We all know the feeling of walking into a store like Anthropologie, with its perfect displays showing off modern design that meets an all-grown-up take on boho style. What we love even more than the clothing is the home section of the store. Unfortunately, few of our favorite Anthro picks are college budget-friendly. Luckily, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to getting Anthropologie style on a budget, starting from the ground up.
1. Invest in a new rug to cozy up your space
If you’re in a dorm, chances are your floor is some kind of linoleum or concrete material which isn’t exactly welcoming after a tiring day of classes. Even if you’re in an apartment (look at you, adulting!) a rug is handy to cover up those mysterious carpet stains that your landlord swore would be steam-cleaned before you moved in. IKEA has some of the most affordable options that also happen to look like they’re right out of an Anthropologie catalog (like this one).
2. Check out your local flea market scene
So much of Anthropologie’s design scheme uses pieces that are artfully distressed or a little unfinished, which makes flea markets your best source for finding bedroom accessories that have the same look. You can find anything from a desk chair to a nightstand, and even smaller items like antique lamps and wrought-iron candlestick holders.
3. Don’t be afraid to look outside of ‘bed-in-a-bag’ selections
While convenient, these packages don’t always look the best. More importantly, they’re not typically made of high-quality materials that will last you more than a year or two. Instead, look at quilt or duvet sets that match the design aesthetic you’re after, like this floral set from Target.
4. Mix and match when you have the chance
Also, remember that mixing and matching is the name of the game for Anthropologie, so don’t be afraid to do it yourself, too. That artfully mixed-and-matched look is based on choosing pieces that contrast enough to pop, but also go together, so the key here is not to get too carried away (or else your room will feel chaotic instead of put together).
Choose whether you’re going to create that contrast with the colors of your bedding or the textures. For example, if you choose a colorful, patterned bedspread, compliment it by including pieces with texture (such as a cozy crocheted blanket) in a neutral color. Conversely, if you choose to decorate based on solid-color pieces in your favorite color (say, purple), include pieces like patterned throw pillows that incorporate both purple and its contrasting color, yellow. Lastly, remember that when mixing and matching with patterns, like often goes with like. Mix and match busy patterns or textures together (like florals and tassels) and linear patterns (like stripes and ruching) for that perfect look.
5. Frame your own artwork or photography and display it gallery-style
Maybe you’ve been painting for years, or maybe you took a photography elective last semester and ended up with a few prints you really love. Why not show them off? Create a gallery wall by framing your favorite artwork and arranging it over your desk for an inspiring workspace, or on a bare wall that needs a little love. Bonus: Command’s Picture Hanging Kit will make sure you get your dorm or apartment security deposit back come move-out time.
6. Don’t go crazy with the pop-culture posters
Pawing through poster sidewalk sales for a Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn poster is so freshman year. Instead, let native wall treatments in your room, like exposed brick walls or wood paneling show through. This gives your space character, which is a big ‘do’ in the Anthropologie design scheme. If your space is lacking in character, you can also experiment with temporary wallpapers. This pick from Betsey Johnson comes in cute prints and is specially made to come up mess-free at the end of the year.
7. Remember to shop small (businesses, that is)
One of the reasons why we love Anthropologie’s signature style so much is because many of their pieces look like they’re truly one of a kind. This is because the store contracts with smaller businesses to supply the little knick-knacks that make us drool over their style spreads. If you don’t feel like browsing pages and pages of products, head to the suppliers directly! Make sure to check out Rifle Paper Co. for the cutest stationary and odds and ends for your desk. Or, if your bath supplies need a little touch of luxe, head on over to Mullein & Sparrow for naturally-derived body oils, bar soaps and skin care that all come in flat lay-worthy packaging.
8. Don’t be afraid to buy a few things from Anthropologie!
While Anthro’s big-ticket items, like furniture and bedding sets, might be a little over your budget, the store has a great selection of decorative accessories that will dress up your space without destroying your wallet. Look for candles, stationary, even new dresser hardware to add those little touches to finish off your new space. And don’t forget to stay up to date on when the store is running sales—you can end up walking out the door with significantly discounted pieces that you also happen to love.
Curating your room to have that perfect bohemian flair takes a little bit of time and effort, but it’s possible to do without breaking the bank! Remember that it’s less about an expensive brand image and more about picking pieces that compliment a design aesthetic that you truly love.