24 Genius College Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget

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This post is all about college apartment decorating ideas on a budget.

college apartment ideas that dont break the bank

You're broke. I'm broke. We're ALL broke. You and I can both relate...we want our college apartment to look professionally designed on a college students budget, right?!

This is not an easy task. Especially with how many tacky looking decor items are available these days.

We've searched the internet and our here with the best college apartment decorating ideas on a budget.

College Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget:

1. Use Pillows

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I think that the best way to decorate a college apartment while on a budget is with pillows.

For your bed or your couch, pillows just make the entire space look like you're at home. And if you want to keep up with the seasons, buy pillow inserts and covers and switch them out throughout the year. ​

FAVORITE TIP! Amazon sells pillow cover sets for REALLY cheap. Get pillow inserts and then you can buy pillow sets for like four pillows at less than $10.

2. Store Things in Cute Metal Bins  
college decorating on a budget

(source @Wayfair)

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Metal bins can do literally so much for a college apartment. Store blankets, store games, the list goes on! 

And metal bins are a great decor idea for college apartments if you're going for a rustic bohemian vibe! 

3. Mail and Key Holder 

(source @SawDustSisters - They have such cute DiY's!)

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The best kinds of decorations are the ones that do stuff and look good while doing it. 

This mail and key holder does exactly that! It's such a unique piece of decor that people see as soon as they walk in. And this is also a college apartment decorating idea on a budget idea that you could easily DIY. 

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4. Wooden Bath Tray 
college apartment decorating on a budget

(source @Etsy)

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Doesn't this photo look luxurious? Luxurious often means expensive though, right? 

WRONG! This bath tray is less than $30 on Amazon. It not only looks super aesthetically pleasing when it's just out, but WOW does it make taking baths so much fun and relaxing! 

If you want a way to decorate your college apartment that also helps you relax, a bath tray is the way to go! 

5. Build a DIY Bar Cart 

Bar carts are such a trend in college apartments right now. They're functional, and make us feel super fancy when we use them. 

They can get really expensive though. But like everything else, I have a hack for this! Find any kind of cart and repurpose it with paint and wall paper to make it into the bar cart of your dreams! 

6. Add Large Mirrors to Spaces 

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college apartment decorating ideas on a budget

Mirror mirror on the wall, who saves money best of all? Well, if you incorporate this idea into your college apartment decorating on a budget journey then . . . YOU WILL! 

Seriously, mirrors do so much for a room. And while they can get expensive, tiny ones are just as mighty. Definitely look into round smaller ones if you're stricty on a budget. But if you have wiggle room, this is an item I would definitely consider investing in! 

PS! That Target mirror is under $50. R-e-a-l-l-y cute.

7. Change Hardware on Furniture 

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This is one hack that my mother taught me, and boy oh boy am I thankful for it! 

If you find a piece of furniture for cheap but don't love it, go ahead and get it. Then buy some hardware like the photo above shows to customize it and make it all your own! 

The thing about furniture is that it needs to be functional, not pretty. Spice up the big pieces in other ways, just like this idea suggests. Your bank account will thank you later! 

8. Make Your Own Artwork 

This is SUCH a great college apartment decorating on a budget idea, especially for the living room or bedroom! 

We all love to have craft nights or just sit and paint. So the next time you get an inkling to do so, do it for your college apartment. This idea makes your apartment very much you and saves you some PRETTY pennies!! 

PS- One of the first bloggers I fell in love with was Fall for DIY. Her tutorial is so good on creating one of these pieces of artwork yourself!

9. Decorate With Candles

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Who doesn't love candles? Those who hate happiness, that's who doesn't love candles.

But sometimes, candles can be boring. So a great way to spice them up and add some decoration to your college apartment is by putting them in candle holders! The cool thing about candle holders is that they can be pretty much anything.

But if you're looking for ones specifically designated to containing the flame, I suggest you check out Bath and Body Works! 

10.Fake Succulents 

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I cannot keep a plant alive to save my life. So I am team "Fake Plant" all the way! And they are some of the best college apartment decor that I have come across. 

And wanna know a secret? All of the succulents I have in my apartment were under $10. Can you believe that? If you wanna be like me and look like you have a great green thumb, then definitely check out places like Marshalls, Hobby Lobby, and TJMaxx. I promise you will find some STEALS there! 

11. Macrame Wall Hangings

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I've preached about how cool, cheap, and awesome wall tapestries are. But for this post, I wanted to discuss a different kind of wall tapestries that is almost like a "step-up". 

