If there’s any stereotype that holds true, it’s that most college students don’t have much money. Between taking out large student loans, struggling to make time for paid work against the burden of schoolwork and classes, and going out with friends, students often need to save money however they can.
At the same time, if you’re in college, you might be pretty concerned with standing out from your peers, and one way to make an impression is by decorating your space in a way that, well, doesn’t look like Grandma’s old couch (even though you’re probably rocking it). The bare white walls and tiny spaces in most college apartments don’t make for the most welcoming spaces around, but decorating can cost more than a few bucks, especially if you’re really going for something that’s not tacky. The decorating ideas below will allow you to upgrade your college apartment for cheap without using anything generic or overdone.
Make your own headboard
Relying on your arts and crafts skills is a surefire way to spruce up your room, even if you don’t consider yourself to be at all artistic. Gather plywood, a staple gun, and quilt batting, either from a craft store or search for someone giving them away online. After you cut the plywood into a rectangle, cover it in quilt batting. Staple the batting down and feel free to decorate your new, DIY headboard with photos, fabrics, colors, and other items that will make the space behind your pillow come to life.
Go wild with removable wallpaper
Your college apartment’s walls are often adorned with strings of photos, Christmas lights and band posters, but that kind of decor looks more like a cheesy dorm room than a college apartment. These decorations, though commonplace, do nothing to address drab colors in lived-in spaces. Covering your room with removable wallpaper will help you say goodbye to boring colors you can’t stand without creating a permanent mess that you’ll have to spend hours covering up when you move out.
Buy some plants
Plants are a cheap, vivid decorating solution for even the tiniest of budgets. Small succulents can be inexpensive at just a few dollars at your local plant store, and you can grab tiny fake plants for just about the same price on your next home goods store run. If you’re not near a plant specialty shop, plenty of plants are available at grocery stores and home improvement stores. You’ll want to err on the low-maintenance side if you’re buying real plants, so stick with snake plants, aloe vera, and cacti for starters. For fake plants, though, the options are endless.
Add storage boxes to your decor setup
Find colorful, fabric boxes for storing books, clothes, and smaller items, but instead of hiding these under your bed or in your closet, line the periphery of your room with them for everyone to see. A bunch of cute, bright cubes is an affordable way to bring new life to your room on a budget while saving space. You can find these cubes for approximately $15 or under at many stores and on the internet.
Get an area rug
Liven up the boring space in front of your bed with an area rug. You can find some cute rugs at reasonable prices. Get the size that covers plenty of floor area without being so big that they’re hard to transport, roll up, or put down without the corners folding or rolling up against hard surfaces such as chairs or your bed frame. Plus, if you have footstep-sensitive downstairs neighbors, these rugs will help dampen any noise.