Step One is Find an Accent Color for “Booger”

Step two is more or less give up.

By Molly Burke (University of Texas at Austin)


If you’re new to the world of student apartments, just know that for the next few years, your life will be dominated by the color beige: Beige walls, beige linoleum floors, and sometimes even beige kitchen appliances.

You’d be surprised how wide a spectrum beige actually covers, and it’s not all bad. I’ve lived within walls painted a pleasant, demure cream that always made me feel like I was waking up inside a marshmallow. Minus marshmallows’ noise-canceling effects though, which would have helped the fact that my building was sandwiched between two frats and a co-op.

How to Decorate Your Ugly Student ApartmentOn the other hand, I’ve also been the victim of a dirt-cheap but hideous unit with walls that can only be described using the word “booger.”

No matter how horrified I am with the color in my apartment, I never paint over it. First off, I’m too lazy for that and second, I’m morally opposed to buying replacement paint for when I move out and have to return the room to its original banality.

Instead, I do my best to introduce a consistent accent color with wall decor, furniture and bedding. It’s my way of maintaining dignity in the constant defeat that is dealing with tasteless property management.

Having been a student-apartment dweller for the past four years, I consider myself something of a beige apologist and expert in circumventing shitty default color schemes. Consider this your guide to choosing a stylish and tasteful accent color.

White

Forget trying to go for the beachy look. No matter how many linen curtains you hang, using white as your accent color will always look like the insane asylum got the wrong paint shipment.

Red

This combo is stylishly reminiscent of a trench coat and red lipstick, that mainstay of quintessential French chic. It also has an academic feel, which is kind of a waste since studying in bed never works.

Orange

Unless it’s burnt orange for school spirit or light creamsicle, it doesn’t really make sense.

Also, how do you even find that many pieces of orange room decor? Side note: Whataburger number tents are never an appropriate means of self-expression.

Yellow

Accent the beige with its closest relative? Great idea!

Green

This has the potential for sweet low-key Rivendell vibes, unless the beige you’re working with has the aforementioned booger undertones. Then it’s more Shrek than Legolas and altogether pretty gross.

Blue

A favorite of basic-bitch wedding planners, blue and beige has that pastoral country-house appeal that makes it one of the better options. Plus, by combining its prettiest colors, you avoid the pesky blue/black vs. white/beige nonsense.

Purple

Beige is kind of like yellow, and yellow and purple are complementary colors, which means when combined in a prism they will cancel each other out. When combined in a bedroom, however, they scream Lakers fan and poor taste.

Brown

A chocolate-colored palette has the potential to produce a warm, rich ambiance. Just be careful your room doesn’t end up looking like a middle management office at UPS.

Black

It’s hard to elegantly implement all-black decor: at best, it’ll look like the abode of a fashionable but angry New Yorker and at worst it’ll look like you’re revisiting your middle school goth phase. Keep the Satan worship to a minimum and this could be a great look.

Six room decor items for the 2016 hipster

Floating bonsai tree

High-tech meets feng shui meets witchcraft.

The Air Bonsai is a two-piece contraption that uses magnets and real bonsai trees to create the illusion of a floating houseplant. These are not yet in production, but a successful Kickstarter campaign means that the product could be rolling out as soon as August 2016.

Green Polyester Furniture

Hit two birds with one stone—the retro trend and the health food buzzword—with avocado-green furnishings.

The past few seasons have seen a resurgence of seventies vomit-chic, and there’s no better way to cool your unisex platform boots after a night of ironic disco than to sink into a nice, pneumonic armchair.

Scout eBay for vintage gems or just hang around the dumpster of the local retirement home until something cool pops up.

A cat that looks like/will look like a celebrity

Adam Driver CatThe trend of the emoji-worthy housepet may be on its way out (remember Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat and Boo the Dog?), but it’s making way for the newest fad in impulsive animal adoption: cats that look like up-and-coming celebrities.

Enter Adam Driver Cat, now known officially as Kylo Ren due to his bizarre likeness to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Just make sure you’re a member of the press like Kylo’s new owner, Elite Daily Executive Editor Emily McCombs, so you can snap up your furry Hollywood hunk doppelganger before the adoption listing goes viral.

Edison lamp

Have an irrational hatred of lampshades? Solution: fashion yourself a DIY Edison lamp.

All you need is an oversized translucent bulb and an extension cord and you’ll be well on your way to showing off your industrial edginesss and appreciation for good ol’ American innovation.

Try one of IKEA’s new LED bulbs so you can brag to guests about your paradoxical energy-efficient quaintness.

Papel Picado banner

Ever wonder what to do with that awkward space between your ceiling and your eye-level Polaroid collage?

Look no further than Papel Picado, the staple of Mexican folk art and culturally-appropriating Cinco de Mayo frat parties. It’s colorful, worldly, and just under $5 at Party City. ¡A huevo!

Sheepskin rug

With the acceleration of global warming, this staple of Scandinavian minimalism offers an exotic, decadent touch: Unseasonably warm weather renders fur a useless luxury item.

It’ll probably be worth a lot of money someday, when animals are all hairless as an evolutionary adaptation to the methane-addled pressure cooker formerly known as Earth.

Electronics in the Bedroom: Dos and Don’ts

Do:

Set up a TV in your room. It’ll be there for you when you want to relax with some GoT but your roommates are bingeing on Hoarders in the living room.

Don’t:

Get cable. It’s an unnecessary expense in the age of Netflix, Hulu and HBOGO. Plus, with cable you have to deal with obnoxious TV commercials. I’ve been cable-free for so long that my tolerance for these ads has hit an absolute zero and I can’t go back without risking an epileptic fit.

Do:

Get a desk for your laptop. Some days you won’t have the strength to drag yourself to the library to study. And if you can work in the privacy of your room, you can avoid all the fun social things your friends are doing without you just outside your door.

Don’t:

Use your built-in office as an excuse not to go outside. Find a reason to get some Vitamin D, whether it’s to grab a bite to eat or let out a primal scream of frustration on your apartment balcony.

Do:

Get a solid set of music speakers. Preferably something portable, so you can bring them with you to the bathroom.

There’s nothing more engaging than pooping to the gurgling bassline of Tool’s “Stinkfist.”

Alternatively, jam to something like Salt n Pepa’s “Push It” if you need extra motivation.

Don’t:

Forget to protect those speakers with your life should you bring them outside your room. All it takes is one spilled drink to ruin a perfectly good Bose-powered rager, and Mom and Dad will be less than sympathetic to know that the textbook money they gave you is going toward beer pong casualties.