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How to furnish a student flat on a budget

April Kennedy April Kennedy
Cocinas de estilo ecléctico de Design Ecléctico
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Your wallet may dictate your diet and coffee may keep you alive for marathon study sessions, but that doesn't mean you can't have style! Furnishing a home on a student's budget can be cheap and easy with a little imaginative thinking. Just remember that style is not something that can be bought. All you need is some clever, imaginative thinking and a student's budget can be stretched to make a home that is both fun and stylish.

The fantastic benefit is the sweet satisfaction of discovering that you can make something out of, well, almost, nothing. So scrounge around for some coins, and get ready to explore the exciting world of home decorating on a student's budget.

Finalise your budget

A well-planned budget will help you make financial decisions with a good sense of perspective. Make a list of the absolutely priorities such as a bed, a table, sofa etc. Then make a separate budget for decorative items. As you address each item on your list, you'll be able to prioritise the must-have items before moving on. At the same time, it will help you feel better about splurging a little if you have a clear sense of how it will affect your other furnishing needs. There won't be that gnawing sense of vague unease that sees many a poor student get overwhelmed with stress.

Choosing your style

Cocinas de estilo ecléctico de Design Ecléctico

Weather you like industrial, quirky or pretty and romantic, any theme can be created on a budget. Collect pictures of rooms you love and think about the elements that catch your eye. As much as you may fall in love with a particular style, resist the urge to have everything align too closely to the one theme. These themes have been done so many times before that recreating them in close detail may result in a room that lacks individuality. So embrace the diversity and colour of the different furniture you'll come to find. Look at this studio apartment for inspiration. Although the bright green chairs, black recliner and feature lighting are completely disparate, they work together beautifully.

Look for second hand resellers

ANTONIO CARLOS RESIDENCE Livings de estilo ecléctico de Mauricio Arruda Design Ecléctico
Mauricio Arruda Design


Mauricio Arruda Design

Buying new furniture is finally out of style. Second-hand furniture or pre-loved furniture as some call it, is definitively in fashion. Much of this is due to the growing awareness of just how wasteful it is to constantly buy new things and throw them away when we get bored. As a result of this awareness, there are more and more organisations that buy and sell second-hand furniture. There's even an international movement called the freecycle network, where people give away items they no longer need. Usually all you need to do is arrange to pick up the item yourself. Look at this living room by Mauricio Arruda Design for inspiration. It's hard to believe, but every item here, from the orange and red stools to the purple sofa and pictures on the wall have been preloved. 

A budget bed

Now, it can be a bit tricky to find the bed you've been dreaming about when you're gratefully accepting something free from another person. Shopping for second-hand furniture also requires more patience and time than buying new furniture. But that doesn't mean you can't find something simple to trim, fit, decorate and work into a more loveable item.

No furniture is easier to modify than a bed. The simplest bed base can be jazzed up with an ornate bedhead like this. Rosa Pura Home Store has used an gorgeous folding screen may have had a battered surface, but you would never know it with the heavy, gorgeous layer of yellow paint. This kind of modification also means that the bed will be uniquely yours and how cool is that! 

Cheap and cheerful curtains

Yellow Ombre linen curtain by Lovely Home Idea de LOVELY HOME IDEA Moderno

Yellow Ombre linen curtain by Lovely Home Idea


It's easy to get caught up in the notion that a curtain needs to be fussy. When it comes down to it, a curtain is simply a single piece of fabric with a single hem that enables you to slide it into a curtain rod or piece of bamboo. Some people even simply hang curtains over the curtain rod and do away with the hemming altogether. The most important thing to consider is the weight of the material and how the colour may affect your decor. Lightweight, ethnic fabrics can be cheaply bought in most Asian cities. If you're feeling really adventurous, consider reusing an old Indian sari. For a really simple decor, consider a bold design in a primary colour like this one. The yellow adds a super-bright and colourful accent to the relatively bare room.

Make lights with character

Charles Bowler Hat Light Oficinas y bibliotecas de estilo moderno de Mr J Designs Moderno
Mr J Designs

Charles Bowler Hat Light

Mr J Designs

An interesting lighting scheme may possibly be one of the cheapest ways to add personality and warmth to your room. Multiple lamps will create smaller pools of light that are much more interesting than a single, overhead light source.

Older lamps often have quirky and more detailed finishes. Once the lampshade fades, these beautiful pieces of furniture are often abandoned. So keep an eye out for these elegant old pieces when scouring the second-hand marketplace. For a really cutting edge look, consider upcycling interesting found objects and creating something like these quirky bowler hat lamps.

For more budget inspiration, have a look at Upcycling: Everything old is new again!

Fachada con iluminación nocturna modelo Chipiona Casas inHaus Casas estilo moderno: ideas, arquitectura e imágenes de Casas inHAUS Moderno

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