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31 College Apartment Ideas

You've moved into an apartment, probably the first one you could call your own. Whether you moved from a dorm or your family home, this is a major accomplishment. You've finally got your own space, or maybe space you share with just one roommate, and it's nice to have a little more room and privacy than you did at home or in dorms. Now you just need some college Apartment Ideas to help set it up.


1) Complete Cooking Set in One

One of the things you're going to have to do now that you have a new apartment is get household supplies, which can be an expensive shopping trip. This can be rough if you're not planning to stay in the apartment after college, so we suggest getting some cheap supplies so that you won't feel bad if you decide to throw them out instead of moving them to your next apartment or house. Try a complete kitchen set like this from Amazon since it's cheap, and you don't have to take the time to pick and choose every piece.

2) Hand Tools

If you want to be able to upkeep your own apartment, fix tiny things that come up like loose screws in cabinets, and assemble furniture that comes in kits, you're going to need tools. It's a part of being a homeowner and an apartment owner, even if somebody is in charge of apartment maintenance. Unfortunately, while electric tools are faster, they're also expensive. Since you're not likely to use these tools much after initially putting together some furniture, we suggest getting hand tools. Check out this article to learn what kinds of things you can do without electric tools.

3) DIY Wood Glue

There's probably somebody in charge of repairs at your apartment complex, so you might be thinking that you don't need any tools. That's true enough, but what if you want to make some cheap and easy furniture or put together cheap furniture kits? One way to make your own furniture with almost no effort, tools, or know-how is to use wood glue. Take a look at this video from Do It On A Dime to learn how you can make a crate nightstand or bookcase with just craft store crates and wood glue.

4) Folding Chairs

You're going to need to buy a lot of furniture, but if this is only a temporary apartment until you're out of school, you'll want cheap or easily movable furniture so that you can throw it away or move it to your next apartment. Folding chairs like these are an excellent option for that since they're both cheap and portable. Since they're not the most comfortable chairs out there, you might want to consider investing in one comfortable chair, too, though.

5) DIY Door Hangers

Door hangers are a fun thing that you might've had in your bedroom as a kid, and they can be useful now if you have roommates. Since you've probably got your own room now, you can get door hangers letting people know not to disturb you because you're studying, or even one that tells the pizza guy to knock because the bell doesn't work. You can find all kinds of templates to make a custom door hanger at this site.

6) Floor Couch

If you can afford your own place, congratulations. For those of you sharing your first apartment, here's an idea to help you get more roommates without being unnecessarily crowned. You can have one person sleep comfortably in the living area by getting a floor couch like this. Then, if they move out, or just during the day every day, you can fold it up into a couch. It could also be a comfortable gaming spot or an extra bed for a friend who didn't want to drive home in the evening.

7) Chalkboard Paint

You've finally got a chance to do anything you want with your space, and while you probably can't do anything permanent to the walls of a rental apartment, you can do so many things with your furniture. One neat way to turn anything into a study tool is to get chalkboard paint and use it on any surface you like. You'll have a chalkboard for to-do lists, reminders, and even chores lists if you have roommates. To create chalkboards with it, take a look at this tutorial.

8) Microwave Plate Covers

One thing you might not be used to doing if you lived at home is cleaning. Even if you had chores, you probably didn't have to do all of them while studying and attending classes, and frankly, you're probably going to be exhausted and need ways to make chores easier. Try things like this microwave plate cover. It'll keep stuff from splattering in the microwave, and you can just toss it in the dishwasher. This way, you won't have to clean the microwave as often.

9) Foldable Bar

If you lived on a dry campus or if your parents were strict, you probably weren't able to drink at home before. Now that you live in your own apartment, you can even have your own bar, and we highly recommend that you get a bar, even if it's not for alcoholic beverages. It's a convenient and easy place to pour a drink or just prepare a snack if you don't have enough counter space. Try this foldable bar so that you can take it with you when you move more easily

10) DIY Cheap Art

Just because you're probably only going to live in this apartment for four years doesn't mean you can't have nice things. You might be thinking that it's not worth worrying about cosmetics, but having a space that looks nice can make you feel better during stressful times. You can find ways to make your own art to keep expenses down, and you'll be able to customize each piece. Try starting with instructions like the ones in this video by MadeByFate, and then customize the pieces so that you like them.

