Four tips to make your space feel more like your own (and less like a prison)
As someone who just moved into a new rental house, I am frustratingly familiar with the need to decorate a new space.
It’s tough to find the time (and money) for pursuits that seem frivolous when there are more important things to focus on, like the mounting pile of dishes in the sink and the stack of readings waiting to be done. It is my firm belief, though, that a welcoming and personalized room has the potential to brighten one’s mood just enough to make those tasks a bit less daunting.
Here are some tips I’ve collected that will help add some spice to your place without breaking the bank.
You can’t have a well-decorated room before it’s tidy. It’s never too hard to find ways to store bigger items like bags, clothes, and books, but I always find it difficult to find ways to keep the little things in my room in order.
One solution that works well for me is buying plastic organizing trays and drinking glasses from Dollarama. I use them to store my makeup, as a catch-all for keys and cords, and to sort office supplies in my desk drawers.
If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly idea, start snooping around for used plastic containers. My favourites are the ones that Ferrero Rocher chocolates come in — they’re sturdy with rounded edges and fit all of my pens.
Your roommates might look at you with curiosity when you ask to keep the container their tofu came in, but at least you’ll know your room will be tidier for it.
“Custom” crate shelving
Instead of buying a weirdly pricey side table (or awkwardly dropping your phone on the floor every night), I suggest using two crates stacked on top of each other as a shelf. I got mine for just under $12 each at Walmart. When positioned sideways with the open side facing out, they create a perfect side table. You can always stack more to make a bookshelf, or even use them to organize your closet.
If there’s one thing that a proper bedroom needs, it’s good lighting. Think about what a room looks like with an overhead light on. It shines down, casting no shadow, creating the energy of a hospital waiting area.
A lamp can add so much to the feeling of a room, taking it from sterile to warm. I suggest a sturdy tri-bulb lamp, which is less expensive than the cost of feeling like you’re slowly losing your mind.
Always place lamps like these against a wall or in a corner. The way the light bounces off the paint allows for a bright glow, and when positioned near a desk, the lowest bulb can be turned down to act as a work lamp.
Another lighting option is the classic string of twinkle lights, which work well as a pick-me-up during December when it feels like the sun rises at noon. I also love salt lamps because they add another layer of comfort to a space with their gentle, diffused glow.
If you haven’t walked through the Imaginus poster sale in the SUB before, try it. It’s a great starting place for room decor, provided the poster you want isn’t sold out or the line isn’t so long that you miss your next class. Always imagine where the piece will go on your walls to avoid buying ones that you’ll never put up.
To add more unique art to your space, try searching in thrift stores. Look for pieces that compliment the colours of your space, or ones that fit in well with the aesthetic that you’re looking for. Many thrift stores also sell empty frames that you can use for an accent wall or to hang your favourite pieces.