Macrames give off a boho vibe look awesome, and are very budget friendly (like those two above are just $13 for BOTH of those). Definitely look into them if you're going for a boho vibe in your next college apartment! 

12. Paint Old Things to Make Them Seem New!

This is such a fun college apartment decorating on a budget idea! And it's SO overlooked, so I'm trying to change that. 

"Every barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint". Don't ask me why I know that phrase but it's SO true! Thus, one of the best ways to decorate while not spending a ton is to simply paint something you already own a different color. No one will know the difference!  

13. Floating Shelves  

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I never realized until now how cheap floating shelves are.

They are a life saver in college apartments when you are not given a lot of storage options! 

Floating shelves don't break the bank like some bookcases would, and they give you a great space to store things or just place fun little decorations. Seriously, head to Amazon and check some out, they're a great way to decorate a college apartment on a budget! 

14. Mason Jars 

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Mason jars are life's unsung heroes TBH. Like, what can't they do? Answer: not much. 

And did you know that you can buy them in bulk on Amazon at SUCH a great price? Use them for spices, ingredients, cotton balls, makeup brushes, pencils, the list of places that mason jars can go in a college apartment goes on and on! And if you paint them, then they become one of the cheapest decorations you have, and also some of the prettiest! 

15. Photos!  
college apartment decor

Photos are such a unique and personal way to decorate your space. They are great reminders of those you love or fun memories you've made while you cook a meal, do a load of laundry, or study for a test. If you're looking for college apartment decorating on a budget, this is a great way to do that! 

Click here to get this exact photo display from Amazon.

16. String Lights  

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Don't you just love the vibes that this photo gives off? Do you know why this photo gives off those awesome vibes?

If you said "it's the string lights", you guessed right! They just make the room look more homey. And string lights are like $6 a strand at basically anywhere. They're one of the best college apartment decorating on a budget ideas I've heard of so of course I had to share! 

17. Letters 

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Wooden, metal, cardboard, any kinds of letters that you can put together in an area of your college apartment are guaranteed to be one of your best decorations! 

You can do your name in your bedroom, "wash" in the laundry room, "let's eat" in the kitchen, the possibilities are endless. And letters are SUPER cheap if you head to Hobby Lobby and paint them yourselves! Now THAT's a way to decorate without breaking the bank! 

 

18. Make a Coffee Cup Holder 

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I cannot sing this idea's praises ENOUGH! My dad made me one similar to this and we've gotten the most compliments on it! 

All you have to do is drill some hooks into a slab of wood. Literally, thats all my dad did. It's one of the best college apartment decorating on a budget ideas that I've ever seen! 

19. Get a Cute Jewelry Organizer

Your jewelry is already so cute that why not make it part of your bedroom decor?

This jewelry stand is so cute and also helps organize everything you own.

20. DIY Crate Bookcase  

I've stated it before, but the key to college apartment decorating on a budget is to a lot of it yourself. One must become a DIY master if they want to keep some money in the bank! 

Making your own bookshelf is a great way to do this. And one of the simpler ways to make a bookshelf is by building it with crates. And the cool thing is that you can paint these crates different colors to better match whatever theme you're going for! 

21. Blankets 

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Blankets are a college student's best friend, regardless of where they live. But did you know that they can be an apartment decoration as well? 

Well now ya do! Seriously, the one above is the one I've had all throughout my college career and I get so many compliments on it PLUS it's so warm! And did I mention that it's only $25, a STEAL right? Grab yourself one NOW! 

22. Bulletin Boards 

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Bulletin boards are literally like $20 on Amazon, and boy oh boy do they come in handy in college apartments! 

Because you can personalize them however you would like, they can also become a decoration. Add photos, important memories or things you need to remember and they become a life-saving piece of decor you'll totally love! 

23. Unique Shaped Bookcase 

Unique bookshelves are a great option for college apartment decorating ideas. 

They add a unique element to the room, and also function with storage. And if you shop estate sales or consignment shops, you can find one just to your liking that your bank account will also love! 

You also could pretty easily DIY this!

24. Area Rugs

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AREA RUGS DO SO MUCH FOR A ROOM. I know that was dramatic having it in all caps but they really do!!

Area rugs, if you don't go all out and like look in the right places, can totally be a college apartment decor idea that balls on a budget! 

Amazon has awesome area rugs that are so cute and cheap.

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