7 Cute College Apartment Decor Ideas You Can Afford

By Alicia Geigel on October 10, 2023

In college, getting an apartment is a big deal. Signing the lease and finding roommates can be stressful, but another big stressor is of course furnishing and decorating your new place. If you want to give your place personality and pizzazz without spending a fortune and breaking your budget, these ideas will give your place that cozy, warm feeling of home without extensive costs.

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1. Decorative Pillows: An apartment isn’t complete without a few pieces of furniture to sit on. Sofas, love seats, recliners, etc. are already expensive enough, but when you throw in accessories like furniture covers, blankets, and more, the cost can add up. An inexpensive way to spruce up your furniture is by adding decorative pillows. If you opt to buy decorative pillows at large retail stores, you may end up burning a hole in your wallet. Instead of doing this, look on sites like Amazon for a set of pillow covers. You can get different patterns and a set of four covers for around $20. After that, grab a few bags of Poly-fil stuffing to fill up the pillows, and you’ll have pillows for all your pieces for a low cost!

2. Area Rugs: Don’t get me wrong, area rugs can definitely get expensive. Depending on where you look, they can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, which is definitely not affordable for a college student’s budget. There are a few ways that you can save money and still find a cute area rug to decorate your space. For one, try thrifting! Places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore, Salvation Army, and Goodwill will often carry second-hand rugs at a significantly discounted price. Another place you can hunt for rugs are stores like Walmart, Target, or even Five Below. These stores have smaller area rugs that you can use as accents in rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, or living room.

3. Indoor Plants: Nothing adds freshness and fun to a space like beautiful, green plants. The busy life of a college student might not be the best for all indoor plants, but a low-maintenance plant like a succulent is a great choice for someone that is busy balancing school and work. In addition to being inexpensive, succulent plants are loved because they come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. These unique plants have a long lifespan and can survive comfortably indoors year-round, regardless of the weather or season. You can find succulents online and in-store, and if you’re really nervous about making the leap, fake succulents are an option too!

4. A Projector: Nowadays, there are a ton of TV options out there, but many of them are costly and can run you at least a couple of hundred dollars. A TV is an essential item for every person with an apartment, but if you can’t dish out the money for a fancy electronic device, try a projector! Projectors just have to be hooked up to a power source and have a plain background to project (for lack of a better word) onto. There are a variety of options to choose from, but you can almost always find a great projector with smart capabilities and a screen on sites like Amazon for around $60.

5. Collage Wall: Making a collage doesn’t have to be reserved for your grade school days. Collages are a fun way to showcase your interests in music, movies, pop culture, and everyday life by creatively organizing them on your wall. Sites like Shutterfly and Free Prints allow you to get free 4×6 photos shipped directly to you (just pay shipping and handling). Consider printing out pictures of friends, family, favorite bands, movies, and more, and putting them on a wall in your bedroom, living room, or anywhere in your home that you would like to display pictures or artwork.

6. Organizational Furniture: I think I can speak on behalf of most of us when I say that most people like multi-purpose furniture. One way to decorate your apartment while also keeping it functional is by getting furniture that serves as storage as well. For example, try a coffee table with a shelf underneath, side tables with drawers, an ottoman that doubles as a footrest and storage, etc. Look around stores like Walmart or Amazon for furniture like this to save money.

7. Chalkboard Paint: Chalk paint is available in several stores like Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, and more. It’s a great option if you want to personalize a small section of your apartment since you can paint over it once your lease is up! Paint a square (or circle, rectangle, whatever geometric shape you prefer) of chalkboard paint and have your friends write messages with multicolored chalk, draw out your schedule for the month, write down important due dates, a dinner menu, etc!

Accessorizing and decorating your apartment doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. Instead, it can be a fun experience to let your personality shine and get creative! Try these tips to add some pizzazz to your apartment, or think outside the box!

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