Decorating Your Apartment on a College Budget

By Amanda Cohen on May 31, 2018

This article is brought to you by CORT Furniture Rental. We take the hassle out of furnishing your new place so you can do more important things like read this article. Learn more about why furniture rental is the best way to get a great looking apartment.

Whether you live in a dorm room, a house, an apartment, a condo, or wherever, decorations are extremely important. However, we all also know that after spending your money on necessities like bedding, kitchen supplies, furniture, and monthly rent and installation bills, paying for decorations is not always in the cards. However, even if it’s not your official/permanent home, you should make it look and feel like a home. So, how do you decorate properly on a college budget? I did it for four years and I am here to tell you that it is, in fact, possible to decorate on a college budget, you just need some advice… that’s what I’m here for! In other words, I have your back, so read on if you want some advice on college decorating.

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First and foremost, a home is not a home without pictures of your loved ones in it. The beauty of pictures is that they are usually pretty cheap to print and you can print them from a variety of places—Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Minted, Shutterfly, etc. If you want to spend money on frames, you can buy decently-priced ones from eBay and Amazon, but you can also collage them on your wall.

My roommate put her pictures on her wall in a block M (for our school), but this is just one of the many ways you can both beautifully-decorate your apartment and save money (while also representing your school). If frames are more your thing, like I said Amazon and eBay are great for adding a more sophisticated look to your apartment. If your apartment is typically monochromatic, colored and patterned picture frames are a great way to spice up your apartment.

If collaging pictures isn’t your thing, you can always opt for a tapestry. Tapestries come in all different shapes, styles, and bear all different patterns, colors, images, and more. I used to have two separate tapestries in my room: one that was pink and had a cool image on it, another that was pink and white that showed a funny, yet inspirational saying on it (and I received tons of compliments on it… not to toot my own horn). The best part about tapestries is that they are usually very reasonably priced.

Some amazing places to purchase tapestries are Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, Society6, Dormify, and many other websites that you can Google! If you want to combine your love for your friends and family with your love for tapestries, you can even customize your tapestry with images of your friends and family. I even think that tapestries open up the room more and make it look bigger, but that’s just my honest opinion!

If you want to buy accent furniture or accessories like pillows and blankets, don’t overthink it. Websites like Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, CORT, Wayfair, Pottery Barn, and other classic websites will be your best friends for items like these. Nothing livens up a room more than a furry blanket and accent pillows. If you want to purchase used items for other things, like desk supplies, that’s fine, but I do not suggest doing that with items that you will lay your head on or snuggle your body in on a cold day.

If you have more years of college ahead of you (aka you aren’t a senior), buy classic, noncomplicated looking blankets and pillows so that they can be used throughout your college years and can be used with different colored rooms. I always suggest whites, beiges, greys, and metallics for accent pillows. When it comes to blankets, white or off-white is always the move (as well as something that is furry or fleece, but that’s just what I prefer).

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I promise you that it is possible to decorate your apartment on a college budget! I did it for four years, and so can you. The key is to buy and reuse (so make sure to keep your items clean). When buying sheets, stick with monochrome colors so that you can always reuse them. And finally, when it’s appropriate, buy used items from your friends and family! Obviously, wash all used items when you buy them because you can never be too careful. Websites and stores like Amazon, eBay, Target, Home Goods, Walmart, Michaels, and more will be your best friends!

Lastly, when it comes to decorating, don’t overthink it. Stick with simple items, like pictures, tapestries, and canvases, that are both affordable and will make your living area shine. Having a nice and homey decorated apartment will make your college experience better. It helps to relieve homesickness and it becomes comforting to you when you are at your dorm room desk studying all night. However, before you buy any decorations, be sure to buy all of your necessities, like sheets and furniture, if necessary. Good luck and happy decorating!

Looking for an easy way to furnish your off-campus apartment? Renting furniture from CORT saves you time and money. See how easy it is to get great looking furniture without breaking the bank.

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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