Making a Home Away from Home


This will be the first semester that I won’t be living in Arcadia’s housing. There are a few things different from living on campus: There aren’t any RAs or hall decorations, and there aren’t always other students walking through the halls. But the biggest difference is that the space doesn’t come with furniture. On campus, all I had to do was put my sheets on my bed to make the place feel like home. Now I have to furnish an entire apartment. I’ve only lived in the apartment for two weeks, but I’ve figured out how to make it feel like home.

Take Anything You Can Get for Free

As a college student, I fantasize about the day when I get to move into a house or apartment and buy all the furniture, wall art, and knick-knacks I want to fill my home. But I won’t be living in this apartment forever and I don’t have the money to buy new furniture. Surprisingly, I was able to get a lot on a budget of almost zero dollars. I took an old mattress from my parents’ basement, salvaged shelves and chairs from when my brother moved out of his house, claimed an old TV from a friend after he upgraded, borrowed some lights from a friend who is studying abroad, and go some kitchen appliances for my birthday. It may not be the furniture I always dreamed about but it’s much better than living in an empty apartment.

Decorate with a Personal Touch

Dining RoomDecorating, just like furnishing, is easy to do on a budget. Lots of websites that sell photo prints, such as and, will offer you free photos just for making an account with them. My bedroom wall is covered in photos of my friends and family.

Decorations don’t just have to be posters, paintings, or photos. The wall of my living room is lined with maps from all the places I’ve been while studying abroad. And in my bedroom I’ve got drawings by my cousins hung up.

Another great place to find decorations for cheap is thrift stores and yard sales. My roommate and I have found a vintage globe, a cork board for my jewelry, and decorative mirrors all at local thrift stores.

Keep Your Apartment Filled with People

Once your apartment is furnished and decorated, it’s time to invite people over. Feeling at home isn’t just about having a bed to sleep in; it’s about being around friends. Since I’m living off campus, it’s easy to feel disconnected sometimes. I can’t just walk down the hall to see a friend, so I make an effort to have people over. Every week my friends and I have “Waffle Wednesday,” where we eat waffles and catch up. I also try to have friends over to work out with me, which keeps me motivated and entertained.

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