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(ARA) - Heading off to college is an exciting time that brings along many new experiences -- budgeting money, being independent, doing your own laundry and having to live your life within the confines of a dorm room or small apartment.
Many college students are used to living in a home with a large den, a spacious kitchen and a bedroom with tons of closet space. When they head off to school, they'll need to adapt to a new living style and embrace the idea of combining many rooms into just one or two small spaces.
IKEA, the leading home furnishings retailer, offers simple solutions and ideas about how college students, even without all of the rooms that they may be accustomed to, can still feel at home in their college dorm, off-campus housing or apartment.
With limited space, an easy way to duplicate the comfort and relaxation of a den is with plenty of pillows. Big and small pillows in different colors and textures are a fun and comfortable way for friends to sprawl out and get cozy while hanging out. When not in use, the pillows can be piled up in a corner of the room or even on a bed so another function can take center stage.
It's always a bonus when it's possible to get two uses out of one item. A futon or sofa bed is the most functional furnishing for any college student, especially in a small living environment. When it's time to go to bed, the sofa opens up, converting the room from living room to bedroom. And visiting guests will appreciate not having to sleep on the floor.
Even though most college students don't cook that often -- unless you consider macaroni and cheese a delicacy -- it's still important to have an area in your space that can serve as a kitchen. Storage bins can be used for canned and non-perishable goods and the top surface to stack plates, silverware or even a small microwave. Use wall space to hang pots and pans out of the way and a shelf for paper goods, mugs and other kitchen items that can cause clutter. Also, using a half table that can be placed flush against a wall is an ideal space saver with multiple functions including eating, studying and even a late night poker game.
It may be a "culture shock" for some who are used to lots of closets at home and now have to either share one with a roommate or squeeze everything they own into a closet one tenth the size of their old one. To ensure that the closet isn't overflowing into your living space, invest in clear storage boxes so items can be easily identified; covered bins to hide away private articles you may not want exhibited to the world; and stacking containers to make the closet seem double the size and hold twice as much.
Small space living in a dorm or apartment can be fun and stylish. Students can still maintain the comforts of home while away at college, even if there are fewer rooms and amenities. For more information, solutions and ideas about how to affordably decorate your home away from home, go to www.ikea-us.com or call 1-800-434-4532.