How to Decorate on a Budget

Are you tired of your dark, bland, decor-free student apartment? If so, we’ve got fixes to the three most common student apartment decor problems! The best part? They won’t bust your budget. All of our suggestions cost under $40!

Problem: Your apartment is gloomy.

Solution: Better lighting

Apartments don’t always have the best lighting. We’ve seen everything from bulbs hanging from the ceiling to fluorescent fixtures more suited to your elementary school cafeteria! And it can be a downer to sit in a dark room while studying or Netflixing. The easiest way to fix this is to upgrade your light bulbs and/or add a light source. A lamp in a corner will go a long way to brightening up a place when you combine it with an overhead light. Target and World Market both have stylish and affordable options!

And have you seen lightbulbs lately? Let me geek out. From Edison bulbs to LED, your options are unlimited. There’s even a WIFI enabled lightbulb you can control from your smartphone. You can even customize the color, or set the light to turn on in the morning. Just like Mom! Bonus points if you install the light bulb with a speaker, say whaaaattttt?!!!

Problem: Your apartment doesn’t reflect your personality.

Solution: Add an affordable gallery wall.

Let’s be honest, most college students don’t have the time to focus on art. But coming home every day to a bland student apartment can be a bummer, and not everyone wants taped up posters on their wall.  Our solution? Use a combination of free or low-cost art with affordable (cheeep) clipboards to create a gallery wall.

We love the free printables roundup done by 36th Avenue, and Joann’s has a great tutorial on creating a stylish gallery wall with pretty paper and paint markers (if you’re a DIY queen). You can also find a calendar with art or photos you love (hello puppies!) and use the images for your gallery. If you aren’t allowed to nail items to the wall, use removable adhesive hooks that won’t leave a mark.  If you really want to go bargain, tape is allowed, but at least make it cute washi tape! I usually find great options in the dollar bins at Target.

Problem: You’re working with a limited budget

Solution: Thrift store + spray paint

I’d be shocked if your parents didn’t have you on a budget while you’re at TAMU. Even Target can be out-of-budget if you’re saving for Spring Break or your cash from your summer job is long gone. So how do you decorate when you’ve only got 20 dollars in your pocket? ? Thrift store shopping! You’d be amazed what you can find for $5 to $10 at a thrift store. Some stores even have half off days. You can also find the best products if you go on a day when new deliveries are put out. Just call to check and they’ll let you know!

For the best results, select objects that have an interesting shape or a common theme. Then pick up your favorite spray paint color (they even have glow in the dark options now!!) at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Then paint away! Sound too good to be true? Just search “thrift store spray paint” on Pinterest, and you’ll find projects like this awesome owl, or this chic lamp, or this collection of pottery. The options for budget apartment decor are limitless!

If you’re ready to call it quits on your current TAMU student apartment, contact our management team today for leasing information on Northpoint Crossing’s all-new student apartments in College Station, TX!


  1. These home decor ideas are really great! we are moving to our new house and I was already looking for helpful decor and design ideas. There is a lot of work that we need to do in order to create the atmosphere of our home! Thanks for these tips.

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