Not-so-extreme home makeover

Lyssa Beyer

A semester into the school year may mean less money in the bank, but home decorating is one area students may still be able to afford. With low prices and trendy styles at local stores, students can get the cute apartment or dorm room they have always dreamed of – without breaking the bank.

Decorating a dorm or apartment can be difficult and pricey, but Sarah Roth, bedding manager at Linens ‘n Things, 4068 Commonwealth Ave., said most of its back-to-school items are bargain priced.

From popcorn makers, cosmopolitan mix and coffee to bedding, bathroom supplies and candles, Linens ‘n Things has plenty to offer.

Although it doesn’t have a very large selection right now, Roth said the store gets four times more stuff in the spring to begin the back-to-school sale.

“During the back-to-school sale, the store is geared mainly toward college students,” Roth said.

The sale starts in March and lasts until school starts, she said.

“There is a whole room set up in the front of the store especially for the sale,” Roth said. “It is the first thing you see when you come in.”

She said many of the products the store carries for college students are made to fit in dorm rooms or smaller areas. She also said every year the brand Wamsutta Expressions comes up with a color theme. Last year it focused on chocolate and ocean colors.

Junior Emily Zisla lives off campus in an apartment. She said she likes to color coordinate her rooms, which is easy to do by shopping at places like Linens ‘n Things, which has color-themed collections.

Roth said Linens ‘n Things has many items to go along with the color themes, including bedding sets, towels and storage bins, to name a few.

The Expressions brand sells an “Expressions Kit,” which includes a comforter, shams, two decorative pillows, two towels, a throw and a rug all for under $100, she said.

Zisla said she moved in this past summer and has been slowly working on her apartment since then because she really enjoys decorating. She said she uses a lot of figurines and has a candle garden.

All of Linens ‘n Things college items are made with bold and bright colors which reflect the college personality, Roth said.

The store also carries covers for surge protectors to block all of the cords that would stand out in a dorm room, she said.

Target, 4859 Golf Road, is another place students can go to find dorm-style décor.

The best time for students to shop is during the back-to-school sale, which begins in August, Holly Barrett, Guest Services team member, said.

Target doesn’t have many decorating items in stock during the winter months, but the store gets a lot in right before school begins, Barrett said.

The store also carries themed collections in its home department geared towards dorms and apartments for students, Barrett said. The items are reasonably priced, with many things under $20, and most under $50.

Zisla also said she buys things to decorate with at Target.

“It’s my favorite place to shop,” she said. “Their candle aisle is my favorite aisle.”

There are many ways students can decorate without spending any money at all, as long as they reach the creative side of the brain.

Zisla studied abroad to France and was able to bring home a lot of unique things to decorate with. She said she used magnets she got abroad to cover her fridge.

Zisla also bought many postcards as well as inexpensive black frames from Target to display them around her apartment.

Anne Lindfors, a freshman living on campus, said she shops at a variety of places to decorate her dorm room.

“I like the bright colors because they open up the room a lot more,” she said, “especially because it’s a small room.”

Lindfors got white Christmas lights to illuminate the underside of her lofted bed from Shopko, 955 Clairemont Ave., at a very low price.

She also brought a lot of items from home, including pictures to hang around the room.

The poster sale held in Davies Center every year is a great place to pick up wall decorations at low prices, Lindfors said.

IKEA, which has various locations around the nation, is another store Lindfors likes to shop at because it has lots of trendy, low-priced items, she said. She bought supplies to make her own brightly-colored magnets on her desk from IKEA.

Lindfors also decorates with window decorations she bought from Target and likes to get ones to match the holiday.

She also recommends TJ Maxx, 4070 Commonwealth Ave., where she bought rugs for her room.

Freshman Christine Finley also lives on campus, and she also used the Christmas lights idea to spice up her room.

She got her decorations from students leaving the dorms last year that didn’t want them anymore, so they were free.

“I recommend going ‘dumpster diving’ at schools at the end of their semester or walking around the halls to see who is leaving and trying to get rid of stuff,” Finley said.

Along with Christmas lights, Finley got brightly-colored paper-sphere lights and window decorations from students who didn’t want them anymore.

From Target to Linens ‘n Things, or simply from the girl at the end of the hall, the possibilities are endless for finding things to create a unique space in a dorm or apartment without tapping into the college fund.