5 College Apartment Decorating Cliches

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Because of the small space and the need to share that space, college apartment decorating is quite difficult. Important too, is the need to avoid those classic decorating clichés that can make your living space appear corny or dated. Below are the five most common decorating mistakes to avoid when arranging your apartment.

1. Cinder Blocks

While it may be tempting to use cinder blocks to hold up boards to make a bookshelf, table or other pieces of furniture, doing so will make it seem as though you have not decorated your apartment. There is no bigger way to announce that you are on a limited-budget or have very little interest in how your apartment appears than to use cinder blocks in your decorating. Furniture and other stores now typically offer inexpensive pieces of furniture to fit small spaces. With a little work putting the piece together, you can have the exact piece you need and avoid using cinder blocks.

2. Posters

While it may be tempting to use framed or unframed posters to decorate your walls, doing so will appear cheap and thoughtless. Avoid using flimsy posters altogether and leave your walls blank. If you absolutely must hang a poster, make sure that it is at least properly mounted and framed. Additionally, completely avoid using any sort of alcohol-related poster in your house. While they may look interesting, they appear very cheap and youthful.

3. Beanbag Chairs

Although many furniture stores have attempted to bring back beanbag chairs, they are still tacky and, honestly, pointless. Essentially, with a beanbag chair, you are asking people to sit on the floor with very little support. Asking your guests to sit on the floor is not a terrible idea, and in large gatherings in a smaller apartment, can even be expected. Beanbags, furthermore, take up a lot of space, which in a small apartment can appear overwhelming and, at the very least, prevent better its better use.

4. Displaying Everything

Because you will most likely not have an overabundance of furniture, it may be tempting to leave everything out in the open where it will be completely visible. Doing so, however, will make your apartment appear very messy, despite any efforts to clean or organize. Instead, consider investing in baskets or other containers, possibly stackable ones, to eliminate this problem. At the very least, putting your belongings into a container will indicate you gave your apartment’s organization thought.

5. Misuse of Rooms

Do not use a room for a use for which it could never be intended. It is one thing to use a living room as a study area, but an entire other thing to use it as a regularly-used second bedroom. Misusing rooms will make your guests feel uncomfortable. It will seem as though they should not be in certain areas or that the apartment is cramped. If you absolutely must repurpose rooms, do so by using a solid divider, such as a wood, free-standing curtain or other piece of furniture.

Avoid decorating your college apartment in a way that will make your guests uncomfortable. By making sure you do not use the aforementioned clichés, you and everyone else will admire and be comfortable in your residence.

8 Responses to “5 College Apartment Decorating Cliches”

  1. August 24, 2010 at 10:57 pm, singh is king said:

    i leave my walls blank and get made fun of.


  2. September 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm, La Z Boy Furniture said:

    You make some interesting points about decorating a college apartment. Thanks for sharing these different tips for avoiding a corny and dated look.


  3. September 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm, Tucson Condos said:

    This should be the standard “Don’t Do’s” for ANY living space! Although the large LoveSac bean bags are pretty comfortable.


  4. November 03, 2010 at 11:11 am, thi_avatar said:

    Items 1-3 totally missed the mark.

    There is nothing wrong with using decorative cinder blocks as part of a furniture item.

    There is also nothing wrong with displaying posters of things you like. It doesn’t matter if it’s a band, an actor/actress, or an alcoholic drink, you should hang up things you enjoy looking at-it never looks cheap or youthful to display things related to your interests.

    Beanbag chairs take up less space than a couch, loveseat, or recliner, can be stacked in a corner or slid under a bed when not in use, and are easier to clean. If they fit your usage better than “real” furniture then the are a better choice.


  5. November 06, 2010 at 2:18 pm, Violetta said:

    You really make a point about the beanbag chairs – they are large and very uncomfortable to sit in. Ditto turning the living room into a bedroom.

    However, you’re talking to college students and the nonsense about “properly framed artwork” is ridiculous. Unless it’s purchased pre-framed in a department store, the expense is way too much on a college budget. Who cares if there are cinder blocks and posters?

    I always did my best when I was young and on a limited budget. I always cared about the appearance of my apartment and tried to be creative within my limitations. There’s no need to pour on denigration regarding the less expensive choices available. Who cares if it’s cliched if it expresses the occupant and makes him or her feel comfortable and at home?

    This sort of diatribe is the reason decorating magazines have rarely been seen in my domiciles. Although useful for ideas, the dictatorial “must nots” are too idiotic for words.


  6. November 08, 2010 at 5:59 pm, Tucson Rental Homes said:

    Cinder blocks can work if you are creative. They don’t have to look cheap. If you set them up correctly they can look very industrial. Which is a desired outcome for some.

    Posters can look good if they are nicely framed.

    Bean bags that you buy at the swap meet with your favorite sports team logo on it are uncomfortable and tacky…however they do make nice ones with memory foam in them that are quite expensive and comfortable.

    If #4 is followed, the rest can work. It all comes down to execution and creativity.


  7. November 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm, Bea said:

    No wonder “Staff Writer” chose not to use this byline. Why the harassing tone? You are addressing college kids with probably zero dollars for decorating. That’s what college apartments look like. Your “guests” (other college students) won’t mind as their apartments look just like yours. Cinder blocks can be painted or wrapped as can the boards, beanbag chairs can be just right for playing video games or extra seating. Framed posters are a great source of art – for anyone. Blank walls are not at all appealing. #4 doesn’t really make sense…not sure what you’re referring to…apartments have cabinets in bath & kitchen, and bedroom closets. Trunks, baskets, and other containers, even cardboard boxes wrapped in paper or fabric can be used for extra storage.

    On your next writing assignment, “Staff Writer,” try to check your attitude. You are writing a help article. Avoid using such berating and hostile language. The tone of your piece is condescending and patronizing and therefore not appealing to the audience you are addressing.


  8. December 17, 2010 at 11:46 pm, Danielle said:

    I’m assuming this is meant to be humorous. It’s nice to know college students are still decorating the way I did back in the 80s. But you left out milk crates and the futon draped with an Indian print throw. I think that style of decorating made my guests very comfortable (if by comfortable you mean horny). This brings back a lot of good memories.


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