Decorating tips for student living

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    By Arianne Baadsgarrd

    Mismatching couches, lifeless white walls, worn carpet and dented floorboards – this typical BYU apartment is Martha Stewart”s worst nightmare.

    But BYU students can successfully master the challenge to transform lifeless living space into something inviting and exciting by finding decorations that are cheap, comfortable and creative.

    Lauren Cravath, 19, sophomore from Clarkesville, Tenn., majoring in English, has a living room that is a huge smash. She has arranged broken pieces of mirror on her living room wall to catch light.

    “I had a full length mirror with a crack in it,” Cravath said, “so I sliced off the frame, covered it with a towel, smashed the heck out it with a hammer, and hung up the pieces with double sided adhesive.”

    Another way Cravath has capture light is by stringing blank CDs from the ceiling.

    Collages of pictures can also brighten up a room – use old photos, cut outs from magazines, even cheap art prints.

    Jen Cozza, 20, a junior from Phoenix, Ariz., majoring in marriage, family and human development, uses cut-outs from Oilily clothing catalogs to make collages on her walls.

    Flowers and plants give an instant lift to a drab apartment.

    Barrett Hooper, 23, senior from Redwood City, Calif., majoring in economics, said he and his roommates took all the decorations off their Christmas tree, but left it standing in the apartment.

    “It makes the house seem alive,” Barrett said.

    Mission memorabilia also makes great decorations.

    Nate Dewey, 24, senior from Boise, Idaho, majoring in International Studies, said hanging up flags and maps are great conversation pieces when girls visit.

    “You don”t want anyone”s mission to be the most dominant. When each person in the apartment contributes you get an eclectic combination that represents everyone”s experiences,” Dewey said.

    One way students can start remodeling their room is by tearing out magazine pictures of rooms they like.

    Adding more light is another popular suggestion to uplift a room.

    Besides being cooler looking than regular desk lamps, floor lamps are big since the lighting in apartments and dorms is pretty harsh on the eyes.

    Floor pillows, beanbags and futons are also fairly popular as a cheap way to avoid sitting on hard floors or nasty carpet.

    Aaron Nelson, 27, a junior from Schenectady, NY, majoring in Industrial Design, hung a large inner tube on his living room wall.

    “We just stuck a bow on it to make it a Christmas wreath,” Nelson said.

    Nelson”s apartment also has several road signs hung on the wall. One reads, “No parking between these lines.”

    A large piece of butcher paper, some crayons or pastels and a little creativity can make great murals, Nelson said.

    Mark Matthews, 23, a senior from Kingwood, Texas, majoring in marriage, family and human development, transformed his living room furniture into what he calls “The John Denver Memorial Theater” by stacking his couches in a stadium like seating arrangement.

    Whether the goal is for a Star Wars theme or something straight from ”Country Living,” students can find a way to give their apartment a makeover without killing their bank account.

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