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10 College Apartment Decorating Tips

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Whether you are moving from a dorm room into your first apartment or are starting your college career in your apartment home, making the space uniquely yours can be a fun and exciting process.

Most college student apartments are not large or lavish, but there are some simple ideas you can implement to decorate your apartment — without breaking the bank.

Apartment living areas for college students are typically limited spaces and you may be sharing common areas with one or more roommates.

Use these college apartment decorating tips to add personality and style, and to make your space functional and comfortable:

  1. Lighting, lighting, lighting. Often, college apartment bedrooms do not have overhead lighting, so college students must find other ways of illuminating their rooms. DIY bedroom decorating tips often include using fairy lights or string lights to brighten the space without having to rely exclusively on floor lamps, and for good reason. These lights are an aesthetically pleasing, budget-friendly option.
  2. Be creative with storage. In most college apartments, closet space and cupboards leave a lot to be desired. Fortunately, there are many creative ways you can solve this storage problem. For living rooms and bathrooms, consider floating shelving, over-the-door and over-the-toilet storage options, wall baskets, ottomans with storage, and metal bins. Wine racks can even be used as towel racks. 
    Apartment bedroom decorating tips for small space storage include nightstands or desks with doors/drawers, decorative baskets, and using a storage bench at the end of the bed to hold extra blankets. Bar carts can be used to store alcohol and mixers, but could also be used as added storage for books, knick-knacks, framed photos, etc.
  3. Find second-hand treasures. Buying furniture and decor for your college apartment doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. You can often find deals on well-loved but still functional furniture at thrift stores and yard sales, or use online marketplaces in your community. Adding a coat of varnish or paint can often make such finds feel new — for a fraction of what you would have paid to buy new items.
  4. Make a DIY bookshelf. If you’re handy, you could save more money by making some of your furniture. Even people who don’t consider themselves craftspeople can make an attractive, functional bookshelf to house college reads using crates of different sizes and colors.
  5. Use throw pillows and blankets. You can change the look and feel of your college apartment’s living room or your bedroom inexpensively by using throw pillows and blankets. Change pillow covers periodically to freshen the look of the room. Pillow shams and covers are relatively inexpensive and can be found through a variety of retail stores and online.
  6. Bring nature indoors. Another way to brighten your college apartment is by adding some plants. If you do not have a green thumb, never fear — you can buy artificial plants that look like the real thing, no maintenance required. Consider mounting hooks on the ceiling or using floating shelves to hold plants without taking valuable floor space.
  7. Paint a wall — or all of them! You’ll want to check your lease or ask your landlord before doing so, but adding a coat of paint or using peel-and-stick wall paper to create an accent wall or two can help make your apartment space feel more like home. Painting requires some work on your part, but it is a fairly inexpensive way to brighten a small space.
  8. Decorate the walls with art. Adding meaningful items to the walls of your new apartment is a simple, cost-conscious way to decorate. “Art” can be anything you want it to be; it does not need to be expensive prints by the masters. Use your favorite movie or band posters, your guitar or surfboard, etc. Also consider adding mirrors to living room and bedroom walls, as they can make a room seem larger than it is.
  9. Spruce up your floors. Whether your apartment came with hardwood floors, linoleum or carpet, adding area rugs is a great way to personalize your space. As a bonus, area rugs can also help protect your apartment’s flooring – so you don’t need to worry about losing your security deposit if someone spills a drink or a pet has an accident.
  10. Keep things simple. Lists of studio and one-bedroom apartment decorating tips typically include “decluttering,” so we would be remiss if we did not include it here. Clutter on top of counters, dressers, desks and other surfaces can make an apartment feel smaller. For some people, seeing clutter at home can also increase anxiety and stress. By making a conscious effort to keep surfaces clear and neat, you can also be confident clutter doesn’t detract from the other decorating you’ve done.

As you can see, there are simple, inexpensive ways you can make your college apartment uniquely yours. In addition to these tips, Generations College has compiled a helpful list of resources for students.

To learn more, explore our off-campus housing resources or contact us. If you are ready to start your college career at Generations College, apply online today.