Here’s a great idea for an inexpensive desk: build your own using two Vika Artur trestles from IKEA and top them with a flat wood or steel surface. (Hollow-core door blanks are great for this!) It’s simple to set up and take down, making it great for hopping around living space during your college years.
Scour your local flea markets, garage sales and estate sales for inexpensive finds like vintage tables that can easily become your coffee table. Take it home and give it a fresh coat of paint and it will take on an entirely new life.
With all your books, papers and miscellaneous items, storage and shelving becomes key in college. Set up IKEA's Expedit Bookcase to help you keep everything under control. Stick one in a living room to encourage your roommates to keep their things organized as well.
Here’s a great example of a dining room setup that you can easily replicate at an affordable price. The chairs themselves are IKEA: Called the Nandor chairs, their wicker-like seat mixed with steel legs gives them a look both timeless and chic. This table, however, is likely the real Saarinen tulip table that comes with a hefty price tag. Simply replace it with IKEA's Docksta dining table for a fraction of the price.
Create affordable artwork by hanging clipboards outfitted in decorative paper. Continue to personalize them by adding photos and other memorabilia.
Get thrifty by using a cheap dish rack for file organization. Paint it a fun color for a bold statement all your own.
Dorms and apartments often come with awful lighting that only seem to encourage headaches. Come equipped with a replacement: the Maskros Pendant Lamp from IKEA will provide softer, more tolerable light while also adding a punch of fun style. Like the picture, this would also be great in a little dining nook in an apartment or house.
Target is another great place to peruse while collecting your college essentials. Dorm rooms often feature cold, tile floors that are the last thing your feet will want to touch in the morning. This Target zebra print rug will warm up your room while adding texture, all at a price that won't break the bank.
Like rugs, curtains will do a world of wonders for warming up your college space. You can either create your own curtains using IKEA fabric, as in this picture, or buy them already made, like a pair of Wilma curtains.
If you’re lucky enough to have room for an actual bed in your college house (I could barely squeeze in a twin on a frame in my humble space), then consider IKEA's Malm bed. It will give your bed structure and style without taking up too much space, and it’s classic enough that you’ll be able to use it post-college.
So you've got the bed, but you're short on cash for the headboard. No worries: simply get creative! This designer hung two pieces of pre-cut wood, then hand-painted her wall for dramatic flair. Cheap and unique!
This entire room was created on a budget. The wallpaper and slipcover are from Target and the rug is from Wal-mart/CSN online. The artwork is framed shower curtains!
If you're living in an apartment or house, dishware is going to be a necessity. Instead of buying expensive sets, collect various pieces from flea markets and antique stores. It will create an eclectic and eye-catching collection without having to empty your pockets.
If you're short on kitchen storagee, get clever by hanging an old nesting box. You'll likely be able to find one for not too much money at antique shops or flea markets, and it will give you a chance to display your fun dishware instead of hiding it.
Here are some other great finds. This affordable tumbler set from Target will add a splash of color to your dishware.
At only $5.99, you have no excuse not to add a little warmth from a Polarvide throw from IKEA.
Rugs can be awfully pricey, but outlets like Overstock continuously have rugs on sale. At $82.99, the Andros rug is a pretty good deal, and the pattern will hide stains.