Whether it’s a move to a residence or a small off-campus apartment, space is often limited when you’re on a student budget, not to mention the difficulty of creating a decor style of your own. Here's a few ideas to create a budget-friendly oasis that will look and function like a million bucks:

Over the door hooks can keep laundry, backpacks, purses and bathing totes off the floor and in plain view at all times. An under-bed drawer is a great place to keep extra bedding, sports equipment or out of season clothing. A captain bed with drawers below can replace the need for a free-standing dresser in the room. A freestanding, over the bed bookshelf is a great addition of vertical storage for alarm clock, books, photo albums, etc.

Double-duty furnishings
A desk chair should be comfy enough to do homework, but then act as an occasional chair when a friend visits; a storage ottoman allows you to put your feet up, acts as an additional perch for friends to sit and of course can be used to hide dirty clothes until laundry day.


Choose decor colours
Think of your favourite colour and use it for accessories in the room. A great starting point is to choose a duvet cover that has your favourite colours. Then choose matching, sheets, throws, pillows, lampshades and area rug that all have those matching colours. Keep the basics like a bed, desk, chair or ottoman neutral enough to last you from year to year.

Use the Internet
Shopping online with Bed, Bath & Beyond is easy; they have the most comprehensive website for back-to-school items and they’ll ship anywhere in Canada and have a great return policy. Buying from online classifieds and Kijiji is a great starting point. Look to buy the big stuff like dressers, beds, desks and chairs in the city where you’ll be going to school. Buying locally and second hand is a great way to save money and the environment, and at the end of the school year, simply re-post your finds and make your money back.

Dos & don’ts
DO use ambient lighting. Many residences don’t allow for candles to be lit, so an alternative option is to purchase a small light with a low wattage so you can leave it on at night and feel safe coming home to a room that isn't completely dark. LED candles are a safe and wonderful way to create ambience in a room.

DON’T overuse patterns. A lot of pattern in a small space can be overwhelming, so it’s best to choose solid colours for larger items. That allows for more patterns to be used in smaller accessories.

DO buy items that are proportionate to your room size. Buying a queen or king size bed might suit your fancy, but it won’t leave you much room for anything else in a dorm-style space.

DON’T permanently attach things to your walls. The last thing the landlord wants is for you to drill holes in the walls, so another option is to use Sticky Tack to hang items on the walls or have a freestanding bookshelf to display items, rather than a wall shelf.

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