Before you shop, sit down with roommates to come up with a plan, research prices, and work out your own budget. (Remember: if you’re splitting the costs, it’ll be hard to decide who gets what when moving.) Then hit the shops for cheap treasures.
Big box stores
Target (in downtown and on the Atlanta Freeway) and TJ Maxx (in the Beechwood Mall) have long been staples of college decor. Find chic bedding and lamps at great prices, as well as often-overlooked items like wastebaskets, laundry hampers and kitchen utensils. At TJ Maxx, land deals on designer items and get extras like picture frames.
The Swedish mega-retailer’s closest location is in Atlanta, but college students often huddle to buy big-ticket items at acceptable prices, like the minimalist Malm bed frame ($279 for a queen) and versatile Lack tables. , which come in a range of sizes and start at $9.99.
This downtown shop is aimed at students looking for a colorful and fun atmosphere. Embroidered poufs and pillows abound, some with sassy sayings like “Pardon My French” ($48). Luxury bedding, wall art and mirrors complete the offering.
Metal + Petal
It’s not a dormitory; Metal + Petal is a high-end interior design house. But the company’s retail store on Baxter offers home accessories for small, big-impact splurges. Check out the velvet throw pillows (from $24), accent rugs (from $28) and cheeky art prints (from $16). Also find plants, beautiful books and kitchen utensils.
Bed frames, pots and pans, lamps and tables are fun to spare and there’s no shortage of deals. Visit one of two Habitat for Humanity stores in the Athens area (where you can find new and used parts up to 90% off retail price to benefit affordable housing initiatives), Goodwill or America’s Thrift Store. For garage sales and curbside scraps, try the side streets of Milledge and Boulevard, especially at the end of semester. Facebook Marketplace is another place to search locally for used items.
This national retailer in a historic downtown storefront inspires a modern take on the boho glam vibe. Find vintage-style furniture, colorful ceramics and dreamy bedding, but also prices that are often beyond the reach of a student’s budget. For a semi-secret selection, gather a group and split the cost with the regional outlet, Final Cut Georgia, a two-hour drive near Augusta. Recent finds include deep discounts on an iridescent headboard and rattan hanging chair.
Scoring a cool piece with history for a good price always feels like a win. Favorite local vintage and antique stores include Athens Antique & Vintage (for great old-fashioned tables), Lexington Vintage (great kitchen utensils, wall art and records), Simply Old in Watkinsville (deals on genuine antiques) and Junk in the Trunk (a 10,000 square foot hoard from 80 vendors).