How to decorate new home on a budget

Angelina Macca, Practicum Contributor

Students utilize Facebook marketplace, OSUsed for home decorating.

The light blue walls are dressed in a contrasting pink-and-black tapestry illuminated by spherical lights, the bed is cushioned with pillows of landmarks matching the world map hanging by the window, which brightens the space with its natural lighting. 

Jumpstart the dreaded spring cleaning by learning how to refresh a space on a budget without losing personality in a few easy steps. 

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When beginning to organize or decorate a new home or room, a good place to start is analyzing the space, said Vianka Ayala, an Oregon State University interior design alumna. Additionally, look for areas of improvement that can aid in the functionality of the space. 

“Hardwood flooring is very beautiful, but can be cold and reverberate noise easily,” Ayala said. “In this case you can pick up an accent rug, which will add design appeal to the space and be functional.”

For many first year college students, the first problem they run into when moving is the cost of furnishing their new space, Ayala said. 

“Be thrifty! Ask family and friends if they have anything they need to part

with,” Ayala said.

Recently, Facebook added a marketplace to their website and app where users can sell items they no longer need, similar to sites like Craigslist. 

“There are usually resale Facebook groups for things like furniture in the college community,” Ayala said. “At the end of the year, lots of people are just trying to get rid of furniture when moving out.”

Do-it-yourself projects quickly add personality to a space. Many sites such as Pinterest and Youtube have DIY project tutorials for every skill level, Ayala noted.

“Ugly table? Spray paint it! Don’t have money for art? Put up photos of family and friends in creative ways,” Ayala said.

According to the DIY Network blog, succulents are an easy plant to include because they require little attention and care. 

“Plants can add a lot of color for little cash,” Ayala said. 

Creating a theme or style based around an object that has appealing features is a good starting point for when you don’t know where to begin, Ayala said. 

“I build a space around that object and the qualities I enjoy about it,” Ayala said. “This can make decorating a space much less overwhelming.” 

Think about what makes the object appealing and go from there, Ayala said.

According to Rae DeLay, materials manager for OSU Surplus, OSUsed is an easy way to find home essentials at a low cost. Common items found there are chairs, desks, bookshelves, plates, cups, computers and sports items,

all under $40. Sharing major purchases or borrowing from friends and family can help cut costs, DeLay said. 

DeLay said one of the best times to go shop at OSUsed is the third week of June when students are moving out of residence halls and leave items behind.

“Desk lamps, rugs, storage and housewares are gone in a couple weeks,” DeLay said. 

The OSUsed store is open year-round for the public on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. Special sales and events can be found on their website and Facebook page.

The next step in organizing and decorating a home is to put together a functional space. Professional Organizer Kristin Bertilson teaches her clients how to create a living space that suits their lifestyle needs. 

“We help them from being overwhelmed and cluttered to having calm and happy homes,” Bertilson said. 

Clutter can occur when there is a significant lifestyle change, such as moving

homes, Bertilson said.

Most students living in residence halls struggle to find space for all of their belongings, according to Bertilson. To combat this, she has some go-to tips and tricks that anyone living in a small space can use. 

“Don’t take everything you can on your first trip,” Bertilson said. “Take a season’s worth and then trade it out.”

Students should take advantage of the negative space in the room, Bertilson said. For instance, stacking storage units on top of each other will help with organization more than stacking them side-by-side.

“Go vertical as much as possible,” Bertilson said.

Moving out for the first time can be expensive and it’s important to budget where all the money goes, Bertilson said.

“Spend the money where you need it the most,” Bertilson said. 

A good starting place is to think about what spaces will be utilized the most and put more money into those areas, Bertilson said. Invest in items that are crucial and used most often, such as a desk. The goal is to build a space that will aid in a successful lifestyle. 

Mariah Gray, business administration student, says organization is of the utmost importance for living in a small space and sees her room as a sanctuary where everything has its place and is peaceful. 

“I use indoor mini white lights all around my room to create a relaxed vibe and I rarely turn on the fluorescent overhead lighting,” Gray said. “I also have many plants in my window and sea shells from home.”

Gray says she finds it hard for her to study in her room and instead gets her homework done on campus before she lets herself go home and relax.

“I find myself being most productive in busier areas, particularly at Bing’s or Dutch Bros on campus,” Gray said. “I put my headphones in and get down to work, something about the people coming and going helps me stay accountable and people watching gives me a little break as needed.”

“Think of those key areas of where you are not succeeding and the why behind it,” Bertilson said. “A lot of times people don’t understand their own study habits and it has to do with their surroundings.”