How many times have you stepped into your dorm or apartment only to sigh at the mess, lack of light, color or LIFE in the room?

Whether your apartment is a mess and needs to be cleaned or you just need to make a few changes, there are easy ways to do this without costing you a lot or putting in a crazy amount of effort.

No need to continue hating your living accouterments; simply change your dorm around by adding a few things to brighten up your living space and your mood.

painting your dorm

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1. Paint your walls

Most college dorms or apartments are very open to the idea of you decorating and painting your walls.

Typically, colleges allow students to do whatever they want (more of less) in terms of decorating as long as the student is aware that the decorations must be changed, removed or restored to the original form by the end of the year.

If you don’t have your own room, ask your roommates to accompany you to the paint store so all of you can pick out a bright, cheery color to brighten up the dorm.

The last thing you want to do is go through all of the work of painting only to pick a drab or dark color that will make you more depressed. Pick something muted, but bright and inviting; try a pale yellow, a light blue or even certain shades of green will work.

If you are feeling artistic or daring, try a stencil, wall decals or a cool design that will add not only life to your walls, but a new dimension of art.

2. Get a plant

You may be thinking that a plant is not such a great idea, but what better way to bring some life into your dorm or apartment than to ACTUALLY bring some life into your dorm/apartment?

Head to Home Depot and see what type of plant selections are available. Talk to the salespeople so you know what type of care your new plant will require. Does it need to be watered once a week or once a day? Can it sit by the window or does it require shade? These are all questions you should ask and know the answers to before buying.

A small palm tree, bush or other type of plant can really bring a cool facet to your apartment. Not only will you liven up your dorm and add an eye-catching piece to your space, you will receive joy from watching the plant grow and change over time into something awesome.

3. Throw up some curtains

This may seem like an obvious room-changing idea for some of you, but others may be totally clueless. Curtains can add a whole new dimension and life to your apartment or dorm.

Curtains frame the windows, add color to the room and in some cases, dictate the color scheme and theme for the rest of the dorm/apartment. Curtains will also make your room seem bigger, more sophisticated and more “put-together.”

Get some gauzy/sheer curtains for the living room area, but something heavier for your personal room (if you have one). You can get really cheap curtains from any home store like Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens ‘n’ Things or HomeGoods.

I used an extendable shower curtain rod for my bedroom and bought easy-to-install rods for the living room and boy, did it make a difference!

Wall pictures

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4. Wall items

Mirrors, pictures and shelves

Whether you are a DIY person or you are more of a buy-it-yourself person, you can add some great art to your walls by creating it yourself or hitting up some cheap places like HomeGoods, TJ Maxx or Marshalls.

All of the aforementioned stores have home department sections with great mirrors, paintings, pictures, picture frames, shelves, and a whole lot of other stuff you can buy and throw up on your walls.

DIY

Why not go to Michaels or JoAnns and get some great DIY project materials and paint something cool, make a collage of photos or even a hanging scrapbook.

Your guests will gush over the effort you put in to all of your pieces and will admire your talents.

Friends of the art department

Head down to the art department and see if there are any auctions or sales going on featuring student art at a cheap price.

Another great way to grab some art is to hit up friends in the art department; ask if they would be willing to part with a cool piece for a small price (entice them by explaining how much exposure you will be giving them every time you host a party or pre-game).

5. Add some light

Part of the reason your room might be so depressing is the fact that you may not have very much light. Whether you are missing windows, you don’t have any lamps or the overhead light has been burned out for a few months, you need to get some light in your room.

Head to one of the home stores and pickup some table, desk or floor lamps to disperse within your dorm/apartment; the added light will brighten up the room and your mood every time you walk in.

No one likes to hang out or party in a dark room anyway, so make sure to get as much light as possible by replacing old bulbs or calling maintenance to replace ceiling lights if necessary.

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