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Decoration Ideas for a College Kid's Apartment

by Shelley Frost

A college apartment is often the first chance a student has to decorate a living space all her own. Personal touches make a boxy apartment feel a little more like home as your student is gaining independence but may feel a little homesick. Apartment complexes often have restrictions on decorating, and may restrict nailing into or painting on the walls. With the apartment rules in mind, you can help your young adult put her personality into her apartment.

Add Color

Color is a simple way to add personality to your college student's apartment. Painting isn't often an option in a rental. It's worth asking the landlord if your child wants to paint a wall or two. If the answer is no, you can add color through other methods. A coat of bright paint on furniture, such as the entertainment center or a dresser, breaks up the sea of white that typically overtakes an apartment. Wall art also works. A painted canvas is light enough to hang from plastic adhesive hooks that won't require nail holes. Brightly colored curtains hung with tension rods add splashes of color on the walls.

Decorate With Storage

Most college apartments aren't huge, so adding storage is a functional way to decorate the space. A freestanding shelf provides a spot to store textbooks and other essentials while giving your child a place to display her decorations. Add decorative baskets or bins to the shelf for smaller items and to add visual interest. Larger baskets or tubs around the apartment offer additional storage. Furniture that serves a dual purpose, such as an ottoman with storage underneath, makes better use of the space while adding to the overall decor.

Coordinate Details

The furnishings in a first apartment are often random pieces from different sources. The eclectic look is an affordable way to fill the space, but having some connection between the pieces makes the apartment look cohesive. The scale of the furniture is one consideration. A huge entertainment center takes up a lot of floor space and dwarfs other furniture pieces. Keeping a similar scale with all of the furniture pieces makes the apartment look balanced without making any one piece stick out. Pieces with a similar style and color palette also help create a coordinated look.

Incorporate Personality

Your college student likely wants to put her own stamp on her apartment decor. Personal touches make the space feel more comfortable. Her favorite decorations from her bedroom at home help with homesick feelings. Items that show her accomplishments or talents, such as an award she won in high school or a piece of artwork she made herself, set the space apart. Decor that represents her interests is another way to infuse the apartment with personality. Examples include artwork that depicts her favorite animal, a collection of vinyl records or vintage furniture. If she has a roommate, meshing the two personalities is sometimes a challenge. Work with the roommate to strike a balance in the apartment decor.

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