Apartment Redux: From College Cheap to Post-Grad Chic

post-college apt.

In college, we adorn our rooms with cheap movie posters, high school prom photos and torn out pictures from old fashion magazines. We eagerly craft collages on our walls and furnish our tiny quarters with a hodgepodge of items passed down from elder siblings, grandparents, and doting aunts and uncles. We buy plastic stackable bins to amplify storage space and even have our local Target store’s number saved on speed dial (hey, you never know). 

But once we receive our diplomas, head out into the real world, and settle into our first real apartments, we get rid of all that stuff, right? Wrong. Maybe we’ll toss out those childish movie posters or grow too lazy to erect another fabulous collage, but for most of us, the mismatched furniture and college memorabilia we’ve accrued over the years will make the move with us…for better or worse.

Now we’re not saying you have to scrap everything (friends included) from your college heydays, but a transition to the working world does mean a change in lifestyle, and we think your new apartment should reflect the new, grown-up you. Not the youthful college kid you once were.

Whether you’re broke as a joke or living large on a budget, it’s easy to take your pad from college cheap to affordable chic — you just have to get creative! Test out a few of these tips, and let us know what you think. We bet you’ll enjoy the outcome just as much as we do. 

1. Frame your own photos (instead of pinning them to a corkboard). You’ll be amazed at just how easy and inexpensive this is to do…not to mention how much it can enhance the overall aesthetic of a room. 

frame your photos

CB2 Gallery Frames, $19.95 – $39.95


2. Paint an accent wall. Liven up your home and let your true colors show – painting an accent wall is a great way to add a splash of color and touch of personality to your new pad. It won’t cost you a pretty penny either. Just check out how fab this room looks, and then go ahead and get started on your own!

paint an accent wall

Photo courtesy of Sherwin Williams


3. Learn how to decoupage. Put all of those discarded magazine clippings to use and create something special – there’s no better way to dress up your home or give second hand furniture a facelift than decoupage.

decoupage furniture

Photo courtesy of Do It Yourself


4. Add some accessories. How often have you been told it’s the little things in life that really count? Well, this time, it’s actually true. Spice up your living space with low budget add-ons any woman can afford — a scented candle, potted plant, or maybe a vibrant placemat. Because decorating on a budget is as elegant and easy as it is fun and carefree.  


Capri Blue Candle-In-A-Jar, $25.00 and Rag Rug Placemat, $8.00


5. Invest in a stylish but inexpensive slipcover. You may not be able to afford the lavish lifestyle you’d like to lead just yet, but in the meantime, you can at least pretend. Cover up those tattered hand me downs and breathe some new life into that raggedy old sofa – a jersey slipcover like the one below will only set you back $39.99 (and it's available in a wide variety of colors, too).


Jersey Sofa Slipcover, $39.99