7 DIY Decorating Ideas For Your College Apartment

By Alexandra Brown on March 14, 2016

As a college student, your living arrangements will most likely go as follows: dorms freshman year, and maybe even sophomore year, and then apartments/off-campus housing junior and senior year.

Dorms are usually a fun experience for incoming freshmen in college. You’re living away from home for the first time, meeting new people your age and getting acclimated to college life.

What can be even more fun, though, is when you’re really on your own, living in off-campus housing. You get to gather a group of friends together, sign a lease on an apartment or house, and begin your journey as upperclassmen.

Living in apartments for college students means no R.A.s and definitely more freedom. You can have parties, not worry about noise restrictions and generally feel more on your own.

What you also have the opportunity for, which you may not have had in the dorms because of certain other restrictions, is decorating.

Here are seven DIY ideas to decorate your space:


1. Turn an old frame into a whiteboard

This decoration idea is definitely helpful for those who have excess items lying around that aren’t being used. If one of these items is a decently sized picture frame, you’re halfway there.

Turn your picture frame into a white board for writing down reminders, upcoming events, inspirational quotes or whatever else you can think of. You’ll just need to purchase a whiteboard at an office supplies store that will fit behind the frame, and fasten it using tape or another method.

2. Clothes pin photo hanger

This project is perfect for anyone who has developed photos lying around with no intended purpose. First, hang a piece of string across a wall, either with tacks, or some other fastening tool that doesn’t leave marks on your wall.

From here, clip as many clothes pins as you have photos across the string, spread out. Colorful clothespins might add more detail as well. You’ll end up with a colorful string of photos on your wall in less than 10 minutes.

3. Cookie sheet magnetic bulletin board

An alternative to the old frame white board is the cookie sheet magnetic bulletin board, another way to post reminders, upcoming events, etc. up on a wall for you to see.

All you’ll need is a cookie sheet or two, magnets and spray paint (depending on what color you’re going to prefer). Take a cookie sheet you don’t need, or buy a new one, spray paint it your preferred color, and you’ve got your board. You can fasten it on your wall using tape or other fastening methods, and post pictures, tickets and other items on the sheet using magnets.

4. Old door bed frame

If you’re ever at a thrift shop, an antique store or anywhere else where you might be able to find an old door, this decorating project would be ideal. All you have to do is decorate the door however you want, could be by painting or sanding, and you have a bed frame.

Place it behind your bed, and you have a unique frame you couldn’t have bought.

5. Decorate a bland mirror to make it personalized

Do you have a boring mirror in your apartment, either in your room, bathroom, or even hanging on a wall in your living room? If you don’t like its style or design, change it.

The only thing this one requires is a trip to a store like Jo-Ann Fabrics. You could choose to pick out some cloth to cover the sides of your mirror, paint, glitter, small items to glue on to the frame, or anything else you come across that you think would make your mirror more you.

6. Picture frame key hanger

Another craft for someone with even smaller picture frames nearby is the picture frame key hanger. Hammer or screw in some hanger nails you can buy at any hardware store, and you have yourself a unique-looking, personalized key hanger you can hang up on a wall somewhere in your apartment.

7. Shoebox storage cubbies

This one is for all the students with shoeboxes lying around (for probably quite some time) that just take up space. Put them to good use!

Cover the boxes with patterned paper or even wallpaper you can buy at any craft store, find some name frames, and you can transform a basic, old shoebox into a storage cubby. These are great for stacking in closets, under coffee tables, or on shelves where you typically have clutter. They house the clutter in a stylish way, and might even encourage you to be more organized.

Hi! I'm Alexandra Brown, a current senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am a News-Editorial Journalism major, and am also working toward a Spanish minor. I love writing, especially about pop-culture, so I hope I can entertain you!

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