September is nearly over, which means there’s no denying the end-of-summer, back-to-school feeling that comes when the mornings grow chillier, the days shorter, and the leaves browner. And whether you’ve just moved into a dorm, or off-campus housing, or a first “real” apartment, this is the time to think about what you’ll need to make your new dwelling feel like home.
For advice, we turned to Clementine Quittner, a dorm decor doyenne who is in her final year at Brown University (she’s also the daughter of Gardenista editor Michelle). She started off in a cubicle-sized dorm room (roommate included) her freshman year, segued into a shared suite of rooms, spent her junior year overseas, and is now living in an apartment off campus with a group of friends. How has she made the transition from cramped dorm room to more spacious living quarters? And what will she take with her when she moves into her own apartment after she graduates?
Here are her tips:
A bonus piece of advice from Clementine: “Salvation Army! If, like me, you are decorating with mostly a mix of cheap furniture, found objects, and leftovers from graduated students, secondhand/vintage furniture can make your room look so fancy! I bought a beautiful, carved-wood, Victorian dresser and vanity for $20 last year and still get compliments on it from everyone who comes over.”
Frequently asked questions
What should I keep in mind while decorating my first apartment or dorm room?
When decorating your first apartment or dorm room, consider your budget, the size of your living space, and your personal style. Make a list of necessary items, such as a bed, desk, and storage, and prioritize functionality over aesthetics.
What are some essential furniture items for a first apartment or dorm room?
Essential furniture items include a bed, desk, chair, lamp, and storage solutions. A sofa or lounge chair can also be useful for guests, and a dining table or kitchen island is helpful if you have space for one.
How can I make the most of a small living space?
To make the most of a small living space, consider multipurpose furniture such as a bed with storage underneath or a coffee table that doubles as a desk. Use light colors and mirrors to create the illusion of more space and keep clutter to a minimum.
What are some budget-friendly decor ideas for a first apartment or dorm room?
Budget-friendly decor ideas include hanging photos or artworks on the walls, using throw pillows and rugs to add color and texture, and adding plants for a fresh touch. You can also find affordable decor at thrift stores or online marketplaces.
How can I add personality to my first apartment or dorm room?
To add personality to your living space, consider incorporating items that reflect your personal style, such as artwork, textiles, or souvenirs. You can also create a gallery wall of photos or artwork to showcase your interests and memories.