Dealing with Roommates: How to Share Your Studio

in Roommates on by

It is a challenge to share a studio with a roommate or two, but it is possible. However, there are many factors that need to come into play for a successful, symbiotic relationship and/or living arrangement to occur.

Friend or Faux

Living with a friend or family member in a small space is often somewhat easier than sharing with a stranger. On the other hand a stranger may offer a less emotionally attached arrangement.

  • Friend – often knows you well enough to tolerate any of your personal habits; is usually trustworthy; can make it fun
  • Stranger – unknown history; unpredictable; can possibly become a friend

Square Footage Fixes

Most studio apartments are small. If you are living in a 500 to 800 square foot space you will have to come up with some innovative ways to optimize your living area.

  • Dividers – there are many companies that offer “non-permanent room dividers”. You can simply do an Internet search for this exact phrase to find one near you or who will ship you all the necessary items that you or a professional can install. Non-permanent is best as it will not cause any conflicts with your landlord when you move out regarding damage to the apartment. If you are handy, you can research and build a divider yourself. There is also the quick and dirty approach by building, buying or finding, stack-able book shelves to use for a makeshift bedroom. Either way a divider gives you and your roommate a chance at some needed privacy regardless of how small it may end up.
  • Furniture – each roommate often comes with their own furniture in tow. The golden rule when living in a small space is “Less is More”. Bulky furniture will close in the space and make it claustrophobic. Stick to futon couches that double as a bed; loft beds which are built on high platforms—opening up space for a desk or couch underneath; and storage cubes that double as impromptu guest seating.

Ground Rules

It is always best to try to draw up an agreement that lists some basics so you and your roommate are on the same page.

  • Noise – this is a big factor especially if there are different sleep patterns, job schedules or various musical tastes involved. Be courteous and aware of your roommate before blasting a stereo or practicing your trombone.
  • Food- be specific as to what is and is not allowable when it comes to eating. Setting up a weekly fund for basics to share such as milk, bread and eggs sometimes works. Otherwise, get a strong magic marker and put your name on anything you do not want touched.
  • Visitors – it is best to give each other advanced notice if you are expecting or entertaining a guest. The luxury of going to your room is often difficult especially if dividers are not in place.
  • Utilities – in addition to sharing the rent, utilities should be discussed. Of course electric and water are a possible share, if it is not included in the rent but what about cable television, air conditioning, wireless Internet and phone services. Be sure and discuss each package carefully and how you want to split the cost.

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