Theresa's Mixed Nuts: Your College Student's First Apartment

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Your College Student's First Apartment

A college student's first apartment offers an exciting opportunity to live independently for probably the first time ever. Just as important, getting an apartment provides a fun opportunity to decorate it as desired, often in unique and creative ways that Mom and Dad might not necessarily appreciate at home.

One thing to keep in mind for most college students is cost. Few can afford to decorate a place to live with all new furnishings. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to find innovative designs at cheap prices to decorate an apartment to suit an individual student's taste. Here are a few tried and proven strategies.


Graduating students often sell apartment or dorm furnishings dirt cheap. Check campus publications and ads as well as dorm or local apartment housing for fliers offering great deals. Families of college grads may also have extra furniture they want to dispose of if the graduate is relocating for a new job.

Thrift stores

Second-hand stores often feature used furniture at unbeatable prices. Bed frames, book stands, chairs, tables, desks, and sofas are periodically available. If you take advantage of daily store discounts, you can save even more. Goodwill, for example, has a daily color discount that slashes fifty percent off the purchase price. Donors are offered twenty-percent off coupons. Frequent shopper discounts may also be available.

Yard sales

From spring through autumn, yard sales and garage sales are good places to find cheap furniture and furnishings. Draperies are often on hand at bargain prices. Add ribbon, new hanging rings, or a tie-back for a fresh new look. Estate sales, tag sales, and auctions are more ways to get nice things at low cost.

Online ads

Craig's list and eBay are two popular places to buy inexpensive things for an apartment. Photos and descriptions may be posted for quick reference. As always, be careful and take someone along when going to see an item at an unknown location.

Campus surplus

Some college campuses offer occasional sales of surplus items like chairs and desks. Check with the campus facilities office to find out if sales will be held in the near future. Prices are usually extremely low, although selections may be limited.

Furniture outlets

Furniture stores sometimes have a discount room or area for items that can be bought cheaply. This is a good place to find an inexpensive kitchen table with a couple of chairs, a nightstand, or other supplemental furniture. Chances are the prices are a little higher than buying used items, but the tradeoff is these things are new and in mint condition.

Make it

Use personal or family creative talent to make some of your own furnishings or furniture. Curtains, bedspreads, and slipcovers help to dress up any room. Making your own with selected fabrics and a mother's loving touch makes them all the more meaningful. The same is true in woodworking. Making a table or other furniture items means they will always be special; having them in a student apartment will remind you of home and a parent's love.

After adding a fresh coat of paint to the apartment, furnishings can be coordinated to create a unique design or theme that will make the place all your own. Add house plants for a homey and healthy touch. Select used or inexpensive new dishware that goes with the kitchen colors and style. Get decorative throw pillows for the bed, sofa, or patio chairs to coordinate colors and patterns throughout the apartment. A table lamp and wall art will provide finishing touches to make the apartment unique and enjoyable for your college life.

Bio -

This guest post is courtesy of The Ivy Apartments located in Rexburg, Idaho. The Ivy is known for BYU-Idaho women’s housing and the amenities it provides resident students.


  1. I shared a room with another boy at first year of college, but only for a few months because then the NATO bombings started and the year pretty much went to hell... In other years I rented a room and had a nice gent for a landlord.

  2. I was stuck in the dorms in college, so they came with pretty much everything. Just needed the essentials and that was that.

  3. These are great tips. I remember those days, and I get to relieve it by listening to my students.

  4. My step son is going off to college in September, but around here it's rare to get an apartment - they all go into dorms.

  5. I remember those days. My Grandkids are both in college and their first apartment was a few years back.

  6. These are great tips. My son is gong to be starting college, but he is going to live at home. I am not ready for him to leave the nest.

  7. Yes! These are awesome ideas. My kids bought some things at Habitat for Humanity reStores. Students post Craigslist ads frequently in the weeks before big move-out days too.

  8. Oh my. I am not at the point to think of all this yet but these are really great ideas! Here kids usually live at home while they go to college! - Jeanine

  9. These are great tips. I never left for college. I stayed with my family and I loved it because I didn't have to bother with cooking, laundry etc. :)

  10. My daughter is actually considering getting an apartment this year since the dorms are so expensive and so tiny. Will definitely check out sales when it's time.

  11. My daughter worked as an RA all through college to pay for her room and board. Now that she has graduated, she has a cute little apartment.

  12. I shudder to think about when my boys are old enough to go away to college. These are important things to prepare for in the future.

  13. These are great tips! There's nothing more exciting than furnishing your first apartment!

  14. I was so bummed that I never got to move out for my college experience. I did save money by staying at home though & finished grad school sans debt!

  15. we have different system back home so I still stayed in my parents' home during my uni year..But I can imagine how excited it to live on your own in your own place


Thanks for your comments! I appreciate every one of them :)

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