Designing your room’s digs doesn’t have to be difficult; Follow these simple rules

By Liam Rinehart

So you move into your new place, but once you’ve put everything away, you realize that your apartment is barren and boring.

It’s time to shop.

But for college students, this means looking for the best bargains. Here is a guide to help you out when you look for those items to complete your pad.

Basic furniture

For the large pieces like couches and chairs, the best time to shop is early.

Ideally, the best time is the second week of August when resale shops have time to turn over their products and large department stores are holding sales.

Like everyone else in your position, you have to be diligent about trying to get large items early.

The first place to look is at the resale shops. Habitat for Humanity runs the ReStore, 119 E. University Ave., which sells furniture as well as plates, glasses and lamps.

It gets pieces quite often, so check back if you do not immediately see what you want.

If you are looking for some retro gear, then Furniture Lounge, 9 E. University Ave., might suit your needs.

Its prices are a step up from ReStore’s but you can find things which will really set your place apart from every other college pad.

Another great resource is the Dump and Run that the University YMCA runs at the beginning of the semester.

This year it will take place at the Stock Pavilion from August 23 through August 25. As in years past, there will be many different items up for sale from lamps to couches and everything in between.

Another great place to look for the large items is garage sales. We all know that getting up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday is hard work, but the money you can save is well worth it.

In this sort of situation, do not be afraid to bargain with the seller and never get overly attached to anything you might want to buy.

Trash or treasure?

When scouring shops for large pieces, try to shoot for real wood. Pressed-particle board could break down on you and leave your guests without a place to sit.

Make sure that the items are structurally sound.

Do not buy something cheaply if it won’t last for a while, even if it is inexpensive. It’s better to buy something that’s a little more money if you can be assured that it will last a couple of years.

Looks are not vitally important; a good coat of paint or a nice stain along with a little sanding can cover those marks.

See if you can ask store owners for display pieces and scratched or dented floor models from department stores. These damaged, discounted items will probably go fast so do not rely solely upon this.

Remember, if you get quality now, when you move on to your first home you can always refinish your college finds.

Finishing touches

For accessories, many of the aforementioned places apply. However, with smaller sizes, major department stores are affordable. For students who are into eclectic goods, both Cost Plus World Market, 722 W. Town Center Blvd., and Pier 1 Imports, 2001 N. Prospect Ave., can prove useful.

These stores offer a less traditional take than major department stores on most smaller goods.

If you want something a little more reserved and inexpensive, then Linens ‘n Things, 718 W. Town Center Blvd., could serve your needs.

Watch for coupons in your mailbox that can save you money on your purchases.

Additional tips

Do not limit yourself to just one store and do not compromise the look that you want for your apartment.

Money may be a limiting factor, but it shouldn’t decide the look of your place.

Pick an item and let it be the focal point of your room. Use the colors from your favorite poster, vase or tapestry to design your space.

When designing a room, follow the 60-30-10 rule. Sixty percent of your items should be a dominant color, 30 percent should be a secondary color and the remaining 10 percent should be a bright accent color.

Never forget black. It can enhance other colors in your room by providing a color offset.