Colleges and universities don’t really stop operating. A new fall semester always brings in a fresh crop of college freshmen.
In 2020, despite the pandemic and community lockdowns, more than 12 million college students were expected to attend higher learning institutions full time. As expected, a vast majority of these college students won’t be living at home. Many will move to different towns, different states or even move to the opposite side of the country. Those who don’t live in dormitories will live in apartments.
Learn everything you need to know about fixing up your new home with our comprehensive college apartment checklist.
College Living Arrangements
Colleges and similar educational institutions have their own residential quarters and dormitories. However, there is just no feasible way these facilities can handle the hundreds or even thousands of students who flock to their schools. Most students who don’t live at home have to rent their new living spaces.
According to educational experts, only about 22 percent of university students in the country will be able to live in residences within campus. Approximately 55 percent of college students will have to rent their new accommodations. This makes it crucial that all college freshmen have access to comprehensive college apartment checklists. Such information can help them make sure they have comfortable and clean living spaces without breaking the bank.
Tips for Affordable College Apartment Décor
Unless they come from the right background or have part-time jobs, college students are often cash strapped. One expert calculated that the monthly expenses of the average university student can go up to $1,700, give or take a few hundred dollars. As you can imagine, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for fancy college apartment décor.
Here are several tips you can use to give your college living quarters some apartment decorations without breaking the bank.
- Take Stuff from Home
The easiest way to ensure you have quality and familiar furniture in your new apartment is to simply bring stuff form home. Unless you can afford to travel to and from your college campus to home on a weekly basis, you’ll probably only go home during the holidays and academic breaks. Take furniture form your bedroom that you can bring like desks, mattresses and lamps. These tend to be some of the most expensive apartment décor and furnishings, so you can easily save a few hundred dollars.
- Pool Your Budget
Unless you have the money to do so, you probably won’t be living in your apartment alone. Which is why one of the most important things on everyone college apartment checklist is to find a few roommates. You can ask your roommates to pool together your funds so you can collectively buy furniture and electronics. Keep this money for communal items like entertainment systems, refrigerators and the like.
- Scope Out Pre-Furnished Apartments
Some apartments already come with essential furnishings already. Shop around for apartments that have things like stoves, refrigerators and televisions. A few apartments already come with mattresses and bedframes, but it’s understandable if you don’t find using someone else’s mattresses appealing. Choose your new apartment wisely and you may only have to buy college apartment décor instead of refurnishing the entire place.
- Upcycle Materials
Shabby chic and “cottagecore” are huge trends in 2020. You can emulate these aesthetics by upcycling the right products. There are all sorts of products and things that people throw away that could get a new lease in life as your new furniture. Doing so can remove a few things from your college apartment checklist without spending a lot of money.
For example, if you’re looking for a new set of shelves, you can glue or wire some empty grocery crates together and stack them up. Using your imagination and ingenuity, you can end up with a unique and fully decorated apartment well below your budget.
- Trawl Through Thrift Stores
College students have been sorting through thrift stores for years and so should you. Thrift store furniture and décor may not be the most attractive pieces, but they are very affordable. A quick but thorough cleaning later, and you could have almost everything you need. There’s also always the chance you’ll find something truly remarkable in a thrift store for bargain prices.
- Make Your Own Art Pieces
If you don’t have any budget left over for college apartment décor, make your own decorations. If you have any skill with arts, you can use them to make your own paintings, posters and knickknacks. This will give your apartment a more personalized feel than if you just bought your décor.
- Only Get What You Need
Finally, make sure you only get what you need from furniture and décor stores. You may be tempted to buy fancier decoration, but you should always stick to what you have on your college apartment checklist. If you have any more items that you want to purchase, take note of it and save up for them instead.
Your Essential College Apartment Checklist
Below are some of the things every college apartment needs. Remember that you should primarily be concerned with protecting your items and making your environment more conducive to studying. The following are important items you will want in these areas.
Bedframe and mattress. While some people consider it fashionable to just have a mattress on the floor, this removes essential storage space from under your bed. It’s also not as clean to sleep so close to the floor as it is if you’re raised on a frame.
Closet. Flat board closets and prefabricated pieces are a staple of college rooms everywhere. Make sure that your closet has enough room for you to hang a few articles of clothing that need to remain pristine, like formal dresses and suits.
Lighting fixtures. A couple of lamps can give you the illumination you need for when you’re reading up late. Any lamps with adjustable necks or similar mobility can allow you to focus its light as needed.
Microwave. A microwave is a college student’s best friend. You may think that you’ll be confined to eating TV dinners and similar meals, but you can get creative. You can also reheat proper meals quicker in microwaves.
Small fridge. A refrigerator can help you spend less on food. Instead of buying fresh food every meal, you can buy groceries and store food. A small freezer can be sufficient for one to two persons, but if your college apartment is housing three or more people, consider pooling your money to buy a regular sized refrigerator.
Electric hotplate. A full electric stove with four conduction plates can be a bit too much for a college apartment. Unless you’re planning on cooking complete meals regularly, you would probably be fine with a single hotplate. This will be sufficient for reheating soup, cooking omelets and similar meal preparations.
- Study Area
Desk. You will need a worktable for your studying, even if its just an area for you to put your books and laptop on. Remember that your desk may need to change depending on your course requirement. Aspiring animators and artists may need a light table to draw easier. If you’re taking architecture, a drafting table will be more appropriate.
Shelf. A three-tiered shelf can mean al the difference when enhancing your storage issues in your college apartment. Not only will a shelf help you store books and other items, it can also improve the organization of your room.
Chair. Every college student needs that one comfortable chair that you’ll curl up in when you’re engrossed in studying. Don’t confine your chair options to study chairs. Any comfortable and ergonomic chair will suit your needs, from comfy easy chairs to top-of-the-line office chairs, whichever your budget can afford.
Shower caddy. A shower organizer is important for you to avoid using your roommates’ shampoos and soaps. It also helps for keeping things neat when you’re cleaning the bathroom.
Shower curtain. Some people may not see a shower curtain as an important item on a college apartment checklist, but they’re vital for keeping your bathroom dry. A matching floor mat will also help avoid trips and falls.
Basics of College Apartment Maintenance
After you’ve completed your apartment décor, you will need to learn how to keep your apartment clean and comfortable. Here are a few tips on how you can maintain your college apartment.
- Share Chores
Never depend on one person doing everything around the apartment. You will all be busy with school and personal matters so sharing the chores is essential. Delegate certain tasks to the most willing and competent. Or you can revolve chores so that everyone cleans the bathroom at least once a month. This ensures everyone pitches in with maintenance efforts.
- Keep a Timetable
Everyone in your college apartment will have different schedules so its essential you pre-plan certain chores. Weekly grocery runs, kitchen scrubbings and vacuuming can all be set according to your schedules. Stick to this timetable and remind your roommates about upcoming chores.
- Don’t Let Things Pile Up
College students have a nasty habit of letting dishes, laundry and other things pile up. This habit can lead to making things even harder to clean. Don’t allow this to happen and ensure nothing piles up. Keep reminders of your chores to make sure everyone remembers doing them.
A college apartment checklist is important because a college student already has so much on your plate. Knowing how to furnish your apartment and keep it well-organized is essential in ensuring you have a smooth living situation.