Studying at university brings plenty of fun activities, new experiences, new friends, perhaps a new town, a new country. And maybe, this is when you move to your first own home.
And although it might be fun to study with all sorts of benefits, it isn’t a time when you have a lot of money. You’ll have to budget, get an extra job, and prioritize. But I do believe that you can make your home cozy, pretty, and functional, even though it might be old and/or small! Here is a list of advice for how to make your apartment “you”:
1. Layout and furnishing
Student apartments are small. Sometimes tiny. Your kitchen, bedroom, and office might all be the same space. And of course, this makes furnishing even harder. But more space does not automatically equal a nicer or more beautiful home.
My first point concerns the layout of your apartment and my first advice would be to not place all your furniture up the walls! It might feel like you exploit the most by getting as much floor space as possible. But this makes the space feel cramped. It makes you aware of walls, making it feel like a room with furniture rather than a furnished room. Play around with your furniture!
The second piece of advice regards the furniture. Most rental apartments are white, or maybe a pale, sunbleached yellow-ish color. You know the color… And often you aren’t allowed to change that. For a more colorful space – you have to bring in color through your furniture. Paint your desk or table and chairs, or pick a colorful couch!
Lastly, furniture can be used as dividers to create rooms within your room. A bookshelf can create privacy and divide your bed from the rest of your room or maybe create a hallway by acting as a wall.
But make it cute! Storage is key in small spaces. Firstly – use the space underneath your bed, IKEA has plenty of under-bed-storage.
It’s hard to hide storage in small spaces, so don’t. Make it cute instead. Match the boxes on your bookshelf, store your pencils in a glass jar on your desk, or buy a basket to keep your toilet paper in. Baskets might be the cutest way to store all sorts of things. Tops, pads, and other bathroom utilities for example.
If you need more storage you could get a casket as a coffee table, or if you are able to find some old vintage suitcases that will work wonderfully too.
This is really a subjective topic – You like the colors you like and you decide how few or how many colors you like to incorporate in your home. But if you have trouble implementing colors, then I have some advice for you: White, grey, and black go with everything. Use these colors for the larger furniture, and incorporate metallic elements, silver or gold for example. Lastly, choose an accent color. Buy pillows, curtains, and other decorations in these colors. If you need more inspiration, go to Pinterest and search “[your color of choice] color palette” and you will find everything you need.
Plants add so much to a room. They create a homey feeling, add color, and are just pretty. But they’re expensive. Therefore I’ll advise you to get your hands on some cuttings. You can achieve this by asking your friends, mother, grandpa, father-inlaw, or cousin for a small branch from almost every plant there is. Put the cutting in a glass of water and wait for it to grow roots. After planting the cutting you’ve got yourself a free plant! There are also facebook groups where people trade cutlings!
Big plants could be used as dividers and separate your kitchen from your living space for instance. Another thing I’d like for you to think about when putting your plants in place is that you don’t have to put them on the floor or on the window sill. You can hang your plants. Either if you have a hook in the ceiling on the wall, or from the curtain rod.
More advice for those who’d like to add more color to their spaces: Textiles! Curtains, carpets, blankets, and pillows. If I only could choose one of the above it would be curtains, and I’ll give you three reasons why:
- Function. I can only speak for myself, but I love to sleep in a pitch-black room.
- Great way to add color or pattern to your home.
- DECORATION! Curtains can help the illusion to make your room look bigger. By putting your curtain rod high, maybe all the way up to your ceiling, it might appear as if you have a higher ceiling. If you buy a broader rod than you actually need, you get the illusion that your window is bigger than it is.
6. Posters, paintings and mirrors
Posters, paintings, and pictures should be both beautiful and personal. It’s your home, make sure to fill it with things you love! Posters aren’t the most affordable options though. But you know what is? Developing pictures! And there are plenty of websites that offer this service.
7. Second hand
I find it hard to see how you could’ve missed the upbringing of secondhand. It’s not just good for the environment and your wallet, it is also so much fun. You’ll find unique and fun furniture, clothes, and ornaments in second-hand stores. Things you never would’ve found in regular stores.
In Jönköping, you’ll find several amazing second hands. In the center of town, you’ll find Busfrö and PMU Second Hand to name two. Although these stores mainly sell clothes, you can definitely find wine glasses, decanters, vases and cups, and so on. But if you want to buy an interior for your home then you will not regret paying a visit to Erikshjälpen on Herkulesvägen. They sell everything from vases to couches to cameras to clothes and cabinets. This is where you’ll find your 70’s bed table, those chairs you’re going to paint, baskets to store blankets beside your couch, pots and vases for your plants, curtains and a tablecloth, beautiful paintings and frames for your posters, a chandelier to hang over your kitchen table or a floor lamp to put in your reading nook and of course you’ll find plenty of decorations and ornaments.
8. Do it yourself
We’ve come to the end of my list of advice to make your student apartment feel more like home. And I want to leave you with some things you can do on your own, things that most certainly will be unique and personal without making a big mark in your bank account.
- Paint furniture. As already mentioned, paint your furniture in a fun color to bring character and color to your space.
- Use one thing as another. Just because the packaging says ”sheets” doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a tablecloth, and so on. Let your imagination set the limit, as they say.
- As I stated earlier, paintings and posters can be expensive. So instead – paint your own! Or, if you are lucky and have a creative and talented friend, ask them to paint or design a painting or poster for you.
- For the more ambitious DIY:er another small yet effective change you can do is to change handles and knobs on cabinets or dressers.
- Save glass jars from food items (such as jam or marmalade), wash them out, and use them as vases or pots. Or you could store dry goods such as chia seeds or oats in them and place them in the open. Either on an open shelf or on the counter.
I hope I have left you at least a little bit more inspired and that you after reading this have ideas on how to make your apartment more like home, more like you.