to get a couch yet). Now, let’s have some fun setting up your new Canadian living space.

Setting up in your new home in Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Set up your utilities and internet  

Dear renters, if your lease agreement states that the tenant is responsible for paying utilities like electricity, natural gas, or water, you must set up an account in your name.
First, check out the options in your area to see what’s available. If you’re unsure where to start, ask your landlord to determine whether there are contracts already in place or if you’ll need to start from scratch. You may be able to simply transfer an existing account into your name. 

And for owners, obviously you will need to set up everything in your own home. 

For other necessities like the internet, there are more options for providers. There are so many plans out there, each with its own perks. Make sure to take a little time to get familiar with all the different plans and service alternatives tailored to your own needs.

It helps to schedule both utility and internet setup well in advance, so you can ensure there’s no lapse in service once you move in.

2. Get measurements so you can make a plan

It’s much easier to get suitable furniture when you have accurate measurements. If you’re able to visit the apartment in person, ask your landlord if you can come by and take measurements yourself.

If that’s not possible, use photos or measurements from the landlord to get a sense of the size of your new place. From there, make a plan of what furniture you’ll need to get for your new home. Having a list can help prevent you from getting overwhelmed while shopping or looking around.

Family relaxing on floor in new home with cardboard boxes

3. Find affordable furniture 

Once you have a list of the main furniture pieces you’ll need, it’s time to start shopping. Or, if you are on a particular budget- or eco-conscious- you can also scour for swaps and hand-me-downs! Canada has lots of options, depending on your style and budget.

If you’re trying not to break the bank, start by exploring local listings on social media or sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. In most towns and cities, there are regional ‘buy, sell, trade’ or ‘buy nothing’ groups that exist to facilitate purchases or swaps between neighbours.

If you’re purchasing new furniture, big box stores like IKEA or Jysk or online retailers like Wayfair are a great bet. You can also visit furniture stores near your new place – it’s a great way to meet new people and support local businesses.  


4. Don’t forget the essentials (dishes, bedding, etc.)

Once you’ve gotten larger purchases out of the way, you’ll need to invest in the rest of the essentials that make your house a home. Think dishes, bedding, cutlery, and other necessary items you’ll need in your new space. The cost of these items can add up quickly, so don’t overlook the option of buying fewer items or more budget-friendly things to start. 

Thrift stores, discount retailers, and online marketplaces or swap groups can be great resources for finding affordable yet functional home essentials. From there, you can upgrade or add things as your budget allows. We can’t stress this enough: budgeting is key!

Mid-budget department stores serving all or most of Canada for these sorts of items include The Bay (also known as Hudson’s Bay) and Simons, while Winners is a more discount option. 

5. Get a tenant insurance

While your landlord is liable for repairs and maintenance on your apartment, unexpected events like break-ins or accidental damage may still be your responsibility to fix. That’s why rental or tenant insurance is highly recommended.

This type of insurance typically offers reimbursement for stolen or damaged personal property and can help cover costs if your apartment is uninhabitable for any reason. It can even provide personal liability protection if you damage your own or someone else’s home. Depending on your needs, you may be able to get coverage for less than $20 per month.


6. Plan the installation and your first days at home

Once you have your move-in date set, you’ll need to make a plan for moving in and for your first few days in your new apartment. This may include:

  • Deciding whether you’ll need a moving company to help with the transfer of your belongings
  • Setting a time for your internet provider to set up service
  • Picking up keys from your landlord
  • Arranging for the delivery or pickup of appliances and furniture

While it’s tempting to do everything in as little time as possible, don’t try and cram too much in on one day.


7. Start decorating

Now is the time to inject some personal flair into your new home.

Personalize with color and art that speak to you. If painting the walls isn’t an option, consider removable wallpaper or tapestries to add a splash of color.

Illuminate your space. Good lighting can transform a room. Consider different light sources like floor lamps, table lamps, and string lights to create the perfect ambiance.

Bring in nature. Plants not only add life to your apartment but also improve air quality. Choose low-maintenance indoor plants if you’re new to gardening.

Make it yours, finally. Add those personal touches that make a house a home. A photo of your loved ones, a collection of souvenirs, or a unique piece of decor, these elements will make your new place feel uniquely yours.

Mom, dad, and young child unpacking boxes for new apartment

Extra tip: Change the locks

Finally, once you’re settled, you may want to change the locks on your unit to ensure no keys are outstanding from prior tenants. Depending on where you’re located in Canada, you may be able to do this yourself (as long as you provide your landlord with a key), or you may need to request permission from your landlord before booking the locksmith.


Make sure you read up on the tenancy rules governing your province, then make your decisions accordingly.

Check out more resources on renting in Canada

In Canada, we’re fortunate to have many protections governing tenants’ rights. These safeguards make it easier to feel settled and secure in your new home. Then, once you’ve set up your apartment, you’ll have a solid base to support your new life in Canada.


To learn more about the process of renting in Canada, check out the guides we offer on Moving2Canada. And to help you understand everything you need to know about setting up your life in Canada, we’ve got you covered too. By familiarizing yourself with our resources, you’ll be better equipped to handle any challenges that may arise, so you can fully enjoy the benefits of renting in Canada.


What are the essential utilities I need to set up in my new Canadian home?

Can I transfer utility accounts to my name in Canada?

Is setting up internet different for renters and owners in Canada?

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
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