How to Establish Roommate Rules for Comfortable Cohabitation

College is filled with new experiences, and that usually includes a new roommate. Adjusting to living with someone can be a bit of a challenge, as it takes time to learn each other’s likes and dislikes, similarities and differences. Even if you’ve been friends and decide to live together in an apartment, it can be very different when you live together full time.

Getting off to a good start is key to living together happily, and one way to do that is to establish some roommate rules right at the beginning. Making sure you both agree on the basics helps you avoid conflict and create a happier, peaceful living arrangement.

Draw Up Agreements to Avoid Problems

A roommate agreement that outlines the basic house rules sets the tone and defines each person’s expectations. Some things to consider include:

Quiet Time

People have different ways — and times — of studying. Are there set times when it needs to be quiet so you can study? Remember that not everyone likes to study at the same time, so be respectful of what your roommate needs while making sure you get the quiet time you need.

House Hours

Are you a night owl who likes to sleep in? What if your roommate is an early bird who’s ready to rise and shine on the weekends? Talk about your habits and expectations, and set rules for when you can have guests over and when more privacy is needed.

Food and Shopping

Food can be a touchy subject. If one person buys food, is it okay for the other person to also eat it? What about household supplies? Define how you will divide the cost of things like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and soap, and how you will split the responsibility of shopping for those items.


Not everyone has the same definition of “clean,” so definitely discuss this. What tasks will each person be responsible for, and how often should they be performed? Will you have a rotating cleaning schedule, or will each person have specific tasks they share each week?

Depending on your lifestyle, there may be other things to discuss, such as pets and guidelines for overnight guests and visitors. The important thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication open to stop conflicts or problems before they begin.

As you look at furnishing your apartment, one great way to eliminate battles over who needs to buy what is to rent furniture and split the cost. Check out CORT Furniture Rental’s student plans to find one that works for you.

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