Q-and-A: dual pur­pose de­sign

The Telegram (St. John’s) - Home Buyers' Guide - - DEBBIE TRAVIS - Deb­bie Travis

Dear Deb­bie;

We are empty-nesters and have de­cided to take in a stu­dent for the aca­demic year as we live close to the col­lege and have the room. Any tips on plan­ning a com­fort­able and wel­com­ing space? Thanks for your ideas.

- Mar­i­anne

Dear Mar­i­anne;

This is a great idea. Rent­ing out stu­dent digs is a good way to stay con­nected to the young adult gen­er­a­tion, and rooms are al­ways in de­mand for stu­dents who move away from home to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion. Sup­ply well thought-out ne­ces­si­ties and al­low the stu­dent to add a few per­sonal touches to make it feel like home. The fur­nish­ings shown here are set up to serve more than one pur­pose, which is a prac­ti­cal space saver for any small room.

The bed gets lots of use, do­ing dou­ble duty for sleep­ing and as a lounge and of­ten home­work sta­tion, so se­lect a good mat­tress. Fu­tons are pop­u­lar, but it’s more prac­ti­cal to have the bed raised from the floor so that bas­kets for clothes and sup­plies can slip un­der­neath. Choose a ta­ble or desk with am­ple sur­face space for a com­puter, books and ref­er­ence ma­te­rial. Set up the desk strate­gi­cally be­side the bed so that a good desk lamp will also work for read­ing in bed. To save space in­vest in a ver­ti­cal stor­age sys­tem such as a metal stor­age locker as seen in this vi­gnette from home­sense.com. This stack­able so­lu­tion al­lows for sep­a­rate com­part­ments to hold sports equip­ment, notes, school sup­plies and cloth­ing. Fi­nally, an ot­toman that holds stuff of­fers triple ser­vice and is easy to move around.

Dear Deb­bie;

Our son is off to col­lege and we are madly pack­ing up the es­sen­tials for sur­viv­ing away from home. Our lists are very dif­fer­ent – I’m think­ing cook­ing and study­ing, he’s all about the best com­puter, so­cial me­dia links and mu­sic. I know you have been through this with your boys. Any tips?

- Barb

Dear Barb; I was fo­cused on mak­ing my son’s new, very tiny dorm room as homey and cheer­ful as pos­si­ble. We were not al­lowed to paint, which is my favourite modus operandi. How­ever, there was a bed to make. I dis­cov­ered a “bed in a bag” and thought it was per­fect. Sheets, pillow case, duvet all in one. These are of­ten avail­able at a dis­count around this time of year and are rugged enough to last for the du­ra­tion. Easy care was guar­an­teed. I also chose a small, pat­terned rug and a good towel set all in dark colours. Some re­cy­cled dishes, sil­ver­ware and a ket­tle and I was done. He added posters.

He moved out in Septem­ber. In Jan­uary he no­ti­fied us that he had a girl­friend, and, be­ing the good mother, I told him to make sure his room was tidy, bed clean, dishes washed. He was in a dif­fer­ent coun­try, so I couldn’t check my­self. There was a pause on the phone, and with a voice that cov­ered emo­tions in­clud­ing sur­prise, em­bar­rass­ment, and guilt, he ad­mit­ting to not wash­ing his bed­sheets ever. Yuck. Not my prob­lem. But very glad I went for dark colours. I should have been clearer on laun­dry time­lines. Good luck with your shop­ping list. The stores know what you need and they’ve got your back.


To stretch the space in stu­dent bed­rooms, choose fur­nish­ings that have more than one use.

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