How to Help Your Student Decorate Their Apartment
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By Elana Goodwin, Uloop
Your child moving into an apartment is a big deal — and you’re sure to want to help them decorate their new home at school. However, it’s important not to go overboard or do everything for your student; this will be your student’s home at college and it’s important they make the decisions and feel as if it’s truly theirs.
With that in mind, here’s how you can help your student decorate their apartment.
1. Look at home
Before going out and buying everything apartment-related from a store, you and your student should look at home. It’s highly likely there are duplicates of things your student will need for their apartment hanging around the house already.
Items like dishes, tools, towels, lamps, sheets, etc., that aren’t being used or are extras can be given to your student to use in their apartment. These hand-me-downs will help them get started and negate the need to buy certain items new when older unused ones will do the job fine. Plus, if they really dislike some item from home, like say a lamp, they can always try some DIY updates to make it cuter or to match the rest of their color scheme.
2. Set a budget
Even though you’re the parent, you do not need to pay for everything for your student’s new apartment. It’s obviously nice and appreciated if you pitch in but make sure to set a budget with your student before starting to shop and that they use that budget first on things that are essential.
A bed, desk, dresser, and pots, pans, and silverware should be bought with your budget before your student splurges on a fancy coffee machine or room décor. Guide your student towards affordable and functional items that will last before allowing them to spend the remainder of the budget you gave them on other things they think they need. Be firm about the budget though — if they use it all and still want or need other items for their apartment, they should pay for it out of their own pocket.
3. Don’t go crazy
There are certain essentials that your student will need right away in their apartment — things like a bed, desk, chair, dresser, and kitchen necessities. But other items don’t need to be purchased right away or even brand new. Your student can space out their purchases for their apartment throughout their first semester as they realize what they still need and watch for sales or figure out things with their roommates.
Additionally, many college students sell unwanted or unneeded items online in university Facebook groups or even on Craigslist. Encourage your student to scour those listings for certain apartment items, like a kitchen table and chairs or even a den couch. Not only will those items be local and therefore easy to transport but they will also be significantly cheaper than if those things were bought new.
4. Consult the roommates
It’s imperative when your student is decorating their apartment to consult their roommates on items that will be shared or in common areas. If your student will have their own room in the apartment, decorating it is completely up to them and they can do whatever they want in there.
However, when it comes to decorating rooms like the kitchen, bathroom, den, and any other areas in the apartment that are not only theirs, it’s key that everyone living there gets a say and that the color scheme and items be purchased together or with the others’ approval.
Encourage your student to sit down and discuss ideas with their roommates for the common areas or if everyone agrees, each of them can take a room and decorate it how they want or be responsible for getting any furniture or necessities for that room. What’s important is that the apartment is a place that everyone feels comfortable and like they helped to decorate it, which will make it feel like home.
5. Measure everything
Never buy a big ticket item for the apartment without measuring. The last thing you want is to pay or transport it to your student’s apartment only to realize it’s too big or doesn’t fit the space right. Measure each room in the apartment that big furniture will be bought for — the bedroom and den particularly as a bed, dresser, desk, etc., will have to fit in your student’s bedroom while at least one couch, a coffee table, and TV stand will need to fit in the den. The last thing you and your student want to do is to overcrowd a room as your student will want it to be easy to move around a room and not cumbersome to maneuver around whatever furniture is placed in it.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re helping your student get ready for apartment living and you and your student will have a great experience decorating their apartment!
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