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Dorm room bed with lights
Sarah Ehrlich

Top 5 Cheap Things to Make Your New Apartment Pop


I’m moving into my first apartment in about a week, and besides all of the tedious things like organizing to have the electric connected and finding a good internet provider, I’m also dealing with how to make my apartment look cute, feel comfy and not resemble a prison cell (flashback to the magic I was able to do to my dorm rooms). While I’m on this journey for myself, I wanted to report back to y’all my findings!

Decorative Pillows

I’m the biggest fan of cute throw pillows. I may or may not have a hoard of them that I’ve accumulated over the years. But, my favorite is my fuzzy armchair pillow. It’s the staple of my late night cereal feasts while binge watching Criminal Minds on Netflix instead of writing that paper … You can find a similar one here. I also love fall or autumn (or Halloween!) themed throw pillows! I found a bunch of cute seasonal throw pillows here.

Area Rugs

Area rugs can bring a pop of color into a room and provide a soft place to put your feet if you have hard surfaced floors like linoleum or hardwood. Rugs can get pretty pricey, but I often find sales at Walmart and Target for some cute ones every so often!

String Lights

I feel like this is every dorm room staple, and there’s a good reason. I am a huge fan of alternative sources of light—the overhead lights in most dorms and apartments can be harsh and kill my eyes, especially later at night or early in the morning. String lights are good for the evening and early morning hours when brighter lights can be too aggressive. 


Mirrors are often used in interior decorating in small spaces to trick the eye into seeing a larger area. I recently got a set of wall mirrors in the shape of the moon phases and they look *chef’s kiss* wonderful. I definitely recommend getting some mirrors, even more practical full length ones to slap on a wall. Extra bonus: they will make your outfit pictures look great on Instagram.


Houseplants, like succulents, climbing ivy and snake plants, make any space look instantly more aesthetically pleasing. Just make sure you know how to properly care for them, and if you have pets, that they aren’t toxic in case they sneak a nibble when you aren’t watching …

All five of these have helped me feel at home in my dorm rooms, and they’re bound to turn my first apartment into a home in no time!

Margaux (they/them) is a senior Women and Gender Studies major at SUNY Geneseo. Outside of Her Campus, they work at Geneseo's Office of Diversity and Equity, is on the executive board of Pride Alliance, and is an active Safe Zone trainer. They love to write about diversity, mental health, and environmentalism, with the occasional goofy topic or two (or five). Margaux hopes to someday be the coolest gender studies professor you will ever have.
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