Living with roommates in a college apartment or house means lots of mismatched décor, furniture and opinions. Even if you’re living on your own, chances are that you’ve grabbed an old couch from your grandma’s basement and a recliner from the garage sale down the street. Whether you’re living with roommates or living on your own in college, there are lots of ways to create a cohesive look and feel and avoid stress in your living situation. Additionally, you can create a look that can stand the parties, and you can avoid creating a look that feels too stuffy and uninviting.
Your Personal Space
Although the easiest solution is to create “zones” where you have your space and your roommate has his or her own, it can potentially create problems if someone starts moving in on your zone. Keep your personal space to your bedroom, and you can decorate that room whatever way you want.
To help determine what items will fit in with the décor style, unpack all of your items. Identify items that will work for the common spaces: living room, dining room, den, kitchen and more. Determine if bigger items, such as the couch, coffee table and other furniture, will fit the space. Living with roommates can be tough enough, so the last thing you want is to be on top of one another, which can cause more fights.
If you provided a couch and your roommate moved in a love seat and both of which are mismatched, it can become a challenge. A simple solution is to purchase matching slipcovers to cover the couches. Determine the measurements of your couch. If you find that the slipcover gets pulled off of the couch easily, use PVC plumbing pipes to tuck the slipcovers in behind the cushions.
If there is a common color in both couches, consider purchasing throw pillows and/or a blanket that brings out that common color.
Create a uniform look with your coffee table and side tables by stripping, sanding and restaining the surface of the tables. Use a stain that will match with your dining room or kitchen table, if necessary.
Stick to a particular color scheme and décor theme when hanging up items on the wall. Avoid covering your walls with art, pictures, etc., as it can make your space feel smaller. Keep it simple, and include pictures of your friends, your roommate’s friends, etc.
Place a round area rug to add warmth to the room. Area rugs are perfect for apartments, as they absorb sounds, including those from noisy neighbors. If your furniture is neutral in color, adding a colorful area rug can give the space more character. Depending on the rug, it can help create a fun and welcoming vibe to your college space. Remember to consult with your roommate to get an area rug that incorporates your varying styles.
If each of you brought your own dishes, glasses, bowls, etc., get creative. The more eating utensils and the more dishes, the better; it’s not a bad problem to have. Consider alternating the dishes in the cupboard, or place the matching sets on individual shelves in the cupboard.
To have the kitchen table match the rest of the house, recover the chair cushions to match the fabric found in the living room. For example, find fabric that matches the throw pillows. This will create a uniform look, but it can also give your kitchen table more character.
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/kali9