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How to Decorate Your Living Space on a Budget

You’re finally out of the dorms and into an apartment of your own, but something is missing. But despite the prime location and fully-furnished digs, your new apartment doesn’t feel like … well, yours. How can you turn your college apartment into a home-away-from-home? Here’s how to dress up your first rental on a college student’s budget.

Accessorize on a budget

College isn’t the time to invest in pieces you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Use your college apartment as a chance to experiment and have fun with low-cost home décor.

● Use throw pillows and blankets to change up your couch’s look or add seasonal flair to your rental. Target, TJ Maxx, and H&M’s Home line are reliable sources of inexpensive throw pillows.

● Harsh overhead lighting? Rope lights are the classic low-cost mood lighting, but today’s renters have their choice of plug-and-play lighting options including LED strips, fairy lights, and color-changing bulbs.

● Support your favorite artists and spruce up blank apartment walls with print-on-demand artwork. Check out sites like Society6, Minted, and 20x200 for affordable prints, tapestries, and wall murals designed by independent artists.

Chalkboard decals turn a large expanse of wall into the perfect command center for college roommates. Look for peel-and-stick decals that won’t leave residue when you remove them.

● You don’t need a green thumb for low-maintenance houseplants like the ZZ plant, snake plant, and succulents. Check Home Depot, Lowes, and supermarkets for discount plants, which can still help add some calming greenery to your space. However, be careful if you have pets. Certain houseplants are toxic to dogs and cats.

Set up a study space

A cozy study space is a must for any college rental, especially when you live with roommates. A physical distinction between “work” and “play” prevents distraction and gets you in the right headspace for productivity.

● Many college students study in their bedrooms, but it’s better to have a dedicated workspace away from where you sleep. You can still create privacy and avoid distractions while studying in common areas with a few basic house rules.

Organization solutions control clutter and keep study supplies right where you need them. Look for a desk with built-in storage or use bookcases and floating shelves to organize books, tech, and note-taking supplies.

● It’s hard to beat IKEA for budget-friendly desks. Not only do they have options under $100, but the easy assembly means you can take your IKEA pieces wherever you go.

● A good desk lamp is a must for any workspace. Avoid cable chaos with a desk lamp that includes charging ports for your devices. Amazon has a variety of styles for less than $50.

Splurge selectively

When it comes to the pieces that pull a room together, don’t be afraid to spend a little more. Of course, there are always ways to save on home décor if you get creative!

Quality bedding is one splurge you won’t regret. However, that doesn’t mean you have to pay full price. Bed Bath & Beyond’s famous 20% off coupon is a great way to score sheets and duvets for less.

● While area rugs aren’t known for low price tags, you can find rugs for surprisingly cheap from online retailerslike Rugs USA and Overstock. It’s also worth checking thrift stores and Facebook Marketplace for second hand rugs in good condition.

● Command hooks and tension rods let renters hang curtains without damaging walls. No cash for curtains? Upcycle thrift store curtains or turn a simple piece of fabric into a DIY no-sew blind for a cheap alternative.

A stylish home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Whatever your taste, you can make it happen with low-cost decorating tips like these. Plus, with furnished rentals from area apartments, your dollar will stretch even further! Check out our properties and find a place to call your own.

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