How to turn a house into a home



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As Polaroid pictures come back into style, students often display them around their rooms, hung up on string lights or set on tabletops.  Austin Rettig Buy Photos

Moving off campus for the first time can be exciting but daunting because of all of the things you need for your new space, sophomore Amy Gallagher said. Gallagher moved off campus into a house for the first time this school year, and currently lives with three other roommates. 

“You literally have nothing, and you have to get everything that you need, so that was really stressful,” Gallagher said. 

Despite this initial stress, Gallagher said she had fun decorating her new space and shared some recommendations for turning a house into a home.

Moving out of the residence hall and into a house or apartment most likely means no more sharing a room, allowing it to truly be your own space. 

“I look forward to going back to my room and having that little space for me because I think it’s a reflection of who I am,” Gallagher said. 

Decorating wall space

Because of her new room’s small size and dark wood walls, Gallagher said she wanted to bring bright colors into her room. She did so by hanging colorful curtains and a tapestry she had in her dorm room last year. To make the space look bigger, Gallagher hung a couple of mirrors in her room in addition to paintings her friends made her. 

“I want it to be colorful and bright so it’s a place that I look forward to being in,” Gallagher said. 

Photos

Both picture frames and photo clips can be an inexpensive way to personalize your space. In addition to adding sentimental value to your room, photo clips can also take up wall space. Gallagher said she mostly uses picture frames in her room as decoration.

“Where I live is where I come home to every single night, and the place where I like to feel safe and comfy, so if that space is a lot more cute and personalized, it’s something that I look forward to,” Gallagher said.

Students can use tapestries and string lights to personalize their rooms.  Austin Rettig Buy Photos

Fairy lights

This residence hall room staple can brighten up any space, especially if you have a small or dark room. Buying fairy lights with photo clips can also be a great way to personalize your decorations. Gallagher said fairy lights are a classic for any new room. 

Staying organized

In order to stay on the same page as her roommates during the moving process, Gallagher said they created a Google Doc, outlining what they needed for each room. For rooms where they didn’t use the document, like their kitchen, Gallagher said her and her roommates ended up buying way more things than they needed. 

“We had this very extensive Google Doc with everything and different rooms and what we had and who’s getting what, how much everything was,” Gallagher said. “I think that was really helpful, too, just being really organized with it.”

Where to find decor

Finding quality yet inexpensive house decor and furniture can be a difficult task. Gallagher said she and her roommates saved on decor through the Bloomington Community Sale where they found couches, dressers and different types of clocks. The clocks later became staple pieces in Gallagher’s living room. 

Goodwill and other secondhand stores can offer various inexpensive furniture and other decorations. Gallagher said personalizing her space made her feel more at home and comfortable. 

“Gradually it’s becoming more of our space rather than just a space that we moved into, so decorating a house is really fun to do," Gallagher said. "It’s a little stressful, but once we’re all there, it’s really cool.”

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