Whether you wish to live with a friend or simply need a way to cut the cost of rent, living with roommates can be an experience that is both rewarding and agitating. As with dorms, dividing space in college apartments can require a bit of ingenuity. However, there are some differences that distinguish space dilemmas in shared apartments from those of dorms.

In an apartment, you usually have more wiggle room. You now have a kitchen and living area, perhaps even a separate study space if you really luck out. On the other hand, many college apartments promise three or more bedrooms, meaning you may find yourself with crowded living quarters compared to the one-roommate situation during your dorm-days.

Whether you have one roommate or five, the following tips can help you carve out your own space within your apartment:

Sharing Space

Creative room dividers

If one or more of your roommates wish to occupy a room you frequent, you can establish a friendly division of space with a room divider. This doesn’t have to be a traditional, screen divider. You can instead use a backless bookshelf or install drapes on either side of the room, which can be drawn as much or little as necessary.

Storage, storage and more storage

When living with roommates, storage containers are your best friend. Especially in small spaces like the bathroom. There’s nothing like being in a hurry and having to rummage for your stuff (deodorant and hairspray included) before you can get ready. You also don’t want to fight over shampoo. To prevent any conflict, have each of your roommates (and yourself, of course) get their own storage container to place their toiletries in.

Establish separate “function areas” in each room

If room dividers aren’t your style, you can benefit from creating separate functions within a room that is often occupied. For example, if most of your roommates hangout in the living room, you can designate one corner of the room as a reading nook, one as a media and entertainment area and one as a spot for lounging or listening to music.

Designate quiet spots for studying or alone time

When multiple people are sharing living space, things can get pretty rowdy. It would make sense for you to seek out some alone time, especially quiet time to reflect or study. This doesn’t require much in the way of money. All you have to do is choose a secluded area within your apartment and set a time frame each day where it will be off-limits to anyone but you. So, if you know you need to study for two hours every night, ask your roommates if they could avoid using a certain room or area during that time. This way you have a couple hours of uninterrupted silence to keep you sane.

These are just a few tips to help you get started. If you have any personal suggestions or experience in shared-apartment living, please, feel free to share your stories in the comment section below.

13 Responses

  1. Julietta says:

    My roommates & I have one strict rule: No personal junk in the common areas. Your room can be as messy as you want, but if you walk out of the common area, you take your book/ laptop/ homework with you. It is the only way we’ve been able to keep our off-campus apartment visitor ready.

  2. ETC says:

    Good article on college space. You definitely need to have boundary areas set up for your roommates. Some roommates are definitely better than others. I had one who refused to clean up so I specifically set up a boundary area he could not come into and get it all messed up

  3. One of the things to most remember about sharing an apartment with roommates is RESPECT. Respect the fact that they grew up differently than you and may not do things your way. They may have a different culture, a different level of organization, different sleeping habits, and different types of friends. Ground rules should be laid down and common area usage rules agreed upon that compromise to all parties involved. Your private bedroom should be the place to make your own, while the common areas should be shared in all aspects.

  4. jbausch918 says:

    good info re: sharing a place with someone. it is also helpful to find compatable personalities when possible

  5. Brittany c says:

    I shared a close space in an apartment style dorm before and it was crazy. One of the key things that was talked about in this article is boundaries and I truly agree. My roommates and I had to set up times of when to invite friends over and when it was appropriate to play loud music. It was a struggle, but we got through it.

  6. Sarah says:

    Great article. I was always lucky and lived with friends so we seemed to figure these things out easily. I did share a room once with a roommate worked out great. If we needed private time we slept in the living room.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Indeed a great article for all. Sharing a room with a roommate would work if we have the basic maturity and it is also fine to have some benchmark when sharing a room for another person in college apartments.

  8. ron says:

    Yep I agree respect and maturity are the keys to successfully sharing a small space and getting along with your room mate. I remember when I was going to school I almost strangled my room dog because for simply hating on his music. Needless to say I was pretty immature and of course disrespectful but at a young age you just don’t admit to things like that.

  9. Tom Jackson says:

    We all know that there is a lot of benefits if we live with roommates in off-campus apartments. This could be always cheaper than living alone. Also I think the main benefit that we can earn from this is that you can create a new network or friend circle even if you are new in the city.

  10. YupTrend says:

    Good Article on Sharing Space Roommates in College Apartments.

    You definitely need to have boundary areas set up for your roommates.

    Some roommates are definitely better than others.

    Your post remembered me my college time days. Thanks you for this Article.

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