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Tips On Decorating Your College Space For The Holidays

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

No matter what holiday(s) you celebrate or don’t celebrate this December, you don’t want to miss out on bringing the cheer to your abode through the power of decoration. You’re a poor college student with a raisin for a budget, you say? Well, from one poor college student to another, here are some cost-effective ways you can decorate your college space this holiday season.

All Of The Lights

Last year, a few days after Christmas, I went to Target with my mom and little sister. I don’t even remember what we originally went there to get — all I remember is ending up in the check-out lane with boxes and boxes of marked down string lights. String lights are a great way to add warmth to a living space, no matter the size. There’s something so magical about plugging them in and turning the overhead lights off to fully experience these tiny beads of brightness. Something about string lights just screams “holiday cheer.” You can even get really crafty and put the lights in a jar or another glass container to create makeshift lanterns. If you find you’re not able to get string lights this holiday season, never fear — just make sure to stock up on marked down lights after the holidays so you’re prepared for next year!

Wreath For The Stars

As a child I never found wreaths to be that exciting. To put it bluntly, I didn’t know why anyone would bother decorating with a ring of dead or fake shrubbery, no less decorate by hanging it square in the middle of a front door. As an adult, I’ve come to love wreaths. I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of decorating gingerbread houses with my family and putting candy wreaths around the gingerbread house or what, but seeing a wreath on a door makes me feel warm inside, like cheer is emanating from that space. Wreaths are cheap to buy and easy to make so they are a nice, simple way of adding some holiday decor without breaking the bank. Buy a fake wreath from a store, make a real one out of the greens you find outside of your apartment building, or construct one out of art supplies! The possibilities are endless.

It’s Beginning To Smell A Lot Like Happiness

The holiday season is all about love and joy and cheer, and what better way to accomplish these things than by appealing to the senses? Smell is one of our strongest senses, and certain smells can trigger positive responses in our brains that make us happy. Candles are a great way to accomplish this. One of the simplest ways you can decorate for the holidays is by setting out a candle and burning it for all to enjoy! Light a candle that smells like pine, or one that smells like eggnog — the scent possibilities are endless. Just keep in mind that if you live in University housing, burning candles aren’t allowed. Instead, consider using a candle warmer or essential oil diffuser to still experience the smells.

You Should Have Figure-ined That I’d Bring This Up

I’m not talking front lawn Night-In-Bethlehem figurines. I’m talking the cute little snowpeople that you can put on a counter or table. Snowmen on sleds, snowwomen bundled in hats and scarves and mittens, snowpeople holding hands and grinning at each other as they stand frozen in the snow. If snowmen aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other kinds of small figurines that you can place around your college space to spice up the cheer this December. Maybe you put a deer on your desk and he helps you study for finals while he stands there, antlers dripping with snow and neck wrapped in a scarf. Maybe you celebrate a specific holiday and set up a little scene with people-figurines and every time you come home it makes you smile and feel warm inside. It’s as simple as having a favorite, random figurine that you and your roommates take turns placing around the apartment for the others to find. We wouldn’t call it “Elf On The Shelf.” No, we’d call it: “The Unseen Figurine.”

Craft Your Own Way

Even when there are cheap options out there for decorating for the holidays, sometimes it just makes more sense to make your own holiday crafts. If this is the way you choose to do your decorating this year, get ready for some fun crafty nights! This could be an excellent roommate bonding experience. You can create paper snowflakes and tape them to your windows, and maybe even a wall or two. Pick up graham crackers, frosting, and a few types of candy from the store and make a gingerbread house to keep on your table. Find an empty mason jar in your cupboards and make your own snowglobe by putting a picture inside of it and filling the container with water and glitter. Cheer brings out the best in us, so let the cheer of the holiday season melt into you and bring out the creativity that lives deep within you!


Decorating for the holidays can seem like a headache. Don’t forget that it’s only as hard as you make it! Consider using these easy decorating tips to bring your favorite holiday to life this winter.


Kayleen Hedberg

Minnesota '19

Kayleen is a a senior at the University of Minnesota studying English and Creative Writing. She is a Hufflepuff, a cat mom and lover of all things superhero.
Jillian McMahan

Minnesota '19

Jillian McMahan is a senior studying child psychology at the University of Minnesota. She aspires to one day be the Leslie Knope of her workplace.