The science of DIY decorating

By Erica Garnett

(Amanda Creegan/Daily Collegian)
(Amanda Creegan/Daily Collegian)

Returning to school each year presents new opportunities, with one being a living space in need of decorating. But a well-accentuated room sometimes comes at a cost. Between monopoly chain stores, limited budgets and time, our natural consumerism instincts are to buy in bulk at one place. This results in unsatisfactory Target purchases.

Therefore, drag the decoration process out. Bring the basic necessities and then explore the abundance of unique shops located in the Pioneer Valley. Northampton has several thrift shops, vintage stores and non-chain stores to acquire decorations that your neighbor will be sure not to have.

Thrones Marketplace contains ACME Surplus, which has several discounted items. By walking down the street from Thrones Marketplace and ACME Surplus, while blissfully turning a cheek to Urban Outfitters, you can check out Roz’s Place and Retro Genie, which are both top-notch vintage stores for clothes, furniture and decorations.

When it comes to storage, there are many more aesthetically pleasing options than see-through plastic bins. Instead, opt for exploring a used furniture store, utilize local Craig’s List offers, and always keep an eye out on the side of the road. Used furniture will be more affordable, require no assembly and have more character than pieces that come in a box.

But sometimes, it isn’t a matter of what should be bought but what can be made.

Craft and hardware stores can be utilized for almost any DIY endeavor to make typical decorations into personalized creations. Fabric can be bought cheap at craft stores and used to make comforters, curtains and pillow cases. Tapestries can even be sewn together instead of buying fabric or hung off a bed as a makeshift bedskirt.

For the monogram obsessed student who spent almost a month’s worth of tuition on customized pillow cases, blank wood letters are inexpensive and can be customized with a little bit of paint.

Paint sample sheets are free at any local hardware store and can be arranged into colorful designs on the walls. Outdoor lighting can be used for room decorations. Try covering lights with pig pong balls or paper lanterns for a different look, because, to shed light on the situation, plain Christmas lights are a bit boring.

Browse the home and garden section for plants and flowers to put in a room. They help bring color and require little effort to maintain than re-hanging a tapestry that constantly keeps falling. To achieve a fresh look without worrying about taking on one more responsibility, buy fake flowers and plants from the craft store and arrange them into bouquets.

Flowers can even be hung upside down on clothespins and strung across on hemp with pictures. Ditch picture frames and hang photos up on the wall so memories won’t have to cost a thing.

Erica Garnett can be reached at [email protected]