• Natalie

Decorating on a Student Budget

I really pride myself on my space. I'm very much a home-body and enjoy creating a space where I can recharge, feel comfortable and spend a great deal of my time. That's why I was so excited to 'decorate' a new space here in Toronto. The only issue, was that I had to do it on a student budget! I was lucky during my move, as the apartment I moved into came fully furnished and my friend had been living here for 3 years. However, this also meant that I was moving into someone else's space, with a third person's furniture and a mixture of mutilple decorating styles!

Now, I definitely don't consider myself to be an interior designer but I like having a nice looking space. With this move I decided to try for a bright, airy, minimalist look and I think I nailed it.

My room came with a white bedframe and dresser. The dresser was quite large for the room, so my roomate and I agreed to move it into the dining-room-turned-office for extra storage (med school requires a lot of stuff!). The bedframe fit my vision exactly and so I found a great dovet cover and fluffy duvet to top it off.

Generally I would be all about the throw pillows, but in the effort of keeping my space minimal and airy, I decided against these unnecessary creatures and opted for a more "natural/lived in" look to my bed.

I found a great hanging wall-macramae that happened to match my duvet cover and added a hamper with the same bo-ho style.

I beelined for the Råskog utility cart at Ikea and found myslef a cheap Nesna night stand while I was there. A beautiful Majestic Palm from Walmart and some curtains from my mom's basement were the final touches for this serene, airy and bright bedroom that I call home!

I think Huey likes it too!

Want some of my best tips for decorating on a budget?

  • Take your time. Find joy in hunting for the pieces that you want, especially if you have expensive taste

  • Search stores like Winners, HomeSense, TJ Maxx and Marshall's religiously

  • When searching the above stores, look in the kids section. They always have cheaper decorations and they often don't look childish (this tip is best for boho, bright or muted colors- you won't find much gold, rosegold or jewel tones here)

  • Basic bedding is cheap at places like Ikea ($39.99 duvets? YES!) but get your decorative items (patterned duvet covers, sheets, shams etc..) at stores like Giant Tiger or Walmart

  • The Dollarama (Canadian only?) has AMAZING wicker-like plastic bins for organizing closets and undersink spaces

  • Consider a minimalist/airy look - less stuff = less money

  • it doesn't have to be black and white!

  • Consider a trip to Value Village or other stores that sell used items

  • this is great for the environment BUT be cautious of what you're buying

  • I stick to "hard items" like lamps, glasses, decor - basically anything that I can wash and sanitize

  • I stray from bedding, clothing and fabric/leather furniture

  • While it can be tempting to look at Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, don't be disappointed when you leave with nothing (except maybe an over priced candle)

  • these stores cater to those NOT on a student buget


  • Take care of your things! Even shopping at places like Ikea, Walmart and Giant Tiger, if you take care of your items, they will last for years!

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