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Tips on Decorating your Central Campus Apartment

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Duke chapter.

After returning to campus from abroad, my roommate and I both entered our central campus apartment with excitement and disappointment. Excited because we felt like we were growing up; after all, we did have our own apartment. But, disappointed with the lack of color, which meant we had quite the decorating job to do. And without the help of our mothers, we felt incapable of lighting up the room…literally. But after two weeks of staring at the white walls all around us, we finally did some brainstorming. And because living under university housing limits us to some extent: “residents may not use nails, screws, tacks, hooks, decals, or adhesives that damage walls, furniture, or fixtures”, according to student affairs website, we had to get creative. So here are some tips we found useful while brainstorming how to decorate under university rules and under a budget!

  1. Recycle things! You never know what that cardboard box you have from storage could be turned into.
  2. Collage! Collage! Collage! Pictures look great when you put one over another.
  3. Add pops of color. You only need a couple accent pieces to brighten up the room.
  4. Christmas lights also make a fun and sparkly addition to any part of the room.
  5. Enlarge your favorite photos from Facebook and print them out on 24×36 posters to really make the room feel like your own! (Kinko’s does a great job)
  6. Frame your favorite wallpaper to add some sophistication.
  7. Get chair/couch covers so YOU can choose the look of your room.
  8. If you were abroad, add some international flair to your apartment! I’d suggest hanging that country’s flag up, or if you bought any rugs or scarves to add to the walls to remind you of fond memories.
  9. Add some paint to the walls (as long as you’re willing to paint it back!)
  10. Let your creative juices flow! Because you want to feel comfortable and excited about entering your apartment!


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Sabrina is a Junior at Duke University, and is double majoring in English and Public Policy. A born and bred South African, Sabrina has traveled to the USA to pursue her higher education. As well as being a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Sabrina is also Assistant Vice President for Recruitment for the Panhellenic Association at Duke. Sabrina has written for Duke's daily newspaper, The Chronicle and Duke's fashion magazine, FORM. After graduating, she hopes to attend law school preferably in her favourite city, New York. In her spare time, Sabrina vegges out to various fashion blogs, mindless TV (Pretty Little Liars anyone?) and online shopping (which borders on an addiction). If you manage to catch her in an energetic mood, she's probably on her way to cardiodance (or to the nearest mall).