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Tips for your space that transcend inflatable furniture

Tips for your space that transcend inflatable furniture

Hello, kids! Welcome back to campus. You’ve got classes to attend, friends to make, and experiences to have. With so much to do and accomplish, if you are also earnest about and interested in creating a stylish college apartment, I congratulate you. My own college home-style memories are riddled with two parts glorious overindulgence and one part disappointment. Maybe you, or anyone else out there putting together a stylish space on a shoestring, can adjust your pure-hearted expectations of grandeur by learning from my mistakes.

On roommates and financial limitations. If you are controlling (like me), you’ll want to remember that living with others means not being able to dictate every detail of your décor. One roommate will inevitably own a wicker loveseat, a coffee table, and matching side tables she spray painted black and for which she sewed red, white, and black cushions. It’s not exactly your style. Actually, you detest wicker. Worse, the only thing you can offer are some salmon-colored club chairs from your folks. Enter another roommate’s large, ‘80s, cream-colored, textured sofa, and you are now in what was my college living room. It wasn’t exactly style town.

I just chose to be thankful I had somewhere to sit. Telling someone off about their wicker isn’t going to solve any problems when you don’t have the money or the time to replace it with something better.
Really, telling someone off about their wicker will never solve problems, ever. 

Your bedroom, the place to experiment. Focus here. This is the room where you can make decisions. Colors can coordinate, hideous things can be banned. Sigh. You may not always have a room that truly belongs only to you, so this is the time and place to do as you wish.

In college, I chose an extreme venture into florals and hot pink. It was, visually, one of the best times of my life. Curious about sponge painting? Think neon green may be your spirit color? Do your research now. It’s college! I got crazy, for sure, with patterns. You can, too. Forget drugs, experiment with fabrics.

A note for college men. I dated a lot of boys in college, but I didn’t continue dating the ones who lived in squalor. I’m not on the market anymore, but I think it’s still pretty par for the course to sift the dating pool for men who have their shit together. Good news, fellas—it’s actually a low bar. Have a dresser to get clothes off the floor, a laundry hamper, a sofa, and some chairs so a guest might sit if she or he likes. Super, mega bonus points for things generally going together. A blue bedspread and a blue lamp in the same room gets an A for effort.

This is real talk. You should take time to arrange your rooms, put things away, and coordinate your various pieces, at least some. This is the place where you will study for important exams, party with people you may one day marry, and where you will begin to become the person you’ll be as an adult. Respect it as such. No one likes to go to a raging party or study ‘sesh at a place with no clean toilet. This is the stage for the story of your life. For God’s sake, at least keep it sanitized.

Hard-Hitting Truths

Multi-purpose is your friend. You know how you want to be seen, really seen, for your many interesting talents and traits? So does furniture. The coffee table I put under my college bedroom window lived an illustrious life as a desk, a dining table, and a side table. Treat your furniture how you’d like to be treated. Your small space will thank you for it.

Shop vintage or second hand. I love vintage for its history and patina. You may love vintage because it is the best way to get good quality for less. You won’t find a vintage bookcase with a cardboard back and, consequently, your roommate’s boyfriend won’t accidentally punch through it at a party, and you won’t hide in your closet and cry over your lame loss. Do you want to party at your parties? Do you? Buy quality vintage.

Let people give you things. Seriously, even if it’s sadly, lower your expectations. Hand-me-downs are crazy-economical, even if they are not the home furnishings of your dreams. Study hard, get a job, then buy what you want.