Affordable Student Housing
Uilenstede students dormitories, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Take a look at this cozy flat. Comfy and welcoming - probably not what you'd expect from student dorms. But living in dorms doesn't mean you need to live in a shack. We asked Rachel (25) and Michael (27) - a married couple, both students at Amsterdam University - to tell us about the remodeling process.
Take a look at this cozy flat. Comfy and welcoming - probably not what you'd expect from student dorms. But living in dorms doesn't mean you need to live in a shack.
We asked Rachel (25) and Michael (27) - a married couple, both psychology students at Amsterdam University - to tell us about the remodeling process they went through and unveil some hacks that you may want to try in your student dorms as well!
For how long had you been living in the apartment before you decided to remodel it?
Michael: We started the remodeling process right when we moved in. As we knew it would be student housing, we expected the bare minimum, which was indeed what we got. Before moving in, we did not have access to photos of the apartment, so once we saw it, we started working with Zwia to create a homey and warm feeling.
What were the main issues you had with the apartment before the remodeling - what were the things you wanted to change the most?
Rachel: The apartment consisted of 3 'naked' rooms, which were so impersonal and uninviting. We found a painting on the bedroom wall which was stuck on there and could not be moved, leaving little space for change.
We also needed more hanging space for the closet, which Zwia took care of nicely and creatively.
We also wanted to have two working areas that could be separated with a door if both my husband and I would be on calls simultaneously. For this, we created a working/study table in the living room and a working area on the dining room table.
What was the most creative solution you found?
Michael: Zwia came up with quite a few creative solutions.
For example, we used the existing two wardrobes already in the apartment for extra hanging space in the closet.
We placed them at opposite ends of the wall and added a rectangular plywood piece to which we screwed a long cupboard handle to create a hanging bar. Knowing how to use items that have a different function in such a creative way was definitely one of Zwia's strengths.
Rachel: Another creative solution I can think of was hanging art on the wall. As this was a rented student apartment, we could not drill and make holes.
Zwia quickly spotted the heating pipes which ran just below the ceiling in every room and suggested to make use of them. We purchased colorful fabric 1.5m wide and from ceiling to floor. We attached velcro tape that allowed us to loop it around the pipes and hang it like a piece of art.
This creative solution was also perfect in the bedroom, which had a grey,
gloomy picture stuck to the wall, as I mentioned. Here we hung light pink curtains to create a soft and inviting mood that would cover the wall's grey image. It was also from these pipes which we hung plants to bring green and life into the rooms.
What part of the process did you most enjoy?
Rachel: I enjoyed seeing the creative solutions to the problems that came up. All the needs we had were met and even beyond that. That's why my favorite part was when we talked about our needs and then Zwia suggested ways we could reach that.
Michael: Then, of course, seeing the apartment when it was finished and realizing what a significant change we had made.
What do you think made the biggest change for this apartment?
Rachel: I think the color is a big one - it can easily be added with fabric or a picture. Textures and materials are essential, too. For example, the hanging colorful fabric that we added in every room. I can even think of lighting as an important one. For example, a standing lamp or fairy lights can totally change the mood of the room.
What about the budget? Students usually don't have the means to invest in expensive furniture and accessories.
Michael: Everything you see here is from second-hand stores: the carpet, the sofa, the kitchen cupboards. The fabric pieces are from Albert Cuyp market in
Amsterdam, modest yet very good looking. We went shopping with Zwia and chose everything together, hand in hand. Very little money was spent.
Well, it almost makes me want to move to the dorms and study all day long.
Both: Ooh, come on.