UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Dorm Decor 101


Izzy Pulido

Even though UMB doesn’t have “dorms” per se, many of the students here live in an apartment somewhere in Boston. With the average cost of college textbooks hovering around $900 per year and rising, and average monthly rent in Boston for someone sharing an apartment around $600, it’s seems only a dream to afford décor for your apartment or dorm. Many students think their budget allows for only a drab and plain living space. But even though you may be living on Ramen noodles and TV dinners, you can still create an awesome apartment on a budget. With a little imagination and even less money, you can create a stylish and friendly apartment that would give Martha Stewart a run for her money.

Beer. For better or worse, it is many college students’ best friend and a social staple in many college apartment complexes. Now, we’re not advocating underage drinking, but it’s inevitably going to happen. Next time you and your friends feel the need to let loose and have a few drinks, save the glass bottles or cans and use them as flower vases. Sounds cheesy but let me explain. A big trend right now is edgy, everyday objects as functional pieces in your dorm or apartment. Simply remove the label from a glass bottle, be it alcoholic or not, and voila. You have a vase for flowers, fake or real, that doesn’t cost you anything.

If you are someone who entertains a lot of people but doesn’t have the room to keep all those chairs in your room or apartment, how about using lawn chairs that save space and money? Lawn chairs usually go for under $20 each and can fold up to about 6 inches tall for easy under bed storage. Milk crates can also be used as chairs or small end tables and can be found at any convenient store or liquor store, just ask the clerks. Throw on a funky chair pad from Wal-Mart for as low as $9.88 for a set of four and you’ve got your own comfy chairs for next to nothing.

If you are looking to add flare to your room or apartment but don’t have the creative wherewithal, or the patience, simply choose some of your favorite photos of your family, friends, anything! Create your own gallery by printing out your photos for only pennies and hang them on the walls of your place. Not only will you brighten up your living space, you will be surrounded by smiling faces of your favorite people and places. If you are looking to create an even more sophisticated looking apartment, printing pictures in black-and-white and framing them in simple black frames adds elegance and can be done for practically nothing.

Feeling adventurous? Places like flea markets and The Salvation Army thrift stores are often filled with tons of vintage and antique décor that can be used to spruce up your place. A little scavenging and a few dollars can land you with some of the most unique and kitschy items. Old movie posters, nostalgic soda bottles, Victorian jewelry boxes, and so much more can be found and renovated to look as good as new in your dorm or apartment.

One place that serves all a student’s needs and budgets is Ikea, a Swedish furniture and house-wares store. You can furnish a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom for under $200 there. For the closest Ikea store, visit their website at www.ikea.com. Target and Wal-Mart also offer very cheap home furnishings that are both stylish and affordable. Another one of my personal favorites is the Dollar Tree, where every single item is only one dollar. You can get candles, any size frames, shower curtains, dishes, artwork, holiday décor, anything you can imagine, on a very budget friendly. Go to their website, www.dollartree.com, for the store closest to you.

Wherever you shop or look, it doesn’t have to be expensive. And living on a college budget doesn’t have to be boring or stressful. You can decorate your apartment for next to nothing, make it look fabulous and still have money for a late-night pizza run, which you can enjoy on your newly bought or crafted furniture.