Sponsored By First Column Student Living

212 East Apartments. | University of Illinois

Many college apartments look exactly the same?—?think band posters, twinkle lights and plastic storage bins. While nothing is wrong with these collegiate staples, there are other ways to transform your pad into a luxe oasis. And they’re a lot more affordable than you think.

Want to make your space look fancy AF? Use these budget-friendly design tips to help your college place truly feel like a grown-ass apartment.

212 East Apartments. | University of Illinois

Find A Great Place

This one’s a no-brainer: Find an apartment you love. When you live in a baller place, it makes the design process much easier. Instead of starting from scratch, you can accentuate the building’s positive features. Fully-furnished luxury apartments like First Column’s 212 East building at University of Illinois are a beautiful option. They’re trendy and design-forward, and they’re leasing now.


Make A Killer Headboard

Headboards can totally elevate any bedroom. There’s no need to drop a lot of cash on a store-bought version?—?grab a staple gun, fabric and a canvas to DIY a headboard like this one. If you’re craft-averse, slap a vintage rug on your wall.


DIY A Bedside Table

Need a bedside table? Make your own! Attach hairpin legs to a wooden box like this table. Pro-tip: If you go to a home improvement store, they’ll cut the pieces for you. Just make sure you know the dimensions you want. Because who actually remembers anything from shop class?

Offbeat + Inspired

Plants Are Key

Calling all green thumbs! Plants are an easy way to make your apartment look lovely. If you have a bad track record with greenery, try succulents and/or cacti. Pot the plants in affordable terracotta containers, and give them a fresh coat of paint like the ones above from Offbeat & Inspired.

Gallery Walls Are Chill

Gallery walls are the epitome of chic. Ditch your high school photo boards and class it up with this design technique. Find affordable frames from a craft store, and create a cohesive color scheme. Not allowed to hang nails in your walls? No problemo. Use double-sided sticky tape to attach ultra-light frames to the wall, or create a mini-gallery with craft tape ala Design Sponge.

Accent Walls That Pop

Nothing makes a statement quite like an accent wall. Create a temporary design with removable wallpaper, or use a tapestry to feature a cool landscape. You can even use decals to create a confetti wall, making every day feel like a party.

Upgrade Your Storage

With storage, you don’t have to sacrifice style for function. Get creative! Curate a display in your bookshelves. Reupholster your own storage ottoman. Or craft a no-sew rope basket. You might not need those plastic bins after all.

Homey Oh My

Up Your Textile Game

Throw pillows can make a huge impact?—?without breaking the bank. Assemble your own no-sew pillows covers with stitch adhesive and an iron. Try not to make your pillows look too matchy-matchy. Instead, stick to one color scheme, and focus on varying the size of the patterns you select to create a more mature aesthetic.

For incredible student housing options, check out First Column’s 212 East building in Champaign, IL. This beautiful, luxury complex is leasing now.