IKEA, Your Way

For most college students looking for stylish furniture on a tight budget, there is only one place to turn to: IKEA. Specializing in modern Scandinavian design built for functionality, IKEA sells a huge range of products for every room. You can get any piece of furniture or any accessory you want, and you can choose how much you want to spend on it. For a quick fix, you can choose one of their low-priced lines, or you can spend a little more and get better quality.

But what happens when every college student in your dorm ends up with the same bookshelf? Or three of your friends have the same couch? That’s where IKEAhackers.net comes in. IKEA Hackers is a great resource if you want to personalize your cheap IKEA items so that you get to save some space in your budget, but also stand out from the crowd a bit.

The site features real people and their real projects that turn basic IKEA pieces into clever new pieces, or in some cases just improved or customized versions of the original pieces. Each post lists the materials used in the “hack,” as well as a description of the process. The posts range from children’s play kitchens to footstools, from lighting to couches. You can use the search bar to find hacks featuring specific products, and there is a category list on the left if you just want to get a general idea of the content available. Additionally, the site’s Quick Start Guide has a useful list of projects broken down by difficulty level, as well as a list of most popular hacks.

The best part about the site is that many of the hacks use items you probably already have on hand, and the majority of the IKEA pieces used are from the lower-priced lines – perfect for a college undergrad’s light wallet. Even if you never shop at IKEA and aren’t interested in starting, it’s inspiring to see how easy it is to start with something very basic and end with something unique and personal.

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Do It Yourself: Original Artwork

As fashionable, fabulous college students, it can be hard to marry a small budget and a well-decorated home harmoniously. So what do you do if you want to skip the Target home section and make your place a little more personal? Luckily, it’s easy to create custom artwork for your walls for much cheaper than you would be able to buy original art. This technique is so simple that you can do it even if you aren’t an artist.  The idea is to use tape and stickers to create a design that you then simply paint over. When the paint is dry, the tape and stickers peel off and you’re left with a unique canvas painting.

For this project, I had a budget of $35. My original supply list included a canvas, paint, tape, stickers, and a paint brush. I found a great deal on a 16″x21″ canvas two-pack, which was originally $15 but on sale for $6 (yes, for two!). I spent $4 for each of the acrylic paints, $4 on the brushes, $3 on the garage sale stickers (to make circles), $4 on the tape (which can be cut to make different sized lines), and $3 for each package of letters. Since I was under budget at $28, I also snagged some white glitter to mix in with my yellow paint. At $3 for a big tube, it made my grand total $31.

project supplies

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