Tag Archives: apartment

Dorm vs. Apartment – Which Is Better?

Filed under: College Life, Living, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper BookRenter Blogger Biography





The beginning of any school year comes with a plethora of decisions to make that can shape your entire year. Most of these decisions are fun because there is a certain reassurance knowing we can always change our minds later. Some may be a little harder to make if it’s a decision you’ll be stuck with for a while, such as choosing whether to stay in an apartment or a college dorm. No matter which one you choose, you’ll have to be fairly confident in your decision because you might, depending on your college, be stuck with it for at least a semester. Chances are you have already moved in to where you will be for the school year. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still think about your decision (and maybe change it if possible), or prepare yourself for a change next semester/year.

Living in a college dorm is different from living in an apartment, but which is better?

1. Expenses

The first thing you should consider when choosing where to live, is what kind of budget you’re on. Financially speaking, dorms can be a lot pricier than living in an apartment or house off campus because meal plans and utilities (sharing a bathroom, etc.) are included (and required) in the individual price. Dorm fees are usually cheaper with the more roommates you have, but this can vary upon which dorm you are in and can even still be too costly. Having roommates in an apartment can help reduce rent too, but usually this is still a cheaper option overall since you can all share costs of utilities, groceries, etc. However, the biggest difference in cost with an apartment and a dorm is usually when payments have to be made. Typically, living in a dorm requires payment in full upfront, while an apartment generally expects smaller payments each month throughout your stay. In order to make a payment for a dorm, you will likely either need to have saved up, have earned a grant/scholarship, or will need to pay the costs with a student loan. To pay for an apartment, you should have a part-time job to allow you to make these monthly payments.

2. Freedom

Living in an apartment does generally allow more freedom. You can decide what you eat each day (and not have to stick to what the dining hall offers) and what time (dining halls are not usually open 24 hours), you can have anyone over (some dorms are gender restricted), and typically apartments have less regulations than dorms (no quiet hours, different policies on what items are allowed, etc). However, with more freedom comes more responsibility.

3. Personal Life

Aside from the fact that I just couldn’t afford to live in a dorm, the main reason I chose to live off campus was to separate my school life from my personal life. I liked being able to leave school grounds at the end of my classes. The separation of my personal life from school life meant I could go home at the end of the day and not feel like I had to socialize if I didn’t want to. It’s a different experience to live on-campus and be in the middle of the college buzz 24/7, but some people prefer to have that experience.

4. Roommates

Most college students cannot afford to live alone. In dorms, roommates are generally assigned to you without ever having any idea of who they are, what they’re like, or if you’ll get along. Some schools allow you to make roommate requests, but freshmen especially are usually paired up since they may not already have friends at the school. Apartment life requires you to find your own roommates, which allows you the opportunity to find someone with your similar living habits and interests.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, make a pros and cons list for each option, or seek the opinions of friends and family. The more input you receive from those who have been there, the more assured you’ll feel about your final choice. Some college students even feel like they want to experience both the dorm-life and apartment-life and decide to live in the dorms for the first couple of years of college, and then get an apartment off-campus with some close friends. When you realize what experience and lifestyle you want, you will easily be able to decide what is best for you.

Do you live in a dorm or an apartment? What do you like best about it? Share your experience with us in a comment!

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Springtime DIY Room Decor

Filed under: College Life, DIY & Crafts, Tips - Angelina
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Darlene Megino Blogger Biography





Getting tired of the same old decorations? Fear not! I have three easy DIY room décor ideas that you can easily do that’s great for a student on a budget! These décor ideas will definitely spruce up your room just in time for spring!

1. Flower Jars

Mason jars are VERY in this year. You can use them for making gifts, cups, or even room décor! All you need to decorate your mason jars are some fake flowers and some paint! Pour paint into the jar to cover it about ¼ of the way, and then swirl the jar around so that it completely coats the inside of the jar. Keep swirling the jar and tilting it until it reaches the top. Once you’ve gotten the top coated, begin pouring the paint back out to coat the rim of the jar. Afterwards, let it sit for a few hours to dry and when it’s ready just add your flowers! To make the jar even more decorative, you can add some string to it. Tie it into a bow and maybe glue on a shiny button for added glam.

2. Framed Magazine Collage

This DIY décor idea is very chic and very cheap! All you need is a large frame and some old magazines. Using the paper backing included in most frames, cut out and glue inspirational pictures onto the paper backing. Make sure you lay it out prior to gluing it so that you know exactly how it will look. Use bright colors, inspirational words, and eye catching patterns to really spruce up your room. You can also make this into a dream collage, college collage, or a general collage about you.

3. Candle Holders

Candle holders are the best décor to put in your room. It adds a fresh feel and sleek look to the room. Using a bunch of fake or real flowers (make sure to change it out often if you choose real) take your candle holder and simply tie it around the candleholder. Make sure you secure it and tie it nicely with a bow and that the flowers are not dropping into the holder (which could easily catch a flame). If you use fake flowers, you can also use glue to ensure that it stays onto the candle holder. After you’ve decorated it, add a candle and place it near your bed or desk for that elegant feel! If you live in a dorm, be sure to check your college housing policies about candles.

What are you doing to get ready for spring? Any new decoration ideas? Share them below!

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Apartment Living: The Do’s and Don’ts

Filed under: College Life, Social Life/Relationships, Tips - Angelina
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Megan Lehman Blogger Biography





Despite my two years of college life, I have just began my adventure in apartment living. It took little to no time for me to learn the do’s and don’ts for the apartment newbie, and it is my pleasure to share them with you.

