Seven Quality Furnishings for the Frugal Student


By Caroline Smith

It can be hard for college students on a budget to maintain their own identity while living in a rented space. Turning that boring, drab furniture and décor of the apartment or dorm into something with style can be difficult when money is tight. Below is a list of seven items students can use to spruce up their temporary living arrangement.

1. Lofts– These wooden structures raise beds off the floor, creating more storage space and a living area underneath them. They can either be built free standing or attached to walls, if that is allowed in the apartment or dorm. Many student supply stores near campus will have them for sale or a handy student looking to save some money might build one at a lower cost. Another option is to use concrete blocks or something else to raise the bed off the floor. It will not provide the living space underneath like the lofts, but it will still provide additional storage.

2. Slipcovers – Whether in a dorm or an apartment, student furniture usually is not top of the line. Using slipcovers can make tired old furniture look almost new, as well as hide beer and pizza stains!  They are available in a variety of colors and can be found at affordable prices to fit most couches and armchairs.

3. Storage Crates – For years, plastic milk crates were the items for students to use to store items. These are still very useful and widely available, but now cube ottomans are used because they look better and have just as much space. They can blend in with the other furniture but be used to store small items. An advantage of the crates is that they can be stacked.

4. Closet Organizers – A place for everything, and everything in its place. These will help keep everyday items in their own compartments, making them easy to find and not spread throughout the living space. Home improvement stores like Menard’s or Lowe’s have organizers for every need.

5. Futons – These sofas that fold out into beds come in variety of styles and are great for saving space in a small room. They can be very durable, lasting one owner several years. For new models, look for discounts at Wal-Mart or Target, or to save more money, look at local garage or yard sales for used models.  Inexpensive futon covers can be found online and are useful for protecting the mattress from wear and tear and student parties!  A cheap cover can also be used to improve the appearance of a secondhand futon.

6. Picture Frames – Painting walls is often not allowed in student apartments or dorms. However, covering a wall in framed photos of friends, loved ones or even favorite scenes displays the occupant’s personality. Framed posters are another idea and many schools will host a poster sale at least once a year.

7. Foot Lockers – Another storage option, these trunks can hold little-used items such as old textbooks, folders or keepsakes. Throw a covering over it and it can double as a coffee table near the futon. Again, many discount retailers sell them new, or former students may have them for sale at garage or yard sales or through online classifieds like Craigslist.

With these furnishings, students can make their abode stand out from all the others without spending a fortune. As well as enabling students to add their own personalities to their living space, they can also help solve the all-important space issue frequently seen in student accommodation.

Author Information

This is a guest post from Caroline Smith, who enjoys finding frugal ways to furnish her home. You can find more about sofa covers and slip covers, including info on student discounts, on her website.


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Categories: Personal Advice