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reader question : : decorating a college apartment

carla fahden

I was delighted to receive a reader question from a student at my alma mater - go Blugolds! Meredith, like probably a lot of college students, is struggling to make her college pad feel unique and decorated with the restraints of a landlord (bold paint colors, wallpaper... forget about it). I laugh when I think back to the God awful tricks we tried in our college space. As if a poop brown corduroy sofa wasn't bad enough, we decided to drape purple sheets over it in lieu of a slipcover. Gasp.

Here are a few affordable ideas for decorating a temporary rental...

college apartment decorating tips3
image via Inside the Loop

Probably the biggest impact you can make on walls aside from painting or wallpapering, is a fun collection of art. I chose this example because it shows how art doesn't need to be fancy or expensive to earn a spot on your wall. Goodwill is a perfect source for quirky mismatched frames and they are cheap as hell. You can frame anything from postcards, drawings, scrap from a magazine or even... nothing (see brown frame, upper right). Don't worry about creating a perfect grid, just hang them in a charming cluster and voila! If your landlord complains about nail holes, tell him to suck it.

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image via Brooklyn Bride Online

Cheap rentals usually have some sort of odd built-in fixture. Instead of pretending it doesn't exist, embrace it in a creative way. You may not be able to paint a fireplace yellow, but I love the cute little faux fire incorporated here.

college apartment decorating tips
image via Rachel Denbow

Here are three great decorating ideas that cost next to nothing. First, stock up on some clipboards, hang them in a couple of rows and use them to house inspiration from your favorite mags. Next, make a string of paper airplanes, origami birds or flowers and drape

them over your bed, dining table or entryway. Lastly, with the right chairs and cute candlesticks, a gaudy floral tablecloth suddenly looks kitschy and cute.

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image via Remodelista

Last but certainly not least, I love this grid of paint swatches. Aside from a $2 package of pins, this idea is FREE. Bop over to your local Home Depot, gank a slew of paint swatches and then transform a boring white wall into a mural of color.

If you want to get decorating tips and updates in your FB Newsfeed, please take a second to "like" my Color Me Carla page!