So you’re moving out of home and into a flat or student dorms for the first time. Congratulations!
You’re about to enjoy some of the best (and toughest) years of your life. It can be daunting being away from whānau and familiarity. But don’t forget the world is your oyster (unless you’re vegan, in which case it’s your falafel). Tuck in!
You’re going to need some kit. We’ve compiled a list of essentials, bargains and stylish extras that anyone striking out on their own for the first time might find useful.
We’ve tried to keep it under a budget of about $1500, and we’ve also included some tips on keeping the costs lower than that, as well as some added extras if you’re feeling flush.
* Student life: Kit out an entire student bedroom – including the pillows – for under $1300
* Student life: Five items you need to cosy up your dorm room
* Decorating a rental to feel like a home for less than $500
* Christmas gift guide: Seven luxe homewares for around $30 or less
While not a complete list of things you might need – we’ve left most electronics out here, because they’re real budget busters – it is a list made with comfort and style in mind, to make the transition from home less jarring and bleak. Ad alta!
Second hand dream
If you’re moving into a dorm, your room will be most likely have a single bed, books shelves, a wardrobe, a desk and possibly a chair too – all the accommodation offered by Victoria and Auckland Universities has furniture built in.
For flatters moving into an unfurnished house, keep your costs to a minimum by hunting out places like Hospice, Sallies and St Vincent’s shops, or Marketplace and Trade Me online. Second-hand furniture will almost always be cheaper and better quality than what you could afford from a budget retail store, and re-using is more environmentally-friendly, too.
You can even get large pieces of furniture for next to nothing at op shops, such as draws and beds.
Check with family too – there could be furniture in the attic or garage that you can repurpose for your new digs.
A sand, a lick of paint (Resene testpots are just $4.90, so don’t be afraid to experiment with colour) and you’re good to go.
Cost: Varies, under $100
Shock of the new
If you do want to buy new, big box stores like The Warehouse, Kmart and Target, and low-cost local stores like Mocka, often have real bargains.
A stylish, king single Sonata bed from Mocka is just $249.95. Add one of its Vale mattresses, also $249.95, and that’s a brand-new bed for just under $500. It’s also easy to take apart and pack in a van to travel home with at the end of each semester.
Kmart’s oak look chest of drawers ($75) can double as a bedside table. Teamed with something like the bench seat storage box for just $25, you’re saving money on buying a spare stool or chair for guests.
For a chic look that will also save you a tonne of cheddar, Tooltorq’s five tier storage shelf ($29.99) is an industrial-style alternative to a standard bookshelf. Wrap it in twinkle lights (see below) to soften it, and go for that Y2K vibe.
Kmart’s chic, minimalist Scandie desk is just $55, which is an absolute bargain. It’s small, but as you will learn in ENG110, Jane Austin wrote 6 novels with a quill and ink at a side table.
Team it with OfficeMax’s task chair ($139), which is good for use from three to five hours a day.
And so to bed…
Even if your bed is provided for you, you’re going to want your own sheets, pillows and blankets.
The Warehouse has a good all-season duvet with a microfibre filler for $29. That means you can spend a bit more on your pillows, because you will need something to rest your giant brain on at the end of a day of lectures, trust me.
Briscoes has regular sales, so keep an eye open for them – for example the Alasitair deluxe collection pillows were $24.95 at the time of writing, down from $69.95.
The Warehouse also has a great deal on a complete bed set with a reversible comforter in a sweet jungle leaf pattern – four pillowcases, a flat sheet, and a fitted sheet for just $59.
It only comes in queen and king, but get a queen. The comforter will drape all the way over your single bed, but it’s cosier that way. You can just tuck the excess sheet in the far side of the bed.
Let there be light
Top tip: “burning the candle at both ends” and “burning the midnight oil” are metaphors. In fact, they are metaphors for something you will undoubtedly do at some point during your student career: staying up all night working on a paper. You’re going to need a good lamp.
As good for reading in bed as they are for working at a desk, angle lamps are so, so hip right now.
Mitre 10’s Mercator lamp is a future industrial classic at just $59. The Warehouse also has a fun 80s style angle lamp for just $10 (if it came in more colours it’d be a must-have), or a mid-century styled angle lamp named Bruce (we don’t know why) for $16.
The winner, however, is Bunnings’ large, traditional angle lamp for $30. You’ll use it all the way through to your Phd.
All things are made possible… through coffee
No one wants to schlep down to the common room for life-giving caffeine at 3am when they’re cramming. A kettle in your room is crucial. The Warehouse has one for just $11. Bargain.
A three-cup plunger (trust me, you need a three cup) will become you best friend during exams. A very funky red one by Bodum from Briscoes is just $19.99.
Smart is stylish (and sexy)
Your dorm room may be small, but there’s no need to live like a nun for the next three years. You can add some stylish touches to your room for a little outlay.
A big round wall mirror will make a small room seem larger and bounces a bit more light around if you only have one window. The Warehouse has a 80cm mirror for $45.
The light fixture is bound to have something hideous and plastic shading it. Why not swap it out for something warmer? Kmart’s rattan shade is a bit steep at $55, but it’s an item you’ll still love long after you’ve left the hallowed halls of learning – just don’t forget to take it with you when you go home at the end of the semester.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time at your computer, so why not do it in style with Logitech’s Pop mechanical keyboard ($119.20) and mouse ($43.99)? Tap away till the wee small hours like the fabled writers of old. Add a powder puff of lush, luxe comfort with a velvet cushion from Citta design (from $45).
And what’s a student bedroom without fairy lights? The Warehouse has strings of twinkle lights for just $8. But since you’ve got a bit of an edgy industrial vibe going on with those shelves, the black and white bedding and the lamp, why not string some festoon lights over your desk? Mitre ten have a set of 10 for just $61.98.