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Fashion August 21, 2011 //  by  // Comments

Decorating on a budget

In an effort to save space and keep your favorite items on display, let them adorn the walls in frames. This is a creative way to keep them from looking out of place. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

In an effort to save space and keep your favorite items on display, let them adorn the walls in frames. This is a creative way to keep them from looking out of place. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Placing bookends on your bookshelf or endtable draws attention to your books and allows them to be a part of the decoration of your apartment. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Placing bookends on your bookshelf or endtable draws attention to your books and allows them to be a part of the decoration of your apartment. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Even though your apartment or dorm may feel like you’re living in a shoebox, there are ways to tastefully decorate your place that minimize the appearance of clutter and maximize space without spending more than you can afford on furniture and decorations. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Even though your apartment or dorm may feel like you’re living in a shoebox, there are ways to tastefully decorate your place that minimize the appearance of clutter and maximize space without spending more than you can afford on furniture and decorations. | Brianna Leigh Morrison/The Daily Cougar

Furnishing a new apartment can be challenging to a student’s budget.

Fortunately, most students cannot afford a large apartment, which means there is less space to furnish and leaves a smaller dent in your pocketbook. This is generally positive, but living in a small space can be an issue in itself.

Here are tips on how to best liven up your apartment without emptying your bank account.

Find furniture for free

You should begin your search for furniture at your parent’s house. Rummage through the garage, attic and closets. Ask them how often they use certain items, and if they would consider donating them to the underprivileged.

After you have taken as much as they will give you, start calling up relatives, neighbors and then post a subtly manipulative status on Facebook about how much trouble you are having finding furniture. People will respond with furniture donations, thinking it was all their idea.

You can find any remaining items at thrift stores, garage sales and IKEA.

Give your four walls a makeover

Before you move into your apartment it is essential that you paint if it’s permissible to do so.

Many people decide not to paint their apartments because they think it will be too much work. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it.

You will most likely sign a 12-month lease, so that will leave you with 364 days of painted-apartment enjoyment to make up for the one day you lost painting. Consider painting your room two different shades of the same color.

Paint an accent wall a dark color, then paint the rest of your room a color that is at least two shades lighter. The accent wall will help you define a certain area, while the lighter color will add cohesion to the space and make it feel more expansive.

For curtains, just go to IKEA. They have the best prices in this area. Where else can you buy a set of curtains for less than $20?

Furnish the floors, too

Rugs can help define certain areas of your apartment, but they tend to be expensive. Try finding an inexpensive rug at a thrift store before you start searching for one at department stores. If you simply cannot afford one, you can turn a blanket into a rug.

If you decide to do this, go for a blanket that is thick and of a solid color. However, this should only be a temporary solution. Consider stopping by a couple of thrift stores once a month until you find a rug you like with which to replace the blanket.

Create your space

Arranging furniture in a small space can be difficult.

Your goal is to create separate living areas without making your apartment look small or cluttered.

If you are in a studio apartment, this is especially difficult. If this is the case, consider opting out on a kitchen table.

You can eat at a coffee table instead, or get a bar stool and eat at your kitchen counter. This will free up a lot of space.

Use furniture groupings to define your space. However, in a small space, you want to make sure these groupings open up into the center of the room.

This will reduce any feelings of claustrophobia, and it will help you avoid creating little mini-hallways out of your furniture.

Don’t break the bank on decór

Consider purchasing most of your decorations at thrift stores. You should be able to provide a good foundation of decorations for your apartment for no more than $50.

Make sure you take full advantage of how wallet-friendly Goodwill is before you head over to Target or IKEA for more cheap decorations.


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