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As college students, we know better than anyone that funds are not always in excess amounts. You may be doing fine financially, but then you need to pay your second installment, your monthly subscriptions are about to charge, and you just don’t have the hours in the day to clock into work and make more money, but your dorm/apartment is starting to look a little like a cell in the county jail. But worry not! Here are the best ways to spruce up the interior of your little home to make it homier and exude your unique essence.

Hit 5 Below!

5 Below has an awesome selection of trinkets and small appliances that can add that special something to your apartment or dorm surfaces! They have a wide variety of posters from your favorite intellectual properties and even cute vintage-inspired home decor! Seriously, don’t check out their website, you may find yourself indulging in a few impulse purchases. Luckily if you do, you won’t end up breaking the bank.

Goodwill mugs, plates, and bowls!

Goodwill’s selection varies from store to store, so you may not always be able to find great items but you definitely can get lucky with some hilarious mugs, shot glasses, cups, and even dinnerware. The only thing you have to be wary of is lead in paint on mugs and dinnerware since vintage ceramics commonly contain lead paint, but it’s quite easy to get lead test kits online. Who knows, you may find a book you loved as a kid at the same time!

Fake plants, Amazon, Michaels, Craft Stores

Fake plants take a lot less energy than real ones, and are far easier to make fit your desired aesthetic. The best places for fake plants are likely Amazon or Michaels, and if you’re lucky enough to get them on sale or with a coupon, you may be able to double up. Other stores like Target and 5 Below also have fake plants, but Amazon and Michaels likely have the largest selection. 

Target dollar section during a holiday season.

If you have a particular holiday you love or if one of them fits your aesthetic most (like Dark Academia and Halloween), the dollar section at Target will be your best friend. They often have fun trinkets or small shelves that are outside of the holiday seasons, so they’d work in your home year-round. Be warned though, if you venture too far into the store, we aren’t responsible for the dollars you blow through.

Marshalls/Home Goods

Marshalls and HomeGoods may be littered with Rae Dunn, but more often than not you can find a mug or vase you adore for a fantastic price. Sometimes, they even have small pieces of furniture, like lamps or chairs, or furniture sets, like dining chairs, for exceedingly low prices. Chances are, if you want something simple, kitschy, elegant, or eclectic, you can find it at HomeGoods or Marshalls.

Bonus entry: 

IKEA, it can be cheaper than you think!

Oh Sweet IKEA, our favorite Swedish furniture manufacturer. Online, you can see their pieces that are on sale, but in person they have a fantastic sale section that has some intense markdowns. Typically, they’re items that are either lightly damaged or the item that was on display and is now being sold at a drastically lower price. Those are only available in person and vary based on store, so go visit our local IKEA, and be sure to grab me an ice cream!

Of course there are other fantastic options like scouring the neighborhood app Nextdoor, asking family members if they have anything they’d like to get rid of, and making some of your own furnishings like art and trinkets, but I hope this helps you narrow down some simple, cheap ways to treat yourself if you don’t have a lot of spending money. 

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