11) Mail Inbox and Key Holder

If you're going to need roommates to afford an apartment, there are a few considerations you'll have to make. For instance, you'll probably share the same mailbox, and you'll need some way to keep things organized so that you don't lose mail when a roommate carelessly sets it on a table somewhere. You can get something like this mail organizer and key holder to make sure your roommates have a clear place to put stuff and keep keys and mail from getting lost.

12) Easily Portable Mirror

If you're going to move out after college, you might not want to get a lot of heavy and expensive furniture that'll be hard to move and that you don't want to get rid of later. If you tend to grow attached to your accessories or don't want something that you'll just have to throw away later, you can get neat things like this portable mirror. Things like this won't take up a lot of space on a desktop, and you can take them with you when you move out.

13) Plywood

Plywood is often a cheap way of making things since it tends to cost less than wood boards. If you want to try and make your own furniture, it's definitely a cheap option. We even found some instructions for making plywood shelves. Here's a brief tip; you can do all of the cuts in these instructions with a circular saw instead of a miter or table saw. Just use a chalk line or ruler to mark the line before cutting, and look up the directions to do so if you're not sure.

14) DIY Cheap Industrial Art

If you're paying for college and trying to afford an apartment at the same time, you might have cut art out of your budget, figuring that it's not essential, but it's an important part of making your mark on your first place. It'll also help you feel more relaxed and at home when you're stressed-out from studying or taking tests. You'll need a way to get art for little money and effort, though. To help you out, we found an extremely easy and almost no-cost craft that only requires drinking straws and tin foil to make a professional-looking decoration.

15) Basic Toolset

You might not have thought of it, but if you haven't had your own place before, you've probably never had to maintain a home. Even if there's a maintenance guy for your apartment, you're not going to want to call them for simple things like a loose screw in a door latch, particularly if it's keeping your front door from opening. You can also use a basic toolset like this one from Amazon to put together furniture kits since they're typically cheaper than pre-assembled pieces. This kit has a lot of tools commonly used for furniture.

16) Dirty Jokes

You're not living with your family anymore, and if you lived in a strict household, you probably had some limits to what things you were allowed to have. Whether your family was strict or not, you might've felt uncomfortable making dirty jokes around them, but now you don't have to worry about that. You're in your own apartment, and you can get decorations or, in this case, drinkware, with dirty jokes on them. We found this glass that says, "I love to wrap my hands around it and swallow," to get you started.

17) DIY Chore Chart

If you have roommates, one of the things that can become frustrating really fast is chores. You don't want to be stuck doing all of them, and you don't want to live in a pigsty. Unfortunately, if you're all college students, you're probably busy and tired, and you might have radically different schedules. One way to make sure things get done is to make a simple chore chart that's easy to use and follow, like this one from The Handmade Home. The next trick is getting your roommates to use it.

18) Team Banners

College sports are a huge deal in America, and if you support your teams, you might want to show it in your apartment. The team members would appreciate the off-campus support, and you can use your college colors to decorate. Try making team banners with this video. It's a relatively simple craft, and it's cheap so that you can afford the time and money to make it and support your college's team or another favored team.

19) Plastic Kitchenware

There are some things that are worth spending good money on to make your new apartment feel more like home, and there are some things that you can go the cheap route on to save a buck. When it comes to your plates, bowls, and cups, you probably aren't going to grow overly attached to them, so you can afford to get cheap but functional ones like these. They still have a pretty color and can be put in the dishwasher, but they're inexpensive plastic.

20) Rent Furniture

It might seem like an odd choice, but one way to get furniture that you don't have to move with you when you finish college is to rent it. For seniors, in particular, it's an excellent choice for your last semester or last year, and renting is generally cheaper than buying. You can check out this guide from Interior Furniture Resource to learn how to get furniture for less money, either by renting or by getting cheap furniture you won't miss if you leave it behind.

