There’s a half eaten piece of pizza upside down on your carpet, a small pool of beer soaking into your living room coffee table, and a poster of Jim Belushi drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels hanging by one last piece of tape on your wall.
Most college dorm rooms, apartments, and houses are in pretty poor condition to begin with, which makes student’s motivation for keeping them nice, very low. Add to it the fact that most college students are completely broke, and it would seem almost impossible that any place could look even half way decent.
Fortunately, there are a handful of little things you can do to make your place look great without spending a dime. Here are 3 tips to get you started:
1. Clear off and clean all flat surfaces, including the floor
If you do this correctly, your place will already stand apart from 99% of the places on your campus.
The best way to go about this is to tackle one object at a time, starting with the highest surface first. For example, a dresser. Remove all the crap you have sitting on top of it and put it in a pile on the floor. Grab a paper towel and some Pledge and wipe down the surface.
Repeat this same process for all the other flat surfaces in your place. Coffee table, TV stand, kitchen table, etc.
Once this is complete, bust out the vacuum and use it. Prep the room first by taking things off the floor, such as chairs, so you can vacuum the whole surface completely. Be sure to do the vacuuming last because the floor will get dirty while you’re clearing off the other surfaces in your place.
This is a great example of something that won’t cost you a dime, and will make your place look significantly nicer than it does now.
2. Organize all the cords in your place
Sounds simple, but as with the previous tip, this can have a huge impact.
Start with the cords on your desk. Unplug everything, untangle it all, then plug it back in. Once your cords are organized in a more logical configuration, the next step is to use twisty ties to group them together where appropriate. You can go to Best Buy and actually buy little Velcro straps specifically for this purpose, or just use regular old twisty ties you get from the grocery store.
Lastly, try to move the cords out of sight. Hide them in a drawer, throw them behind the desk, or any other clever way you can come up to make them less noticeable. You’ll be amazed not only at how much cleaner your work area looks, but how much easier it’ll be to work on in the future.
Now take a similar approach with your TV/entertainment center. For example, if you have a flat screen TV mounted on the wall, you probably have a bunch of cords hanging down from the back of it. Unplug and re-plug everything back in so that nothing is tangled or overlapping. Next, group them all together using a twisty tie or a piece of duct tape that’s a similar color as your wall.
If you want to go one step further you can even drill a small hole in the wall, feed all the cords through, then drill another hole near the outlet (be careful!) and pull them through and plug them in.
3. Create a more inviting lighting situation
Now that all the surfaces are cleared off, the floor is vacuumed, and your cords are organized and not nearly as visible, it’s time to put a nice finishing touch on your place.
Most student housing (including dorms and apartments) have ugly, florescent overhead lights in each room. Do yourself a favor and never use those again. Seriously.
You may need to spend a couple bucks on a few cheap lamps (you can get perfectly nice ones from IKEA for $5 – $10) but it’ll be well worth it. The good news is that you don’t really need to “install” anything. Just buy 1-2 small lamps for table tops, and 1-2 tall lamps to place in the corners of the room.
You’ll be amazed at much nicer your entire place looks just by changing the lighting.
Here’s an extra credit tip: buy dimmer switches. If you’re lamp doesn’t come preinstalled with a dimmer switch – which if it was really cheap, it probably won’t – you can buy a generic dimmer switch from almost any major department store (e.g. Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, etc) and add it to each of your lamps. Now you can use brighter lighting for studying, writing papers, etc., and dimmer lighting for movies, parties, dinners, etc.
Having a nice looking place is an important part of the college experience. It will make you and your friends enjoy being at your place more, and will be more conducive to studying and getting things done. I hope these tips make a difference in your college life. Please feel free to check out my college decorating articles for more.
If you found the previous article informative, you should check out more in our college life section, or read some of these articles below:
- College Textbooks Search Tool
- The Next Financial Bubble – Student Loans
- The Real Cost of Tuition and How To Pay Less
- Financial Aid For Military – GI Bill and Beyond
- Scholarship Fraud on a Massive Scale
- College Review – University of Phoenix
- The College Board and Corruption in College Testing
- Bet You $100 You Can’t Get an A
- Deceptive Practices by Credit Card Companies on Campus
- 18 of the Weirdest Scholarships for College
- Bullshit Your Way to an “A”
You can submit your articles by contacting us.. We pay an upfront fee based on quality, length and subject matter and all writers also receive residual royalties of 50% of all Adsense revenue that their articles create for the life of the article. Nobody else offers this and we only do it to attract the best writers.