Yes, it is possible to safely decorate a dorm room or apartment creatively while on a typical college studentʼs budget. All that is needed are the three basic elements of room design: lighting, window treatments, and wall treatments.Lighting adds ambiance and personality, be it cozy or posh. Window treatments soften hard edges as well as provide privacy or shade. To add contrast and break up extensive blank space, wall treatments are essential. Lighting is very important especially, in cell-block dorms or sterile, hospital-like apartments, as it can change the atmosphere entirely.
Luckily there are simple, cheap solutions. If that harsh white bulb in a lamp is giving off the dentist office vibe, replace it with a colored bulb; orange for example, exudes a firelike glow. Voila – instant coziness. Places like IKEA and Target offer a lot in cheap home dcor that will last through the college years and wonʼt break your budget.
Hanging paper lantern lights not only illuminates a room, but can emanate color and function as wall dcor. If hung from the ceiling in a corner in conjunction with another lamp at a different height and shape, they prevent the room from taking on a box shape and soften the sharp corner.
Some apartments and dorms allow residents one strand of Christmas lights – the key is to use that one strand wisely. Instead of using traditional strands of blinking colored or white lights, look into a strand that could complement the style of the room. At Target stores, a variety of strand lights are available.
They range from bulbs to paper lantern strands. During daylight hours, lights can look tacky unlit, so be sure to purchase a string of lights that will also look good simply hanging as decoration. These also act as window treatments when placed appropriately. When it comes to curtains, spending a lot of money isnʼt needed to improve the room. Buy sheer panels of a solid color that complements the room for an inexpensive softening of a window. If the room has numerous windows and there isnʼt money for curtains for all, consider purchasing two panels for every two windows.
If two windows are on the same wall, pretend itʼs one large window and place one panel on the left side of the left window and another on the right side of the right window. For wall treatments, itʼs best to invest in frames, preferably black or brown. Most often, walls are white and frames that contrast this reduce the washed-out boring look.
Take up photography, especially in this digital era in which virtually anyone can be a photographer. Donʼt be afraid to enlarge photos, especially decent ones of scenery that can look good anywhere. For example, take four different pictures of trees, perhaps one for each season and create one large block of pictures on the wall. A black frame with black and white matting can set a photograph off nicely.
If photography isnʼt an option, inexpensive art can still be created. Find sheets of interesting-looking paper like discontinued sample rolls of wallpaper and cut them to fit the frame and matte. Not unique enough? Combine textures, colors, and patterns of paper or fabric into a collage or pattern and frame that. With the new year recently upon us, that old 2004 calendar might still be laying around. Put it to use again by cutting out the large photos and then matte and frame. Instant art on a budget.
No matter how nicely decorated a room is, it canʼt be noticed if the room is messy – keep it clean for better ambiance and aesthetic appeal.