(Credit: dazfurniture.com)

(Credit: dazfurniture.com)

With back to school right around the corner, new students everywhere are getting ready for the fall semester. While some go off to dorms at colleges and universities, others may opt to stay at home while in technical training or trade schools. No matter what form of continuing education they choose, all can benefit from a living and workspace that can help them make the transition from youth to adulthood. Nicola Razniewski, owner and senior creative faux artist and decorator at NNK Designs, has some great advice for helping new students get organized and make the most of this new experience in their lives.

Whether you’re entering a dorm room or entering your first apartment, there are usually a couple of parallels that can’t be avoided: small living space and small budget. How do you make your space work? According to Razniewski, you need to keep three things in mind: budget, function and style. When being smart about all three, you can have a comfortable and inviting space that enables you get everything done.

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Know how much you are able to spend, said Razniewski. Then, find things that fit into that budget. Sometimes that’s easier said then done. But a little patience and diligence pays off. Don’t be tempted to buy a lot of things because they don’t cost much. Buy a few good things that will last. You save money while not cluttering up your space. Great options for finding room necessities on a budget are Goodwill, CraigsList and eBay. Check locally for additional options by you.

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Unitaskers in small spaces are a no-no. If you need a unitasker, try and see if there is something else you can use to do the same thing or even do without it. This is a great space saver. Be resourceful. Choose items that utilize one area for multiple tasks, for example, a raised bed with a desk underneath and book storage all in the same piece.

Organization is key, but so is keeping it simple. You might turn into the world’s greatest scrapbooker. You’ll get there someday, just not today. So don’t buy every tool, paper and stamp there is. Get what you’ll use the most and use what you have. One day you’ll get that huge house with the white picket fence, right now though, you only have room for a twin bed, one small chair and a mini fridge. Don’t buy for tomorrow what you don’t have room for today.


Just because you’re buying only what you need, and maybe a couple of wants, doesn’t mean you can’t do it with flair. Unless having everything all white is you making a statement, get things with color and personality. Things that make you say “Yes, this is MY space and I like it!” Remember, it’s your space, so own it. Like it, love it and make it yours.

Razniewski says to mentally walk through your routine and see what you need from that. Toiletries, kitchenware, clothes, bedding and a few pieces of furniture are all you need. The less sets you have of these, the less washing you will have to do. Imagine how long it will take you to clean a full set of dishes and three sets of sheets and towels, not to mention clothes. Simplicity is king so stick with one set each. It’s less work, less time and less space wasted. This leaves you the extra money for not buying it in the first place, the extra time you need to finish that paper or hang out with friends and the space to get the extras you want.

Daz Furniture
801 E. Park Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048
(847) 996-0800

Check out DAZ Furniture for a slew of dorm room furniture that will help you balance style, function and budget, creating a perfect living experience for any college student.

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Angela Hazen lives in Oak Park, IL. She has worked as a model in Chicago and studied broadcast journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She has traveled to Europe on several occasions, and keeps her readers up to date with local and international style, shopping, fashion and beauty trends. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.