Maximizing Common Spaces to Make Everyone Happy

By Kaitlin Hurtado on September 12, 2018

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The lack of space that comes with the typical student apartment is no secret so you may be wondering how you can start maximizing common spaces to make everyone happy in order to make the best use of your apartment. With multiple roommates, you may think it may be near impossible to have everyone pleased with your housing situation. You may be looking out for your best interests and what you want, but everyone else is most likely doing the same thing.

Instead of spending unnecessary time arguing on who has the “best” idea of what to do with maximizing common spaces, think of how everyone can be led to a compromise that leaves everyone feeling like they were heard. Here are a few tips on maximizing common spaces to make every one of your roommates happy when the process is done:

boys in room on sofa

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Sit down and discuss expectations of common spaces

When moving in, and even when you are just looking to freshen up a lived-in space, sit down with your roommates to discuss the individual expectations of your common spaces. Someone may not even care what the room looks like, or what people are doing with the space, as long as no one is touching their own individual room. However, another roommate knows that they want to have a distinct dining space with a dining table, while another would rather having the typical dining space with desks for a study space.

Maximizing common spaces will become much simpler when you create a guide of what you want your common space to be. Get a dining table to fill up a portion, and set rules on what your roommates will use it for. Of course, its main function is to serve as a table for meals, but your roommates can also use it to study throughout the day. If you are going to use it as another study space, make sure you are setting rules: don’t leave your stuff everywhere when you are done studying, don’t hoard space on the dining table, etc. Remember that there is no right or wrong way when it comes to compromise, so long as it leaves your roommates happy.

Bathrooms can get messy, but remember everyone has the right to it 

Bathrooms can be one of the messiest common spaces when it comes to college students. Everyone is going to be on a different schedule, using the bathroom for different things at different points of the day. As many products that you use, everyone will have relatively the same amount that you have and it can easily lead to a cluttered shower, countertop, and medicine cabinet.

Tired of knocking over shampoo bottles that teeter off the edge of your bathtub? Or opening the medicine cabinet to have someone’s toothpaste fly off from being overstuffed? Or even having your face wash used after leaving it out on accident?

Set guidelines, or offer suggestions on how you can be maximizing common spaces in your bathroom. Get hanging shower caddies that you can stick to shower walls with suction cups to organize bottles in the shower. Suggest for everyone to leave some of their facial products in their room instead of the bathroom. Little steps will lead to a less cluttered space for everyone.

Invest in storage 

You can be maximizing common spaces by turning to place storage in them. A big problem with roommates can be that people may feel like they aren’t getting proper use of the space. Some people may be able to store their textbooks in the small space a TV stand can offer, but others will have to find other options.

Instead of using storage sparingly, use it to your advantage. Place a shoe rack by the door to save carpet space, instead of letting your roommates chuck their shoes on the floor by the door or throughout the living space. Put a bookcase in the living room, preferably one with a shelf available for each roommate. It can be functional and decorative – storing textbooks, but also placing little trinkets to show off each roommate’s personality and interests. Do not be afraid to hang a few shelves for the same reasons, or to store keys by the door.

When discussing what you expect out of your common spaces, take notes of particular areas where roommates are disappointed in so that you can address them later on. Feeling like they don’t have anywhere to put their things can be easily fixed by placing more storage into your common spaces.

Maximizing common spaces in order to make everyone happy in your home does not have to be as hard as many make it out to be. If you are maintaining open communication and are actively listening to everyone’s desires, compromise may come a lot easier than you think.

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By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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