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4 affordable ways to decorate your residence room

By ATB Financial 3 April 2020 3 min read

If you’re moving into a university or college residence for the first time or returning for another year of school, settling into a new space can be hard. While residence rooms often feel basic and boring, applying a few simple, inexpensive design tricks can help bring your space to life and make it feel more like home.

Personalizing your space can help your grades, too. Research shows that personalizing a workspace can make you happier, healthier and more productive.

If you’re short on time, money and ideas, these four tips will help make your residence room the envy of your floor.


Tip #1: Choose a theme

Think of a theme that reflects your personality or makes you happy. For example, if you have a favourite sport or sports team, consider printing and hanging photos of inspiring quotes, teams or game memories and create a photo gallery-style wall. As an alternative to purchasing picture frames, you can make your own using painter’s tape—it’s cheap and it won’t damage your walls! Add in a flag, and complete the look with a few additional accessories in your team’s colours. If you have a trophy or medal, you can add it to your room to show off your athletic accomplishments.

If you’re having a hard time picking a theme, start by selecting a colour scheme that you like and then find some small accessories that coordinate with your chosen colours. To save a few dollars on purchasing decorations, you can choose to make them yourself instead. Find some paint, fabric, and other materials in the shade of your colour inspiration and get to work. You’ll be surprised what creativity can come out of your time, effort and binge watching DIY YouTube videos.


Tip #2: Get personal

When you’re getting ready to leave home, remember to take some favourite photos and keepsakes—but not so many that you’re constantly homesick. An affordable way to display your photos, is to create a hanging memory board using some removable picture-hanging strips (they won’t create holes or strip the paint from your walls), fishing line or wire, and colourful paper clips to hang the photos from. Be sure to keep a couple of spare paper clips so you can add new memories as you go.

Tip #3: Make your space unique

Consider swapping out a lamp shade (but keep the original one in storage so you can put it back at the end of the year), adding a string of LED bulbs, (check your residence rules first) or accessorizing with some fun throw pillows. Storage cubes can be easily stacked and used for books and soft accessories like poufs or large pillows, that not only look great, but can also be used as extra seating in your room when friends drop by. These items can often be found for affordable prices in the clearance section of department stores or online classifieds like Kijiji. Your parents’ basement or storage unit may also be a gold mine for items such as Christmas lights, books and other items that you can use to spruce up your decor without paying a dime.

Tip #4: Be a social hub

Show off your space by inviting some friends over. Knowing you’ll be hosting also provides great motivation to clean up your space and get organized. Consider keeping some air fresheners on hand as a quick way to freshen up your room and keep it smelling nice for your guests.

Invite a few floormates over regularly for a few low-cost activities such as a games night, movie marathon, a group study session, or a get together to cheer on the home team. If you have a fridge in your room, keep it stocked with snacks and encourage your guests to bring some too so you don’t have to run out and get more later. Your friends will love spending time in your beautiful space as much as you love sharing it!

Have a great year ahead! Contact a specialist or visit an ATB branch to find out how we can help you get the most out of your student experience.

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