Inexpensive touches liven up rooms

When Rocio Del Real stepped foot in her new apartment, she was greeted by a lonesome living room with a futon, a bathtub without shower curtains, and bare off-white walls begging to be clothed.

Her bedroom featured a plain mattress, curtains and an empty walk-in closet.

“The only thing that was a bit nicer than the rest of the apartment was that we had nice lamps in our kitchen,” said Del Real, junior in Education.

By the end of her apartment makeover process, her residence had a cohesive color scheme and more furnishings all for relatively cheap prices. In order to get the full decorative potential out of your apartment, Del Real says, re-use old appliances and shop during back-to-school season.

“Towards the end of the summer they have really good deals because they know a lot of college students have dorms or apartments,” Del Real said.

Del Real went to IKEA in August and purchased a shower curtain for the bathroom for only about $4. Her comforter set cost around $40 — bed sheets included. The kitchen’s pots and pans came at no cost to Del Real- she only moved her cook-ware from her previous apartment to her new place. Yet, after forgetting silverware at home, Del Real realized that silverware at Target during the school season was more expensive than if it were purchased earlier.

“To decorate my bedroom, I added my comforter, which has different shades of pink, orange and purple,” Del Real said. “I used the same colors to decorate my bathroom too.”

When faced with plain walls and a poorly lit room, Luis Bautista, sophomore in Business took a more decorative approach. After changing the light bulbs to add light to his dim house, he decided to personalize his room.

“I threw up the Mexican and U.S. flag as well as a couple of posters,” Bautista said. “I put up pictures of myself with friends. I just made the place mine.”

Bautista found the refrigerator in his second floor bedroom to be one of his best investments. Instead of heading downstairs to the kitchen refrigerator every time he wanted “a glass of milk” he had access to it in his own room.

As for filling the void in his living room, Bautista received a donation from friends who used to live in the house he was moving in to.

“The living room was empty so we had to provide the couches,” Bautista said. “Thankfully we did not have to buy them because our friends just donated the couches to us.”

Perhaps living in a house like Bautista implies more room and freedom to furnish and add personality. However, Dominique Johnson, freshman in LAS, and Jonathan Yates, freshman in FAA, would argue that a dorm room can be just as elaborately decorated.

Upon walking into Johnson’s and Yates’ room, a visitor is greeted by cut-out snowflakes dangling from the ceiling, mounted on the windows, and taped to the wall.

“The snowflakes were for (Yates’) girlfriend,” Johnson said. “She wanted snow but there was no snow, so he decided to give her snowflakes.”

When Johnson found out that he had more space in his dorm room to fill, he decided to furnish it to make his living space more inviting to others.

“People would come in and stand and look at the empty space and then leave,” Johnson said.

Today, a faded yellow couch sits in the middle of the room, which Johnson and his roommate found for free via Craigslist. Although the students did not have a car to bring the couch back, they managed to use their bikes to transport themselves to the location and bring the couch back to campus.

“We got on our bikes, rented a cart from downstairs, and we rode three miles there to get the couch, attached it to the back of our bikes and rode it back here,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Yates thought of other innovative ideas to fill their space like making cardboard furniture. Far to the right of the sofa, Johnson placed a cardboard table to rest the television control and other lightweight objects. Meanwhile, Yates made a trash can cover out of cardboard which the roommates also use as a footrest.

To hold the curtains open, Johnson and Yates took University Frisbees, cut out a circle in the middle and used them as curtain holders. Johnson says designing the holders was a trial-and-error process.

“First, we tried to use rubber bands, but that did not work to well,” Johnson said. “So we have the Frisbees on each side because we like to keep the curtains open because we like looking outside.”

Still, Johnson says his dorm room’s transformation is not finished. He has yet to add a finishing touch. As he pointed to a small space between his and his roommate’s desks he explained that we wanted to add a dining table and chairs into the picture.

“I don’t know how it’s going to work,” Johnson said, “but it’s going to fit.”