How to Find (or DIY) Affordable College Apartment Decor and Furniture

As a college student, it’s likely that “luxe living” isn’t yet part of your ever-expanding vocabulary. But you don’t have to skimp on style just because you might not have the cash to go out and buy a lovely designer leather sofa. There are plenty of ways to incorporate luxurious-feeling style into the decor and furnishings of your on-campus or off-campus apartment  — all without breaking the bank.

Read on to find out how to find (or DIY) affordable and attractive college apartment decor and furniture.

Shop Second-Hand

New doesn’t always mean better. In fact, depending on your style, second-hand furnishings might better suit your tastes compared to anything you could find fresh out of the box. From unique vintage pieces to heavily discounted modern furniture, exploring second-hand shops can be great for your style — and your bank account. A few options to check out are:

Thrift Shops

If you love thrifting for clothes, why not thrift for furniture and decor? You may be surprised with the quality and styles you can find at thrift shops, although it may be a bit more time-consuming than more conventional retail options. But half the fun of thrifting is the thrill of finding that diamond in the rough!

Estate Sales

 These sales are an amazing opportunity to find high-quality, vintage furniture pieces for your college apartment at reasonable prices. To find where and when estate sales are happening near you, check out aggregator tools like 

Discount Furniture Outlets

Outlet stores usually have a broader range of styles and a larger inventory than a thrift store or estate sale. Places like CORT Furniture Outlet offer a selection of high-quality furniture that will stand up to multiple moves (and any crazy parties), as well as contemporary decor pieces at heavily discounted rates.

DIY your Decor

Once you have the main pieces you’ll need to make your place liveable, you can add decor to make it feel like home. Here are a few cheap DIY decorating ideas for your apartment to get your imagination working.

Easy Wall Tapestry

If you found a colorful rug during your secondhand shopping spree, you can transform it into wall art as a DIY tapestry (after a quick deep clean, of course) simply by hanging it on the wall.

Floating Shelves

If you have photos and books you need to display and organize, a quick trip to the home improvement store for a two-by-four and some wall anchors can net you some inexpensive, but very stylish, floating shelves.

Room Dividers

Whether you’ve got an annoying roommate or just want to break up a studio apartment into clearer living zones, room dividers can be a lifesaver. Plus they’re simple to make. For an inexpensive option, consider stretching your favorite fabric over a pre-built artist canvas—both of which you can find at a local craft store. Then, simply attach to the ceiling with some screw hooks, adjustable connectors, and voila! A new, private space.

Refinish Existing Pieces

That dresser or nightstand you found on sale can go from shabby to shabby chic in an afternoon. Easily upcycle those pieces with some sandpaper and a fresh coat of paint.

Get Furniture Delivered

Is your study schedule just too packed to fit in a secondhand shopping trip? Or maybe you don’t think of yourself as a DIYer? Well, not to worry. There’s another option that will save you time and money: student furniture packages from CORT Furniture Rental. Simply select the package that works best for you, pick a date and time, and get furnishings for your whole apartment delivered.

Looking to move off-campus? Let ApartmentSearch help! Our advanced filters can help you find off-campus living that fits your budget and needs. Simply filter and search based upon your desired price point and amenities.