Dorm Tours

Plants and Thrift Finds Make This Couple’s College Apartment So Homey

published Sep 26, 2023
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Home Type
Apartment (off-campus)
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, USA
Square feet
Sq ft
White living room with with black couch, white table and black media center.
Credit: Madison Harrison

Moving from the dorms into an off-campus apartment is a huge step — especially when you’re taking it with a partner. Here’s how it’s going for Southern Illinois University student Madison Harrison, who took the leap just before the start of her senior year.

Credit: Madison Harrison
Lilola Home Linen Reversible Sleeper Sectional Sofa with Storage Chaise, $438.25, at Amazon; LACK white coffee table, $39.99, at IKEA (thrifted for $20); side table, thrifted for $6

Madison’s Space

What drew you to this apartment? I was drawn to the hardwood floors and timeless neutral walls. I specifically loved our countertop space — the stone is so pretty.

What’s your favorite element in this space? The large windows in the living room — the natural light has been phenomenal.

What’s your apartment best known for? It’s definitely a place to relax and unwind away from college life. That was a large transition that I loved — I went from a noisy dorm with so many people to a quiet apartment.

Credit: Madison Harrison

Madison’s Style

Define your personal home style: Modern, cozy, coastal. I was inspired by a lot of blues, tans, and neutrals. The coastal cowgirl trend was taking over the internet when we moved in, so that definitely made an impact on our decor choices.

What’s your proudest product hack? Using our TV stand as a dresser in the bedroom! We have all our tech and entertainment stuff on top of the stand, and we keep almost all of our clothes folded in the drawers.

Credit: Madison Harrison

Madison’s Budget

In an effort to remove the stigma associated with talking about money in college, we’re asking students to share how they plan and budget for their space.

How much does your housing cost per semester? $3,000.

What was your biggest splurge for your apartment? My bedding. For all of my sheets, comforter, decorative pillows, and throws, I spent approximately $120.

Best budget find? Our couch side table that holds our record player — it was $6 at a thrift shop.

Credit: Madison Harrison

Madison’s Advice

What was your biggest challenge creating this space? Because I was moving in with a partner, it was difficult to agree on decor. We overcame that by a lot of shopping and slowly building a collection of versatile pieces. As students with part-time jobs I would say budget played a huge role in our decor — we thrifted a lot of our items and utilized Facebook Marketplace.

Any other tips? Get a utility cart. I use a little rolling cart to store so many items and maximize our space.


This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

Madison Harrison

Dental Hygiene

Madison has a huge creative side and a love for decorating as a creative outlet. She is most excited to help others create a life and space they love during her time at Dorm Therapy. Starting college led her creative side to skyrocket, and she cannot wait to help others with projects, inspiration, and more. She loves creating videos on YouTube and TikTok.

Follow Madison
SchoolSouthern Illinois University of Carbondale '24
MajorDental Hygiene
FavesThrifting, dogs, plants, painting, reading, movie theaters
Get to know Madison Harrison
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