So, college students are broke. Pretty much everyone knows that. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that college students need to live in the same dumpy, immature, standards of existence that they did at the inception of their college career.
Needless to say, dorm life is a completely different standard of living than home-life or apartment life, and sometime after moving into an apartment some students might find that they are ready to upgrade their “College Apartment” to a “REAL Apartment.”
There are five elements that truly contribute to the “feel” of an apartment, and are worth mentioning off-the-bat. BUT, before you begin to fret about how you can’t afford to upgrade your standard of living, there are an abundance of outlets from which you can procure the essentials cheaply. However, should you feel like dropping a little more money, it doesn’t hurt to consider it an investment. Some people might be living in the same first apartment for up to 3 years, and maybe even beyond!
WHERE TO START:
Here are three prime places for college students to shop:
There are loads of other vendors that also supply affordable high-quality items such as Bed Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart, Target, Ikea, and many many more!
#1 – REAL Glassware
There are few things more juvenile about an apartment than when you go to get a glass to drink from and all you can find are crappy plastic cups sporting team or business logos.
When you open a cabinet and all you see are plastic cups, red solo cups, paper plates, and plastic silverware you can be pretty sure you are in a college apartment.
REAL glassware is remarkably affordable these days via Wal-mart and other big-box distributors, so why not make the upgrade? While your at it, it might not hurt to poke around Goodwill or Craigslist and grab some REAL dinnerware, and REAL silverware as well. But for now….start with the glassware.
#2 – Display Your Education
Many college students sell back some of their books, but very few students are fortunate enough to sell ALL of them. Besides, most of the time you get back pennies on the dollar.
The ultimate outcome is that almost every college student’s bedroom has at least ten different textbooks, and god knows how many novels sitting on the floor, stuffed into closets, or used to prop up tables or chairs.
Instead of letting your books detract from your apartment by looking like trash, take the time to display them. Not only will your place look cleaner and less “Collegey”, but you will actually appear as the educated individual you are.
#3 – Cleanliness
By the time you have an apartment you are probably old enough to know how to clean up after yourself, and not let your place turn into a roach-infested junk heap. For some, this may seem easier said than done, and like a giant waste of time, but once you get in the habit of keeping your place tidy you realize how much time you actually GAIN.
You no longer waste your time hand-washing forks for use each time you need to eat despite the fact that you have a dishwasher, and you can actually FIND objects you are looking for instead of having to dig through the aforementioned junk heap.
Step one for your apartment: pick up your crap. Step 2? Invest in a broom and a mop if you have hard floors, or invest in a vacuum if you have carpet. Believe it or not, a vacuum is the kind of thing you keep, and use A LOT. It is kinda worth the money.
#4 – REAL Wall Accoutrements:
You have moved out of the dorms and into your apartment…the time has come to get rid of the partially torn ratty old posters that used to be your idea of decorative prowess. Obviously, everyone has their own taste, but more than ANYTHING else (except for maybe cleanliness), what’s hanging on your walls will prove to be the difference between a dormy college-apartment, and a REAL apartment.
Art can be expensive, so it might be best to avoid trying to purchase hand painted oil-on-canvas, but fear not: if you are artistic, try and make your own. If you aren’t? I am sure that you can find SOMEONE on a college campus that fancies themselves an artist and would be happy to make an extra 10-20 bucks to make you some cool shit. Worst case scenario? You pick up some art from your local craigslist or goodwill. You can also try decorative shelving, mirrors, wall-sconce lighting and many other options.
#5 – Decorative Knick-Knacks
Decorative knick-knacks, like art, obviously will depend on an individuals taste. However, they can really do a lot to make an apartment go from stark and empty feeling to cozy and homey feeling. It is definitely important not to over-do it though. Too many knick-knacks, no matter how tasteful, is clutter. Clutter is but another characteristic of college apartments. For decorative knick-knacks such as glass candle holders, vases, coasters, and other items, Goodwill is KING. Ebay is also great for finding interesting items for relatively cheap. A lot of the time you can buy in bulk. Check out the Moroccan style lantern in the picture at eBay.
Finally, ditch the bottles lining the mantle. Way too often, college students place all their empty bottles along their cabinets or shelves, and it looks sooo tacky. Whether you think it looks like a “classy” restaurant bar, or you just want to herald how much you drink, it makes your apartment look trashy.