Tag Archives: living

Sharing an Apartment: Roommate Agreements

One of the best ways to share your apartment peacefully is for you and your new roommate to put together a Roommate Agreement. This agreement can be as formal or informal as you want, as long as you both agree to the terms presented. Both parties (or more if you share your space with 2 or more people) should sign the agreement, promising to uphold the issues presented. You and your roommate should sit down and take some time to address the issues that below and write up your agreement according to the specifications of your living space, as well as your personal preferences.

In the long run having this agreement as a reminder of each of your responsibilities will ease tension when disagreements happen. All childishness and drama will be set aside, and you and your roommate will live together peacefully…and have fun too!

The following are some things to consider when forming your Roommate Agreement:

  • Expenses.  This for many is the hardest issue, but once things are made clear as to who is responsible to pay for what life together will be easier. With respect for each other decide on the rent payment division, food and grocery expenses, and any subsequent utility expenses such as electricity, garbage pick up, or parking.
  • Storage Spaces.  If your apartment, like many, is limited to closet and cabinet space, thoughtful division for personal items will be helpful. Examine all the storage areas together and agree to who will use what space. Keep the space division as equal as possible. This includes kitchen cabinets, refrigerator shelf space, bathroom cabinets, closets, and the entertainment center if you have one, and any built-in shelving.
  • Space of Apartment in General. Consider what areas of the apartment are shared, like kitchen, living room, and bathroom, and what areas are considered private space, such as your bedroom. Agree to how each of you will approach the others’ private space and adhere to this agreement.
  • Personal Items. It is most important to consider what items are to be shared and what items are to be kept for individual personal use. Decide how all food items will be shared and be respectful. If one of you has dietary issues this could be very important. Also make agreements on other personal items like shampoos, towel usage, and other grooming essentials like blow dryer use. Apply labels to items that are personal so there is no confusion.
  • Cleanliness. If both of you are neat freaks I see no problems! But, as with normal living, not all of us are neat 100% of the time. Make an agreement to keep the place looking neat by not leaving unnecessary items around the shared spaces, like clothing, used dishes, ashtrays, magazines, etc. Also, and most importantly, make a chore list for each of your weekly responsibilities to keep the apartment clean. These chores can be rotated weekly or to your own preferences. In this way each of you will be clear on who is responsible for what and held accountable. Post the list in the kitchen area, or somewhere visible as a reminder to get things done.
  • Noise issues.  Make rules to acceptable noise levels for certain times of day. If you or your roommate is a musician, make agreements to when and where you will each practice your instrument and at what times of day so as not to inconvenience the other. Other things to consider are music playing and TV watching and the volume used for each.
  • Parties and Overnight guests.  Another thing to consider is when and how often each of you will have overnight guests or parties.  Set agreeable limits.  Decide on how much notice needs to be given to your roommate when planning a party or having someone stay over. It’s no fun to wake up and make your way half naked to the kitchen for coffee, only to find some strange guy sitting there. Be sure to inform your roommate beforehand when having someone over. This way no surprises or problems will arise. Planning to have a party together will be tons of fun and with each of you informed properly, with enough time to make arrangements for it or otherwise, this will keep the occasion from getting ruined with a disagreement.

Hope you found some of these suggestions interesting and useful. If you are already sharing an apartment, there is no reason not to incorporate a Roommate Agreement into your present arrangement. This will inevitably help to remove potential conflicts.  Thanks for reading.

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Sharing an Apartment: Roommate Questionnaire

Finding a roommate to share your Allentown apartment can be a difficult task, but one of the key strategies on your search is to meet the potential roommate in person and interview them. They in turn may do the same. I discovered through experience some interesting questions that you should include on your questionnaire and thought I’d share.

image: Cafe by Stockholm Syndrome

As protocol for the meet up, make sure you decide on a public place to have the interview, especially if this is a stranger responding to your ad for a roommate. Make it a comfortable place, where you can have a coffee or tea and get to know each other. Avoid bars and liquor. You want to have a clear head and a clear atmosphere. Also, I suggest you meet during the day if possible, on a weekend perhaps if you both work full time, or during a lunch hour.

Open your meeting with a nice greeting, and a handshake. First impressions? Take notes in your mind when you can. Your first impression will take you far. Trust them. An immediate bad feeling can be telling you something. When you sit down, don’t be afraid to bring out your list and take notes. This is your place you want to share after all. You will want to find someone truly compatible to make life easier, not more stressful. With that said, here are the questions:

  • Have you shared an apartment with someone before?
  • Was the person you roomed with a relative, girlfriend or boyfriend, co-worker, or friend?
  • Why did you decide to move out?
  • Was there any problem with your previous roommate?
  • Do you have a full time job?
  • What are you work hours?
  • Do you do any work at home? How often?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you use recreational drugs or alcohol?
  • Are you in a serious relationship? Will your boyfriend or girlfriend be staying over and how often?
  • Do you have a special diet that you follow, vegetarian, diabetic, vegan, or any other?
  • Are you religious? Does your religious principles effect you daily living and how so?
  • Do you consider yourself a neat person or carefree and sloppy?
  • Will you be will to do a share of the chores to maintain a neat and clean apartment?
  • Will you share the cost of cleaning products for the apartment?
  • Are you willing to work out and divide the cost of a grocery list each week?
  • Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
  • Friends? How many?
  • Will your friends visit a lot, and do you like to throw parties for your friends? (This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the two of you are in agreement!)
  • Do you watch much television? What do you watch? How often?
  • What time do you usually go to bed, and what time do you get up?
  • Are you a musician? What instrument do you play? How often do you practice?
  • Are you willing to co-sign a lease?
  • Are you willing to sign a roommate agreement?
  • Are you able to supply references from previous roommates, employer, or previous landlord?

Asking any of these questions will open a dialogue with your new acquaintance and will help you get a feel of what the person is like. Keep in mind that this list is designed for an interview with someone you’ve never met before.  If the person you’re meeting is an acquaintance, adjust the questioning accordingly….or perhaps not! It’s up to you, but do take the time to get to know a person before jumping in to sharing your Allentown apartment.

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Media Room Perfection

One of our apartments features a perfect media center, built right in the wall with room for television or flat screen, media players, speakers and various CDs and DVDs.  But not all apartments offer you the opportunity to explore and create a perfect media room. Scanning some of the ideas and options out there can give you a sense of what you’d like your relaxing area to look like. Comfort, of course, is key. And visibility a must.

Great idea for a small room. This media room designed by Cristi Azevedo has built in cabinetry and daybed and couch. George Nelson Saucer lamp. This is by far my favorite room presented here. Send me in some take-out; I’d never want to leave.  photo: Dave Lauridsen.

Fun and cozy! Great media centered room idea for kids, though I can see the adults hopping aboard too.  Central lighting give it depth, and the shelves easy access to everything a kid at heart could need.

Found this artistic set up at Design to Inspire. Vary your artwork choices to your taste. A movie image theme I would personally love. The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Star Wars, E.T.; you get the idea?

Another kids media room idea. Love the simple lines, and looks easy to keep clean if snacks are served.

Of course, a perfect media room would be one of those theater-like set ups, with reclining chairs and stands for your drinks, and a six to eight foot screen to host your fifteen guests…but not many of us has the space (or the thousands of dollars) for that type of room. Working with the space you have, you can be creative and have fun. And throw down that shag carpet for dancing fun!

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Color Inspiration – Orange and Pink

Daring? Yes. Inviting?  Yes. Expressive? Yes. Enchanting? Hell, yes.  Will you eventually grow tired of orange walls? Possibly.  I guess it is safe to say that all inhabitants of the apartment or home will have to totally love this color combination.  I happen to love it. Would I do it? Possibly to some degree. The following are some of my clever finds…decor and style and fashion…

Pink and orange bedroom found at Apartment Therapy, as well as image at top. This photo: Barry Dixon Inc.  Love the twin dressers in front of windows and that sultry bedding. Stylish and feminine.

Okay, totally orange is here! With some accent pieces.

Pretty in pink perfection. This stylish pink wallpaper totally sets off this modern kitchen, adds some romance and interest. And I do not feel like a Barbie doll!

Orange and pink peonies set off this unique flower arrangement by Slim Paley. Photo by Slim too.

“South of the Border” Bedding Collection from Pine Cone Hill.

Warm and inviting: red, orange and pink bathroom ideas.

Luella Bartley fashion design 2009.

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Retro Living, Vintage style

Retro design is a nice, clean new/old look that can add freshness and interest to your new living space.  I must say, it only works for me if the room is done completely in this style. So when considering making the room vintage, look for a theme, like the 70s for example, and stick with decorating items in that style era.  It can be fun.

Retro kitchen sets are pretty easy to come by online. Many companies make new sets in this classic style.

A piece of retro and whimsical fun…

Vintage office design idea…

Crosley Old Vintage style turntable record player…

More color and fun with this Funky Retro Owl clock.

Retro furnishings in your apartment can give it a style and freshness. Love the color scheme here found at The Home Look.

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Country Kitchen Design

My love for the country style kitchen knows no bounds…Unique ideas for creating a comfy, welcoming country space can be found all over.  Implementing a few creative decor features can change up a dull kitchen and bring it to life.  Keeping it simple, as always, is key.  Using fresh pale colors, like this House of Turquoise country kitchen, makes this space feel clean and at ease all the time.

Country kitchen ideas can be found at Kitchen Building. Wondering about that opening in the floor….to a root cellar?  Wine cellar?  Dungeon?

This lovely Spanish influenced country kitchen design has warmth and depth. Love the simple accessory arrangements and easy access doors and drawers for cooking.  Arch Things.com

Not to forget the country table highlights…This country star pattern is feminine and stylish.  Check out Country Porch for more country decorative pieces.