1. Furniture Shopping

You are a college student. What your couch looks like is not necessarily what you want to be worrying about. The price is the real issue. This year I have made a record purchase of just $45 for a couch and love seat set. That’s right, only $45! Goodwill, re-sale shops, even your neighbor’s side walk are perfectly good places to begin your search. Now don’t you shake your head at me! You will be singing a different tune when you get a couch for less than $50. And with all the money you save, you can get a cover for the couch and you can give it a proper cleaning.

2. Meet Your Neighbors

This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but you would be surprised at just how many people forget about the person living above them. Meeting your neighbors does not only mean you will have a familiar face to turn to, but also someone who can put out your trash when you are out of town, someone who will invite you over for dinner, and someone who could become a surprisingly fantastic friend.

3. Become A Negotiator

If you are living with a roommate, you more than likely have the same sized bedrooms. Or, if you are as unfortunate as I was, your room could fit inside your roommate’s room with space for a bathroom, closet, and the kitchen sink. Is it fair to pay the same amount for less space? Why of course not! Make a deal, split the bill depending on the size of the apartment. It may be uncomfortable but you will be saving some money.

4. Candles, Candles, Candles

Depending on where you live and who lived there before you, there is most likely to be an odor. I have found myself infatuated with candles and wall flowers from Bath and Body Works,  scented products, and Febreeze.

These tips and tricks are sure to help anyone with their first apartment.

What’s your advice for apartment living?

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3 Cheap Ways to Spruce Up Your Dorm / Apartment

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Tips - BookRenter Team
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Dorms or apartments can be dreadful, especially if it’s your first year away from home. Make it your own and then you will feel more than welcome! Here are some dorm décor ideas to spruce up those boring old rooms!

1. Gift-Wrap Wallpaper

Dorm room and apartment walls can be a such a bore! Add a splash of personality by decorating your wall. This DIY project is cheap, easy and only requires a couple items: 2-3 rolls of gift-wrap paper, thumb-tacks, scissors and tape. Tack on two thumbtacks to the edges of the gift-wrap paper. Make sure you align the edges parallel to the ceiling and then let the gift-wrap roll all the way down to the floor. Cut off the gift-wrap paper parallel to the floor using the scissors and fold it inwards to have a straight-edge look at the bottom. Secure the bottom by tacking on thumbtacks to the bottom as well. Use pieces of tape to hold down the top, sides, and bottom of the gift-wrap paper. Repeat steps 1-3 until you have run out of wall space. Now, you should have your own customized wall design that everyone will envy!

2. Can Pen Holders

Need some inexpensive yet chic way to store your pens and pencils? Here’s a way to recycle some of your empty cans! All you need is a can opener, nail file and a few empty cans. Go ahead and take the empty soda can and remove the entire top portion and then file down the sharp edges of the can and rinse it out with soap and water. Let it dry and voila! You have yourself an awesome pen/pencil holder.

3. Clothespin Photos

Why buy frames or tape photos on your wall? Here’s a unique, cheap and artistic way of posting photos onto your wall! All you need is some ribbon, clothespins, thumbtacks and your favorite memorable photographs! Cut the ribbon to size and tack thumbtacks onto each end. Evenly space out the areas in which you’d like to post your photos, use the clothes pins to create markers. Hang the photos in place using the clothespins and now you have a cool way of displaying photos!

No need to splurge all your money on dorm/ apartment décor! Try these DIY décor projects and save even more cash! Can’t get enough of these DIY projects? Well, check out this website for different ideas on how to add a splash of your personality into your dorm/apartment!

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Happy wallets. Happy homes. Happy hearts.

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Deck out your college apartment on a budget. It’s possible!

by Guest Blogger Jessica Ridgway

Whether you’re fresh out of the dorms or moving away from a cranky landlord, every college student eventually faces the dilemma of making a new apartment feel like home.

It’s the age-old question of, “How am I going to decorate my apartment?” And, more importantly, “How am I going to pimp out my pad on a budget?”

Don’t fret! BookRenter’s here to share some wallet-friendly suggestions to spruce up your space.

1. Hang up YOUR art. Frame childhood masterpieces and pieces from recent years to add a personal accent  to your abode. Not an artist? Commission one of your artsy friends (we all have them) to create something for you. You’ll support a friend’s passion and have something original to decorate your empty walls with. Everyone wins!

2. Make a photography wall. Pick your favorite digital photos, put them on a disc or flash drive, and boogie on over to the nearest grocery store’s self-service kiosk. Print out your prized photography, purchase some wall-safe putty or photography tape, and arrange your treasured snapshots to your heart’s content. Plan out your design ahead of time. Maybe your photos would look best in an organized square, spiral, heart, or favorite word – the possibilities are endless.

Worried about ripping the plaster off of the walls? Create a photography clothesline.

by Curbly

It’ll take a little elbow grease, but it’ll be easier to switch out photos, and boy, does it look professional!

3. Visit Goodwill or Salvation Army, and scour for interesting containers. You can find plenty of beautiful vases and jars for cheap! Another option: have some friends over for wine, polish off a few bottles, rinse them out, and your place will be looking classy in no time! Sprinkle other containers around your space in unexpected spots to hold kitchen supplies, pens, beer pong balls…everything! You can also fill clear ones with reflective glass marbles; sitting on the windowsill, they will create a stained-glass window effect.

4. Paint – if your realtor/landlord allows it. Jazz up your walls with lively shades (your school colors, perhaps?), words, designs, or patterns. Turn your living room into a seafaring journey with seafoam green and aquamarine blue splashed on adjacent walls. Be creative!

5. If paint isn’t an option for you, try contact paper. Brittany Boileu, 21, created this telephone pole silhouette with contact paper, which is like a giant roll of tape. You can also use electrical tape or painter’s tape to spice up the colors and textures.

by Brittany Boileau

How are you personalizing your space this year?

Happy decorating!

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