Students Head to School With Style
Innovative and space-conscious designs make it easy to create stylish and functional dorm rooms and first apartments.
August 10, 2015 – HIGH POINT, N.C. – Back-to-school style – it’s not just about clothes and backpacks.
Today’s college students want a living environment that’s a reflection of their personal style and as comfortable as home. Home furnishings manufacturers have responded with a variety of fashionable options for small spaces, from bedroom and kitchen to study and living areas.
As a result, dorm rooms and first apartments are becoming some of the “best-dressed” spaces around. The trend is fueled by a wide variety of specialty stores, along with a growing number of online resources, that make functional and stylish furnishings easy to find without breaking the budget.
Elana Goodwin, an Ohio State University student writing for Huff Post College in May, said furnishings for a new apartment are one of the eight graduation presents college-bound students actually want. And in a July post to the popular college scholarship website, FastWeb, writer Elizabeth Hoyt listed home décor items like storage ottomans among the 21 “cool items” students want for their dorm rooms.
Clearly, the days of milk-crate bookshelves are gone.
“Today’s young adults show a real affinity for creating personalized living spaces,” says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance. “They know their style, and they’re looking for furnishings that make their busy lives easier, while still being hip and inspiring.”
From casual and classic to bold and graphic, there’s no shortage of stylish options available for this year’s incoming class. Here are some key pieces to consider:
Extra seating. Whether it’s a dorm room or an apartment, an extra seat is a must-have. “Pouf” ottomans are colorful, practical, durable and won’t break the bank. Plus, some boast a removable “lid” and hidden storage, giving them a dual-function role in tight spaces.
Storage. You can never have enough. Period. Ladder-style book shelves occupy a small footprint but offer amble shelf space. Storage ottomans are key for quick clean-up – like the day before Parents’ Weekend. And, forget under-bed plastic boxes. Storage beds are a worthwhile investment that will take your student from college to first apartment to guest bedroom.
Eating in. For apartments that offer a dining area, finding a small-scale table and chairs used to be a challenge. Today, small “pub” style tables with bar stools offer one affordable option. Fold-away tables and café size tables are equally popular and easily carry over to a young adult’s first apartment.
Entertainment central. Televisions take center stage in many students’ living spaces, which makes a media console a priority. “This is not the place to skimp,” advices Hirschhaut. “Placing today’s large screen televisions on furniture not designed for electronics creates an accident waiting to happen.” Sturdy consoles and TV stands are available in a wide range of price points. Just make sure the model you select is designed to accommodate the size and weight of the television it will hold.
Desktop demands. Studying, surfing the web or stacking laundry – a great desk is indispensable. In addition to a durable work surface, many of today’s models include integrated USB power strips and USB ports – perfect for charging electronics while you work. Upgrade a little more and you can even find built-in Bluetooth® speakers!Sleep basics. Futons, the classic standby of many generations of students, have come a long way. This classic sofa/bed combination piece has always been a multi-functional winner, but rarely a style leader. That’s all changed with today’s models and their sleek styling, upgraded fabrics and even high-tech detailing. The appropriately named “Crash” futon sofa from Sauder has a modern silhouette that looks downright sophisticated with its button-tufted cushion. And with Coaster’s futon sofa, you can have Bluetooth® functionality while you sleep!
Wall décor. Posters are passé! Vintage and recycled looks top the trends for wall décor this fall, and for those who don’t have time to find their own at yard sales and antique shops, Groovystuff offers a line of reclaimed metal artworks. These unique pieces elevate the style and “cool” factor of any space.