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How to Decorate Your College Apartment on a Budget

One of the things I looked forward to most when coming back to campus was decorating my apartment. From my 63-pin Pinterest board, to my monster-sized Amazon wish list and frequent trips to Home Goods, I thought I had envisioned my dream room. However, after looking at how much my “dream room” would cost me, I decided it would need to be simplified a bit. I happened to find some alternative decor that better fit my budget and still fit my vision. Here are some things I found that saved my “dream room” and my wallet.

1. Shutterfly prints

My first find was these free prints from Shutterfly. You’re able to get unlimited prints for 4×4 and 4×6 sizes, but only through the Shutterfly app. You can choose any pictures you want to fit your aesthetic and the best part is that you only pay for shipping (around $6.00)! So, I suggest you skip CVS for your prints and do it through the Shutterfly app! It may take around two weeks for you to receive the prints, but it is well worth the wait! With my prints, I placed them on my wall using sticky tac. Check out Shutterfly to get your personalized prints!  

2. Green Vines

Another item I loved for my apartment was these artificial green vines. For only $16.99, you get a 24 pack (168ft) of vines that you could split amongst your friends! These were perfect for hanging around windows, doors, mirrors, or all together on a wall. Having greenery in your space will make you feel more relaxed, even though it is not real greenery. These vines helped brighten my room and accentuated each doorway and window I have in my apartment. I ordered these from Amazon and shared the cost with my friends which made it that much cheaper.

3. LED Lights

This next item is something that everyone loves to have around their room: LED lights! For only $14.99 on Amazon, you get 50 ft of LED lights to hang in your room, bathroom, or closet. These are the best lights to use when you need enough light to see your homework, or when you want just a bit to chill in bed. Many think that LED lights use up a lot of electricity because of how bright they are, when they use significantly less than regular lighting. According to energy.gov, using LED lights uses at least 75% less energy than regular light bulbs. So with these, you can be cost-efficient and energy-efficient. You can change the color, brightness, and flash of the LED lights based on your mood.

4. Tapestries

Another popular item I found for my room was a tapestry. Some tapestries are expensive, but I found one on Amazon for just $10 that ended up being a great fit for my room. Amazon is a great site to find inexpensive tapestries that come with everything you need to hang it up. They have so many different kinds, so you are sure to find one to go with your aesthetic. (And if you have prime student, you can even get two-day shipping!)

5. Posters & Records

I love to shop at small businesses and thrift stores because you can always find one-of-a-kind items. My next find was from a record store in Uptown and a thrift store in downtown Bloomington. I got the idea from a good friend of mine that records can be used as wall decor. I found this unique record with cool cover art that I hung up in my room for only $0.50 and I love it. You can hang up the record by itself or you can also use the record cover. I found a small record for one of my favorite Beatles songs, “Hey Jude”, for only $2 at North Street Records in Uptown. These record stores also have inexpensive posters of your favorite artists, paintings, or just something to fit your color scheme. I found my poster at Waiting Room Records in Uptown Normal for $8! A great find that perfectly fit in my room. Even if you’re just looking for something to put on the wall, this is the perfect place to go. I would suggest you check out these local stores for some good finds!

These are just some examples of low-priced decorations you could use to brighten up your space. I encourage you to find your style and make your space your own!

Kailyn Coleman

Illinois State '23

Hey! My name is Kailyn. I am a Junior at Illinois State and I am majoring in Speech Language Pathology! I love to meet new people, travel, and visit local small businesses :)
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