When you move into your apartment, it’ll be a significant expansion of space from your first dorm. However, the first few weeks of actual live-in time will make you realize that, more space aside, you’re still bumping into furniture and navigating your way through your bedroom like a contortionist in an obstacle course. And if you have other students sharing the apartment, odds are you’ll be spending most of your time in your own bedroom, where you’re completely comfortable and the space is all yours.
So how do you succeed in making your new room look nice and comfortable? Well, the first thing that should go is the desk.
1. Trust Me; You Don’t Need The Desk.
It seems strange that you’d get rid of your desk when you’re a college student. However, the truth is, you’re not going to use that desk most of the time. If you’re an outgoing person, you probably spend most of your time studying at the library. If you’re more of an introvert, then you’re probably guilty of doing your work on the bed, where you can snuggle, eat chips, and skip that club meeting you don’t want to go to. Since most of the population is made up of ambiverts, you’ll probably do a little bit of both.
Odds are that a giant desk isn’t going to do much else but collect dust and stub your toe, creating a health hazard and an extra chore. Get rid of the desk.
Now that you’ve cleared up the desk, you can put more time into beautifying your room with the things you like: that vanity you’ve been eyeing at the local antiques store, a small night table, a comfy armchair…if getting rid of your desk entirely makes you too nervous, you can buy a miniature desk to take up a very small corner of your room, which you can use to store pencils, hide file folder baskets underneath, or display that important assignment that’s due in a few days. Don’t feel pressured to get a chair to go with your desk — it will just take away space and the desk looks nice enough without it.
What if you have that once a year art project? The one that needs a lot of table space? As a messy leftie, I usually just spread out everything on the floor and turn my room into an art studio (that’s possibly been in a tornado). Makes it more fun. However, if you like to remain a little more organized, then there are easily other places you can use: your living room table, the university library tables, dorm common room tables, etc., etc.
What if you want to eat dinner at home? This is an easy solution — I recommend getting a small table, stool, or lap desk which you can store somewhere (such as under your bed), and pull out whenever and wherever you want to eat. My sister and I always had a blast with our “floor picnics”, where we’d sit by the foot of my bed with takeout, a movie, and a mountain of fluffy pillows. Store a floor blanket or floor cushions along with your mini table and you’re good to go.
2. Hide Your Printer
First, I recommend an easy to manage, black and white printer. The simpler the better: plug-in printers are great for this purpose. For major printing jobs, you’ll probably use the library printer (or even the apartment printers, if your residence caters to college students and has a printing center). But whenever you’re in a hurry, don’t want to socialize or are sick of going on printing job trips, you’ll have an easy printer to pull out and use.
Next: find a place to tuck away your printer so it’s not lying around and taking up space. Fold it up somewhere that’s out of the way but easy to access: in a night chest at the foot of your bed, etc. I placed mine under a miniature desk in the corner of my room, stacked on top of an antique briefcase which held the printer paper. Hiding your printer will also take away that ugly, functional feel in your room and make your space homier, so it’s a no-brainer.
3. Step Away From The Brand New TV.
While getting a flat screen TV for your space might sound like an excellent idea, I’d recommend skipping it. A TV (and its accompanying furniture) will take up a lot of valuable space, meaning you’ll have less room in general and a smaller decorating canvas for sprucing up your home. It is far easier to watch movies and shows on your computer, since the screen quality is usually better and you can easily switch to earbuds (in case you want to block out other noise or need to monitor your own noise level). And since most of us Millennials watch our shows through Netflix, Amazon Prime, or other online websites, odds are you won’t even miss the TV watching experience. Especially not with the extra money you now have in your wallet.
Having a cinema party with a bunch of friends? Buy a mini portable projector and play it on the wall or the ceiling.
Don’t feel pressured to get rid of the things mentioned above: if you already have a dream desk layout in mind, keep it! You room is individual to you, and this list is just a suggestion. However, do take the time to go over your room and think about the things you can personally do without. You might be surprised at how much more space you’ll have to truly personalize your home.
Other advice? If you’re cramped for space, go for vertical decorations. A tall and thin corner book case will almost certainly be a better option than a wide book case that goes against the wall. Look for wall decorations and play with decor that stacks. In other words, go up, not out. You should also keep an eye out for foldable furniture — stools that slide under your coffee table, a drawer chest that tucks under the bed, etc. — and multi-purpose furniture, like a headboard that doubles as a display shelf.
Good luck, Champagners!