What You Need For Your First Student Apartment

This post brought to you by CORT. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Living Between the Lines.

Moving into an apartment for the first time is nerve wracking. At home or in dorms, you have a bit of a safety net – you most likely had dining hall access, someone else cleaning the (communal) bathroom, and a freedom from those dreaded utility payments. Apartment life? Not so much. But it has its perks! A kitchen to cook all your favorite foods, a bathroom you don’t have to share (as much), and more reliable WiFi are just some of the perks you can look forward to. But I won’t pretend that the transition is always easy, so how do you prepare for the move into that first student apartment? I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for setting up the apartment of your dreams – a listbuilding strategy, a partnership with CORT Furniture Rental for an option you might not have thought of, and a few details everyone (even me!) seems to forget.

What You Need For Your First Student Apartment

student apartment header The internet has tons of shopping lists available, but they’re always so generic. The real question is, what do you need for your first student apartment? By tailoring all your apartment needs to your own life – not just a list a stranger made – you’ll be able to make the place your own in no time. Should you have a shopping list? Probably. And looking around online is a great way to find ideas. But those lists won’t be tailored to your life, your needs, and your habits. So when you start thinking about what you need to buy, try this: Keep a note of all the things you use throughout the day. I find it helpful to split this into chunks, like “morning routine,” “coming home between classes,” “getting ready for bed” – that kind of thing. The list is going to be a lot bigger than you expect, and it’s probably going to contain more than you’ll actually need for your first student apartment, but it’s a great start. Compare your list to shopping lists that seem relevant. This is a great way to cut “What if I’m forgetting something?” stress, as well as “What if this list doesn’t have everything need?” stress. The list itself should be tailored to you, but there are a few things everyone will need.

The Big Picture

In a student-dominated area, you should have a lot of housing choices – including furnished vs. unfurnished apartments. This is a pretty important choice. Furnished apartments are easy. You don’t have to buy new furniture or worry about packing it up when you move. But it’s harder to customize a pre-furnished apartment to your style, and the furniture itself can be kind of beat up, low quality, or even gross. Oh, and you’re looking at spending a lot more in rent. If your first student apartment is furnished, make sure you know exactly what pieces will come with it, and which (if any) will be replaced, and what happens if something gets damaged. An unfurnished apartment means you have a lot more control over your space, but it comes at a price – namely, buying new furniture and figuring out what to do with it when you likely move in a year. Luckily, I’ve partnered with CORT to tell you about an option I wish I’d known about – you can actually just rent furniture for the length of your lease. Think getting the best of both worlds, which gives you more time to kick back and relax. Renting furniture means less hassle and more time spent relaxing. A lack of storage space and the high price of completely furnishing an apartment always turned me off of unfurnished options, even ones I loved. But furniture rental gives you the best of both worlds – the control and lower rent of an unfurnished unit, plus the low entry cost and stress-free moving of a furnished one. CORT’s plans start at $119 a month for students, which, in my market, is less than the difference between most furnished and unfurnished units. If your market is similar, this might be a great option for you – especially if you’re splitting the costs among roommates. In the end, you’ll have to choose the option that works best for you and your life – but be aware that you have a lot more choices than you might think, and that some of them could save you a lot of time, stress, and money!

The Details

One of the best things about moving from the dorms to an apartment is getting to be a little freer with your design choices. No need to stress about making sure your apartment looks perfect and every shade of blue match. Nine months in, my apartment’s décor is still a work in progress, and that’s fine. But think about a general theme or a couple of colors that you like in advance, and work with that idea (and your roommates!) to come up with a place that feels like home. All the recommendations from my dorm style guide carry over, if you’re looking for inspo! Another thing people tend to do is overbuy. Décor is super fun, and I can’t say I blame you. My usual solution is to focus on beautifying the spaces you use most. For me, it meant getting string lights and sheer curtains to turn my bed into a gorgeous oasis. I’m also all about productivity, so I’ve invested in making my desk one of the prettiest, friendliest places in my apartment. I keep my desk bright and clean, with lots of gold and earthy decor. So how do you choose what areas to prioritize? Think about your own life. For me, I chose a place I knew I’d spend a lot of time (in bed), and a place I wanted to spend more time (my desk). That system worked really well for me, and I love the way my room’s set up. Sure, I don’t have a whole bunch of cute wall art in the kitchen, but I don’t spend a whole lot of time there, either. So if you give yourself a weekly spa day to de-stress, splurging on a super-soft bath rug and cute toiletries is a great investment. And if, unlike me, you spend a ton of time in the kitchen, some cute wall art might be in order for you. The best thing about a student apartment is that it’s your space, maybe for the first time ever. Don’t feel guilty for making it reflect your needs and priorities!

So How Do You Move Forward?

Finding a new place to live can be overwhelming, but hey – it doesn’t have to be hard. Use lists for reference, but make sure you tailor them to yourself and your life so they fit just right. Make sure you’re aware of all your options when it comes to your first student apartment – options like CORT Furniture Rental would have made my life easier this time last year! And focus on the spaces that are most important to you. With that in mind, you should be on track to feel at home in no time.

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