Finding a place to live is a big deal for any grad student. More than likely you will sign a year-long lease because short-term rentals are costly. You will pay extra $ per month for short-term rentals, otherwise landlords will forfeit a security deposit for breaking a lease early. Make sure you read a rental agreement closely and ask lots of questions before putting down a deposit.
Since I was looking for a place where I can stay for four years, I visited Columbus many times to check out various neighborhoods and rental properties. This site is a great one-stop source for off-campus housing near OSU. Craigslist and Roommates.com are other good options. Also, there are several great blogs on how to choose the right place, written by other student bloggers.
I wanted to live close to OSU campus. However, there are some “party houses” close to the campus. If you see lots of beer bottles strewn about, you should stay away from those places. (unless you are interested in partying from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning)
My husband and I have a house in the suburb of Cincinnati, which is an hour and half away. Since I go home on the weekends and for holidays, there was no reason to get an expensive apartment. I wanted a small one-bedroom or an efficiency under $550.
Finding a safe neighborhood is crucial. It gets dark early during winter, so stick with well-lit streets. Speak to people who live there, do they feel safe?
Luckily, I found a studio apartment on N 4th Street. All utilities are included in the monthly rent – no high heating bills when the cold weather arrives. Plus, locked entries and free wireless internet!! I moved in and started decorating right away.
Tips on decorating your apartment
- Use color – Color is the easiest way to decorate your rooms. Pick one color as a base and add two to three coordinating (or contrasting) colors for vibrancy.
- Be comfortable -Cozy throws and large cushions are good, but banish unnecessary clutters.
- Show off your collectibles – Are you a Star Wars fan? College Football mania? Whatever your interests are, dedicate a space to display a collection.
- Bring a little bit of home - Something to remind you of home, such as favorite photos.
- Pick up essentials – Computer, printer, microwave, bed, desk, chairs… the list goes on and on. My bed is from Sleep Well Columbus; Desk and chairs are from Ikea. Most of decorations are from local thrift stores like Ohio Thrift, Village Discount Outlet, and New Uses General Store.