San Marcos,
11:11 AM

9 Ways to Decorate on a Budget

By Whitney Frasier

We get it. Being away from home and starting college can be intimidating. Embrace the change by taking this opportunity to express yourself.

Check out these creative, budget-friendly ways to decorate your space CSUSM-style for $15 or less.

Repurpose Old Books

Visit a local thrift store and pick up some cheap books to repurpose. Decorate them with paint and pens and put them on display. Try dropping by Kellogg Library to see if they have books they’re giving away. While you’re there, consider joining the Common Read program.

Need something more? Cut out a hole in the center of the pages and use the book as a discrete hideaway for small items such as keys.

Estimated Cost: Free to $3

Hang Your Hat

Take a swing at recreating this nifty hat holder using a wooden bat and some hardware from your local home improvement store. Display it vertically or horizontally depending on your space. Looking for something more fashionable? Paint a wood plank and add chic hardware for a more elegant look.

Estimated Cost: $15 (not including hats)

Add Some Green to Your Space

Bring some life into your dorm room with potted plants. They are noninvasive, inexpensive and are associated with multiple health benefits. If you are feeling really crafty, paint them to add your own special touch.

Estimated Cost: $6 to $10

Never Miss Out

It’s always nice to have a reminder of when assignments are due or what Tukwut Life event is coming up. Avoid the bulky, unattractive wipe-off boards and create your own with a picture frame and fancy paper.

Estimated Cost: About $2

T-Shirt Wall Art

Bring a piece of your past back with these stylish T-shirt canvases. Wrap them with your favorite athletic or band shirts that you don’t wear anymore to make a classic throwback masterpiece. Better yet, show your school spirit and wrap them in CSUSM shirts like these!

Estimated Cost: $5 each (not including shirts)

Add a Temporary Headboard

These headboards are a fun and artistic way to add personality to your space. All you need is a moving box, bed frame measurements and some cheap fabric. If your heart isn’t set on a headboard, try cutting out your initials and add character with a little paint, claiming your area in a trendy way.

Estimated Cost: $7

Framed Paper Fun

A couple of cheap frames and some decorative paper can take you a long way. You can also frame paper shopping bags from your favorite stores to show off your inner fashion sense. Athletic schedules, like the one shown above, are available every year. Add one to the mix so you never miss a game at our new Sports Center!

Estimated Cost: $6 

Make a Branch Box

Need a place to store jewelry but don’t want to dish out the cash for a clunky box? This DIY necklace saver is awesome for avoiding the hassle of untangling wars before rushing to class. It can also double as an interesting piece of wall art. Hang it over your desk for easy access or to complement your other accessories.

Estimated Cost: $1 (not including accessories)

Bring your Memories to Life with Light

Express the true you by hanging a strand of lights and attaching your favorite memories from your social media sites. If you feel like your photography is less than stellar, visit our Instagram and gather your favorite photos of our campus sunsets and exciting events.

Estimated Cost: $3

Want More CSUSM Swag?

The bookstore is full of spirit gear. If you have a little extra cash on hand, this is your one-stop shop. You can choose from banners, blankets, stickers, cups and just about anything else your parents might want to steal from your room to show their Cougar pride! Download the CSUSM App for coupon notifications throughout the year.

Short on cash? Attend one of the many on-campus events hosted by student organizations and you may score some freebies. They are bound to be giving away something besides food!