From Cramped to Cozy – The Ultimate Student Living Guide

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A survival college guide to comfortable living.

From diva to dorm, here are some tips on how to make your new place go from grungy to glamorous all without breaking the bank!

Alright college kiddos, it’s time to decorate YOUR pad. That home away from home that every rebellious teen has dreamt about at least once or (cough) a million times? I know that when it was time for me to leave the nest and venture out into the big “scary” world on my own, I was more than ready. Or so I thought.

Your apartment is your home. Your home away from what’s probably the only home you’ve ever known. It’s the first place that is all yours—minus random roommates or obese cats. But other than that, it’s your domain, the first actual place in your life where you get to make the rules, right? Therefore, this is a pretty important place, and, from sleeping and studying to partying and lounging, you want to make sure your place is chic, cozy and inviting.

Growing up, I feel like most of us live with the motto that more is better. This is so not true. Quality over quantity people. As much as you think you need all those heels (that realistically only work for exactly one outfit), or all those free t-shirts that you got as a freshman year from different organizations, you don’t. Just get rid of it. And just because your friend gifts you with yet another Bath and Body Works lotion set, it’s okay. You’re not a bad friend. Just do it, throw it all away. Seriously.

When living on your own, you will discover the glory and power of simplicity. The less dishes you have to eat off of and clothes you have to wear, the less crap you have to wash, fold, dry, or put away! Yes, it’s nice to have everything from old Halloween costumes to your high school shorts and dresses, why realistically neither fit nor should you be still wearing. Trust me, you don’t really need your old middle school memorabilia at your new place. Just put it in the Parents’ attic and wait until you get married to look at it again.

Don’t go crazy at Home Goods, Tuesdays, or Bed Bath and Beyond either. Yes, I know they have the cutest stuff ever. But make sure you have room and space for the essentials, such as a bed and dresser, before you start adding all that extra (and yes, surprisingly unnecessary) fluff. Although all those cute candles, throw pillows, and random desk decorations look nice, they are just going to create clutter, mess, and possibly hazardous situations.

Fake plants are your best friend. I know succulents are cool and all, but Pinterest is lying to you. They aren’t as easy to take care of as you think. Flowers look nice and whatnot, but if you have any pets in your house, just don’t do it. Many types of flowers are very bad if eaten by both canines and felines. So unless you want to have to deal with extreme bodily functions, possibly expensive emergency vet visits, and the saddening feeling of realizing that you are a bad plant parent, just stick with fake plants. Hobby Lobby and Michaels have every single type of fake plant and hassle free succulent imaginable. They will do wonders towards brightening up your apartment, just without the mess, responsibility, and annoying gnats that seem to always be around plants.

Mood lighting is important, as ambiance is everything! Make sure to put lamps and soft lighting throughout your place so that the vibe is always cozy and inviting. You also want to make sure that there is a tasteful amount of color and decoration around the apartment. Just enough to be refined. A few throw pillows, inspirational wall décor, and pictures of the friends, fam, and loved ones will do wonders at opening and brightening up the space.

So blast some music, get some candles lit, and hang that inviting school-spirited cute wreath outside your door. It’s time for the world to know that you have moved in and arrived!

Disclaimer: Please make sure to consult current roommates or living partners before total home makeover, as their style may differ from your obviously perfect fashion sense. Just be cautious to not step on any toes and cover all bases when decorating.

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