21) Shower Caddy

If you have a couple roommates to be able to afford your college apartment, you might find that certain shared spaces get crowded. For example, the bathroom will probably be a nightmare, but there are ways to make it a little more manageable. We suggest getting a bathroom caddy like this so that you can keep your things in their own separate space and bring them into the bathroom when needed, or hang them in one tidy bundle on the bathroom door.

22) Streaming

This isn't a furniture piece or decoration, but it's certainly a valuable college apartment idea. If you're low on money or if you don't want to sign up for a long-term contract when you're only staying in the apartment until you graduate, streaming is a cheap and low-commitment way to get TV. You can get more channels to watch, and if you're the sort of person who watches shows while studying, you can rewind if you miss parts while focused on your work. We found this guide to help you pick a streaming service if you like the idea.

23) Laundry Backpack

You've probably used laundry baskets and laundry bags, even, but this laundry backpack from Amazon is pretty neat. It should be a comfortable and convenient way to carry your laundry to laundry facilities, and even if you just have to go to the basement, it could be a more comfortable way to carry your laundry, soap, and such. The neat thing is that it also works as a regular backpack for carrying books, and you can buy a couple and use one for laundry.

24) Wall-Mounted Desk

If you have to get roommates to afford your own apartment, you might not have a lot of space, even if it's bigger than a dorm room or your bedroom at home. You'll want the apartment to feel larger than your previous space, even if you have to share a room. One way to get more room and make it feel like you have plenty of space is to get a wall-mounted desk like this with a desktop that folds up. This'll take up less floor space, and the desktop won't waste any room when you're not using it.

25) Set Up a Bar Cart

If you couldn't drink at home or on campus, it could be nice to have a bar now that you have your own space. You probably can't afford a full-sized bar, and you might not have quite enough room for it, but you can design a small bar cart for little money using the directions from this article by Real Simple. The nice thing about a bar cart is that you don't have to build anything since you can get a cheap cart from Amazon as a base.

26) Card Table

One of the more expensive items you'll need for your apartment is a kitchen table, but if you're not concerned about having a fancy table, you can just get a cheap card table like this one from Amazon. It's cheaper than most tables, and you can fold it and take it with you when you leave, though you might choose to use it for playing cards instead of a kitchen table or desk once you have the money for a real dining room table.

27) DIY Key Holder

If you have a habit of tossing your keys somewhere when you get home, you might start to run into a problem if you have roommates. Roommates aren't always neat and tidy, and you might find that keys get moved or covered up by accident, so if you have a roommate or more than one, you might want to make something like one of these keyholders from Classy Girl Guide to College to keep things organized.

28) Cheap TV Stand

If you don't have a lot of money, you're going to have a lot of trouble buying all the things you need to get a new apartment ready. You're also probably going to leave behind a lot of furniture when you move out after college, so you'll have to decide which furniture is worth investing money in, if any. A TV stand probably isn't worth investing a lot in, so we're suggesting a small, cheap one like this that's easy to store.

29) Wood Crate Furniture

One way to get through college without investing money you can't afford in furniture is to make cheap and easy pieces using craft supplies like wood crates. Wood crates are excellent because you can make a lot of things, from a coffee table with storage to a footrest to a desk, nightstand, or bookshelf. You can look at this article from The DIY Playbook to get one idea for wooden crate furniture. If you're low on space, almost any crate furniture will have plenty of storage, too.

30) Use Desk Tops

If you're low on space, or if you got excited when you got your own place and went nuts buying new things, you'll start to realize you're running out of places to put things. In college, it's important to stay organized in your office more than anywhere else, even if your office is just a desk in your bedroom. You can get desktop organizers like this to increase your usable desk space and keep your work organized.

31) Folding Desk

In four years or less, you're probably going to move to a new apartment to start your after-college life, and you'll want to take some things with you since you'll have student debt and need to reestablish yourself cheaply. You can prepare for that by getting stuff like this folding desk that's easy to move. This one is great because it should be comfortable to use in the meantime, but it's easy to fold up when it's time to go.


What're you looking for in a college apartment? Did you find it here? Please let us know in the comments below.


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