Unique decorations make your space feel like home

Decorating, organizing and finding unique ways to keep your apartment looking good is important as you move out of the residence halls and into your own space. Erica Magda

Decorating, organizing and finding unique ways to keep your apartment looking good is important as you move out of the residence halls and into your own space. Erica Magda

By Colleen Vest

Cinder blocks and wood as an entertainment center and stolen street signs masquerading as art might not be the most welcoming or aesthetically pleasing way to decorate an apartment. But still, quite a few college apartments are furbished this way.

Although most college apartments come furnished, there are a variety of ways to make your space stylish.

“People should also take advantage of the free decorating advice stores often offer,” said Mark Wood, a Pier 1 Imports associate.

In addition to decorating advice from stores, some local interior designers and decorators are willing to offer suggestions. Interior Solutions by Jill Morenz, a local interior designer, holds informational classes on how to decorate a living space.

Before the semester starts, search for furniture and storage shelves at local thrift stores – the Salvation Army and Goodwill are good places to start. Morenz offered a local option for second-hand furniture.

“Restore by Habitat for Humanity on University accepts donations from people doing renovations in their house and sells the stuff. It’s kind of like a Salvation Army except that it’s all home stuff,” Morenz said.

If a campus apartment is not very spacious, following a few tips makes rooms appear larger. DoItYourself.com suggests hanging mirrors in rooms to make them appear larger. Hanging a mirror opposite a window helps reflect light into the room.

“As for maximizing space, I would suggest getting very versatile furniture. So, for example, instead of using a coffee table, get a storage ottoman that could also be used as seating,” Morenz said.

Morenz suggested leather storage ottomans found at Target for about $80. She also said students could use a baker’s rack or stacking cubes instead of a TV stand. Both the baker’s rack and cubes offer storage and are inexpensive.

If your apartment walls are white, and your landlord does not allow its tenants to paint, there are options to make wall space attractive and functional. Hanging favorite pictures and posters personalizes the area. Morenz suggested looking at Restore for bifold doors. The doors can be flat against a wall or set up as a screen. The doors can be used to screen off a messy area when people visit too, Morenz said.

“You can hang fabric from Command hooks to cover the wall. For a focal wall behind a couch, that would be a great way to bring in color,” Morenz said.