Trend Alert: Privileged students have decorating budgets that are more than your annual rent

Columbia University
Columbia University

It seems gone are the days of cramped dorm rooms and crowded shares with annoying roommates. Privileged college students these days have private high-end residences and decorators at the ready. With budgets that far exceed many New Yorkers’ yearly rent, these students could certainly school some city dwellers on how to live in style.

Sean Juneja of Decor Aid recently outfitted a grad student’s $20,000 a month, 3200-square-foot, four bedroom rental with “Eames-inspired red dining chairs from LexMod, blue butterfly chairs, Moroccan-style poufs, glittery frog prints from AllModern and an abstract rug from CB2.” Even with a hefty decorating budget of $28,000, Juneja says some deals were scored. “[The client’s] dining room chairs are classics and we got them at a reasonable price,” Juneja told the New York Post.

Another decorator, Taylor Spellman of August Black, explains that it is not uncommon for dorm-decorating budgets to total in the tens of thousands. She recently worked on transforming a $1.5 million Gramercy apartment that some very generous parents bought for their daughter who was attending college in New York City. “[I] got a call to make the space suitable for a student — with a $60,000 budget for renovations and the directive that it would eventually double as a pied-à-terre.” She installed $10,000 custom bookshelves and “turned the bedroom into a library for schoolwork with a ladder to reach books and supplies stored on high-up shelves and in cabinets.”

Spellman recounts another similar project she did for a Fordham student from Hong Kong living in a “$2 million pad near the United Nations,” who had a design budget of $200,000. Spellman gutted two closets and made them into a study haven because, “As a student, the most important thing is making sure you have a proper desk. When the parents are checking in, they want to know it’s not going to be a party pad.”