The country style is more popular now than ever.  We see a surge in French country living designs for their homey and comfortable feel as well as the elegance it brings to any apartment or home.

Short on cabinet space?  This Elle Decor solution with a country-style flare…rough hued wooden shelf unit stacked with all your readily available dishware.  The spot for the microwave is a nice touch also.  This is a nice, creative way to show off your stylish dish collection, as if they were artwork.  Fascinating…

Lastly, such a cool apartment decorative idea in this fresh French country kitchen design…Large cut-out letters, painted in a contrasting hue, spelling out a kitchen-y words such as this sample.  Love the simple retro accessories on counter.

If you are looking to move to a new apartment or home check out the Renters Corner at the top of this blog for the most creative step by step information to make your move easy and stress free.  Also visit Apartments I Like, our affiliate website.

Decorating with Blue

Louisa Settee

Decorating with blue can be easy and add wonderful highlights to any room.  Consider some of the following pieces to enhance your apartment.  Feeling blue again…I sense a trend…

Aranda Ottoman in blue

Cooled Globes Lamp

Coqu Floral Curtain

Fanning Foliage Rug

All featured at Anthropologie.

If you are an apartment dweller or are a renter who is looking to move to a new space check out Apartments I Like for useful information on renting and moving.

Consider the Ottoman Coffee Table….

Your new apartment space is almost complete…furniture is in place….but there’s a big hole in the center of your living room…great place to exercise, but after that, you’ll need something decorative and functional for in front of the the sofa…why not consider an ottoman coffee table? This room above we found at Ikea, who specializes in furnishing cool progressive apartment spaces. We like this comfy setting, and the pretty ottoman sets it off.  Use the ottoman for serving snacks and drinks on trays (you’ll need the tray because of the soft surface). When you’re done, remove goodies and pop up your feet for some great TV viewing.  Here are some other cool finds to spark your interest in an ottoman coffee table.

Louis Ottoman by Habersham Home.

Gervasoni Otto ottoman coffee table at Open Room Furniture.com.

And my favorite for last….not exactly a piece to throw into the middle of a room, but then….Orb Contemporary chair and ottoman, Pure Contemporary.

If you are looking for a new apartment or need help with making a move our affiliate website could be of assistance.  Apartments i Like features articles and pages of renter’s advice to make your move as painless and enjoyable as possible. Visit the Renters Corner at the top of this blog for the links or click here to get started.

Sights to see in Allentown, Pa

Perhaps the beauty you will find in the city will make living in your Allentown apartment all the more enjoyable. Stepping out for a walk down the main streets as night is quite lovely.

Check out the pretty neighborhoods in and around your Allentown apartment. Take a walk or a drive.

Setting our of your Allentown apartment can lead you to wonderful eating spots and shops to visit. On the days of nicer Pennsylvania weather, and outdoor cafe is not out of the question.

Allentown center square is nice place to drive by when setting out of your Allentown apartment.   Let’s head out for some fun and adventure…and feel like a kid again…

A short drive away is one of the best theme parks on the east coast, Dorney Park. Visit Steel Force, the highest roller-coaster around.  Just another excuse to get you out of your Allentown apartment.  Dorney Park, of course, is open seasonally through October. We had a blast there at night during the October haunted park special they have each year to celebrate Halloween.  Fun for all!

If you are looking for an Allentown apartment or have an apartment in Allentown you would like to list visit Apartments To Like.com.

The Arts in Allentown, Pa

Well, at this time of year boredom can set in as you live in your Allentown apartment, but we have artistic news for you…The Allentown Art Museum, located on 5th Street offers a refreshing change of view, especially if you are into art.  The museum was founded in 1934 by noted Pennsylvania painter and illustrator, Walter Emerson Baum.  Here you can see collections of European art, American art, and textiles.  Escape from your Allentown apartment and view the museum’s recent expansion, where classrooms and more gallery space was added, as well as a cafe, expanded gift shop, and an all new glass facade on the 5th Street side. This attraction boasts of visitors from many areas of Pennsylvania, including Doylestown, Reading, and Bethlehem.

Also now part of the Museum is the Baum School of Art, a non-profit community art school where you can spend some evenings out of your Allentown apartment and take a class. They offer over 200 for children, teens and adults.  Come and join this wonderful community.

Your musical intuition that tells you to get out of your Allentown apartment and listen to some classical live music will lead you to the Allentown Symphony Hall.  This Lehigh Valley performing arts center hosts the Allentown Symphony Orchestra where it performs its seasonal concert productions.  You can find many shows and events, including family and musical education events here that will give you something to do outside your Allentown apartment.  Check out the Allentown Symphony for more information.

If you have an Allentown apartment to list, or are seeking renting help in finding and Allentown apartment, check out the listing on Apartments i Like.com.