How to Decorate a College Apartment: A Complete Guide

Are you looking to create the perfect ambiance at your college apartment? Are you struggling to find decorations that perfectly suit your taste?

About 12 percent of rental housing in the United States is used by students, so you’re not alone in your struggle. Luckily, there are lots of decoration options out there to suit your needs.

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Let’s go through how to decorate a college apartment.

Don’t Go Overboard With Your Decor

Getting your first apartment is always exciting, but try not to get swept away in it. Create a budget for your college apartment decorations, and stick to it. Before you start decorating for a college apartment, measure everything in your apartment, including the room directions.

Then, measure every piece of furniture and everything you plan to hang on your walls so that you can visualize the space and make sure that everything will fit.

If you plan to have friends over a lot or to throw parties, don’t buy anything breakable that could be in harm’s way (especially if it’s expensive!).

You’ll also need to take your specific apartment into consideration. Your roommates, the floor plans, and the amenities can all play a role in your decoration. Make sure you’ve explored all your housing options before you sign a lease!

Make Plenty of Room

You’ll probably be short on space in your first college apartment. After all, big apartments don’t come cheap. And, having too much clutter around will make your apartment look even smaller — plus, it’ll make it harder to do everything you’ll want to do with your newfound freedom.

So, make sure you have plenty of storage space available, to keep everything you need in your apartment and out of the way.

You can add storage in unexpected ways, too. If you don’t have drawers under your bed, look into under-bed storage containers.

If you don’t want boring old Tupperware containers, there are more decorative options for you. Cool, old-school suitcases, for example, can serve the same purpose but with a style upgrade.

Add more bathroom space by adding shelving above your toilet, so that you’ll have more room for the necessities.

D.I.Y. When You Can

Many cheap furniture or college apartment decorations (hello, IKEA) can be totally transformed with easy and simple D.I.Y. crafts. A simple coat of colorful paint can take an old dresser into a statement piece. Use metallic spray paint to put a shiny coat on your old picture frames.

For something even more eye-catching, you can use patterned contact paper to create a statement wall — as long as your lease allows, of course, and make sure you don’t cause any damage in the process.

If there are things in your apartment you’d like to hide, like the breaker box, you can hang up curtains or fabric over the area to create a cool texture difference that won’t interfere with needed equipment.

Thrift For Cool Decorations

Looking to save even more money? Secondhand shops are a great resource for cool and unusual decorations for a nice college apartment, at a low price. Plus, buying secondhand helps contribute to the fight against climate change.

Along with the old standards, if you hunt around enough you’ll be able to find amazing, unique pieces. You can find cool desks, great knickknacks, and so much more. If, at first, you don’t succeed, just head over to the next store!

Hang It up on the Walls

Decorating your walls is one of the most important parts of making your new apartment your own. You don’t want to be throwing old posters all over the walls haphazardly! 

If you do have preexisting photos or posters you want to put up, be sure to frame them and hang them properly. This will preserve them in the long run and will also lend a more adult and grownup feel to your new nice college apartment.

For those who are having trouble deciding exactly what they want, look online! There is a ton of inspiration to be found on the web.

Plus, if you’ve got a good enough printer (or if your college offers photo printing), you can print posters or images out for yourself, so you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to take your apartment decorations to the next level.

Or, for more lighting, try putting up twinkle lights on the wall for some extra ambiance. You could also try putting up a bulletin board so that you can display smaller pieces of decoration and change it up to suit your fancy.

Make Sure You Have Plenty of Seating

You’ll want to make sure you have a variety of places to sit down in your home. That gives you a good excuse to change locations in the middle of a study session, and break up the monotony. Plus, if you want to have people over, you’ll want to make sure they have places to sit!

College is the perfect time to have a mismatched design theme. So, it’s time to embrace it. You can even have mismatched kitchen table chairs, as long as they’re all cute and mesh well together.

For comfier seating, look for big, squishy armchairs or gigantic floor pillows. Add plenty of blankets and throw pillows to maximize the comfort levels of your home.

How to Decorate a College Apartment: It’s a Snap

With the right tools, you’ll be breezing through how to decorate a college apartment. And, it’s not like you’re stuck with it forever — when you get bored of your decor, go ahead and change it up.

Are you interested in more home and lifestyle tips? Check out some of our other articles today.

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