With September just around the corner, school is in the air. Just last weekend we moved our daughter back to college. Gone are the days when you loaded up a few laundry baskets full of clothes and borrowed your parents Nogahide couch, complete with rips and tears patched with duck tape; originally destined for the dump.

Not today’s college student. While still being thrifty, they are much more sophisticated. They want “style” in their rooms. No duck taped couches. God, I loved that couch. Life was simpler then. When the duck tape broke free and a little stuffing came out, you just grabbed a roll and patched.

Luckily for us, the past thirty years have brought an abundance of fashionable, yet reasonable on the pocketbook retailers, with many decorating options that don’t break the bank.

So, Kim and I set out help our eldest daughters, both who had moved off campus into houses, with a tiny 7×9 space to call their own. Both were freaking out because, having lived in furnished housing the year before, were low on staples.

The biggest problem was they had already moved back to school, and nothing was fitting, working etc. in their new spaces. If any of you have daughters, you know the stress this can invoke. And, naturally, somehow it is our fault.

So, after many pics sent(gotta love smart phones) back and forth, them sending pics of the rooms, and us sending pics of ideas, we finally had a plan. With great stores like Ikea, World Market, Lowes, Target and Marshall’s Home Goods, it was pretty easy to find great looking accessories that were easy on the budget!

And so ensued the “great college room decorating road trip.” Some of these “before” pictures are pretty scary.

Hannah’s before:

Hannah’s After:
Emily’s before:
Emily’s After:
The best part about both rooms is we didn’t have to spend a lot to have them look great!

A couple of tips to get a fantastic look while keeping the costs down:

1. Look for closeouts—we purchased bamboo shades from Lowes that were being discontinued. Originally $45.00/shade, we purchased them for $16.99/shade!

2. DIY— anything you can DIY you will save. Emily got some acrylic paint and large canvases and made her own artwork. She also spray painted the drawers on an old dresser and jazzed it up with some inexpensive glass knobs from World Market.

3.–Check out stores like Marshall’s to get designer accessories at a fraction of the cost. Things like mirrors, prints, etc. are great things to find at this store.

4.–And finally, never underestimate the the power of a made bed. It will take any room from drab to fab in 5 minutes or less. (as indicated from the above pictures!)

Four hundred miles, two rooms, and two days later, we left our daughters, happier than when we arrived.

Straight A’s for all this semester! Aahhh, if we only had the remedy for that…….

hogs and kisses,