The MHM Blog

Cool and Budget Friendly Ways to Decorate Your UIUC Apartment For the Holidays

Posted December 13, 2021
DIY Holiday Decorations

Christmas on a budget. Every college kid’s least favorite time of year, a time where they spend their well-saved beer money on gifts for their family and friends, decorations, and experiences that you can only do in the winter months. While this can be a stressful time, especially for college kids, making your space feel like home while you’re at school becomes increasingly important as the fall semester comes to a close. Here are some budget-friendly, cool ways to decorate your UIUC apartment for the Holidays. 

Invest in a small tree

While it’s not going to be the same as at home when your parents can fit a 7-foot tree in your living room straight from a Christmas tree farm and lugged into your house, investing in a small tree can take your apartment from bland to festive with less than $50. Since people are always scrambling for a tree around the holiday times, tons of stores like Michaels, Home Depot, and Lowes have sales on fake and real trees alike. If you choose to get a fake tree, this will be able to last you years until you move into a house of your own. Especially if you get one pre-lit – you won’t have to buy extra lights. 

Adding ornaments is cheaper than expected, and at most places that sell them, you can get 20 piece sets for under $20. If you catch a good sale at a store, you might be able to stock up on candles, tinsel, decor, and more to make your apartment merry and bright. 

Tinsel and lights 

While some of the most basic Christmas decors, don’t underestimate the power of lights and tinsel, especially together. No list for decorating your apartment could be complete without mentioning the power small items like this have to transform an apartment. Head to Home Depot or Lowes, where they are selling cheap Christmas accessories, and grab a few strands of lights. For under $10, you can get 50 lights that stretch farther than you might think. Adding lights to your doorway, balcony, and cool sections of your home inside will provide a cool elevation to your Christmas decor and your space with minimal effort and money. Just make sure there’s an outlet nearby! 

When it comes to tinsel, whether you have noticed it or not, it’s everywhere around the Holidays. Probably the easiest decoration to buy but the hardest to know what to do with. For just a few dollars, tinsel can be purchased in feet and can stretch, wrap and elevate your Holiday space. 

Here is some fantastic inspiration on how to decorate with your tinsel.

  1. Wrap it around a banister, a tv stand, or another staple in your house. Somewhere it is often visible, but not somewhere it will get in the way—a simple way to upgrade your space. 
  2. Make a fake tree by pinning lights in the shape of a tree on your wall and adding tinsel as well. No ornaments, trees, or anything else is required. Impress your friends, but they will know you checked Pinterest first. 
  3. Make it into words and hang it on the wall. Maybe it says, Joy, Love or Peace. Perhaps you are extra ambitious, and it says happy holidays. Whatever route you decide, tinsel can make your empty apartment look ready for the holidays in no time. 

Check out the Dollar Tree and Dollar General 

While this might not have been the first thing that popped in your head when looking to decorate, if you’re into DIY and are balling on a budget, you will be surprised by the number of things you’re able to find for only a buck. It’s definitely worth stopping by, from table and wall decor to things like cookie cutters and other cute seasonal items, especially if you have a creative eye for things like this. 

Go back to your roots – DIY snowflakes and Santas! 

With everyone looking to recreate some childhood Christmas magic, it’s no wonder this makes our list a cool and cheap way to deck your living space out. Can’t you remember how fun it was to cut out and hang our homemade snowflakes around our homes and classrooms in our youth?

Holidays are an excellent time for roommates to hang out and exchange gifts or drink (spiked) hot chocolate and gossip. Get together with your roomies and plan a fun night to cut out snowflakes and make your space pretty. Remember: it doesn’t have to be expensive to be pretty. 

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