Home & Decor

Student style: Create a unique space on a small budget

(NC)—Finding the perfect space to call home is one of the many stresses of heading back to school. Thankfully, there are more resources than ever to help you find great deals and build a place to make your own. Using online classifieds, for example, makes it easy to find new and gently used items to make the space feel like home. By applying common sense and some simple design tricks you can create a unique space on a student budget:

• Find the perfect piece: Unique finds start with unique keywords so searching online classifieds using words like “vintage” almost always does the trick. Furniture from the 50s to the 70s is on trend right now and vintage pieces like tables and chairs are stylish and surprisingly affordable. Think outside the box with art as well; do something different like hanging a small, patterned rug on your wall (it also acts as a sound barrier).

• Practice smart space-saving: Organization is the key to making a small space look amazing. When searching for shelves and other storage items, don’t forget to think vertical. A tall bookcase or some strategically placed hooks make it easy to clear the clutter from your floors. And, get creative with storage solutions. For example, repurpose old family heirlooms like a great big steamer trunk or vintage luggage.

• Customize with colour and shape: Show off your personality with unique décor items in bold colours and shapes. Tangerines and oranges are everywhere right now. To offset the colourful furniture, stay consistent with your basic colours and keep your walls monochromatic. Don’t forget that if you love the shape of a piece of furniture, you can always change the colour with an inexpensive coat of paint.

• Updating is uber-easy: Small changes can have a big impact, especially if you’re moving into an old space. Look to add a new pop of colour by simply swapping out accent pillows, and small décor items each year. Kijiji’s “Home – Inside” category makes it easy to find everything from bedding to window treatments.

Karl Lohnes is an interior designer who specializes in small spaces and is also the resident home and décor expert for CTV’s Canada AM.


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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.

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