This Howard Senior Gave Her Off-Campus Apartment Its Own Content Studio
Howard University journalism student Makenna Underwood gives the scoop on her off-campus space that doubles as a content creation studio.
How did you end up here? I applied for housing and was eventually placed in this two-bedroom apartment that I share with a roommate. It worked out for me because it had more room than the dorms and I was excited to get a sense of independence the dorms don’t offer.
What drew you to this apartment? I was excited to see that my room had a closet with a mirror attached to it, because I had always wanted that feature when I was a kid. My room came furnished with a desk, dresser, and full-size bed, so all I really needed to do was decorate and personalize it.
Define your personal home style: I grew up loving the maximalist style as a kid. I used to love patterns, lots of textures, and vibrant colors, but now I’m the opposite. I love minimalism, so I wanted my room to reflect that. I like neutral and earth tones: Brown, tan, black, and white are a must for me because they go with everything. I am chronically online, so I use Pinterest and TikTok to get inspo for my dorm, but I prefer to keep all my decorations to this neutral color scheme because I know they’re timeless. Whether I have my decorations today or five years from now, I want to make sure my room is the right balance of timeless and on-trend.
What’s your favorite element of your space? My content corner. I’m a content creator, so I wanted to allot some space to make a nice background to film my content. I put my ring light, tripod, and clothing rack in this space. To fill some of the black wall behind the clothing rack, I added some black and white wall pictures for a little personality. In my free time, I love to shop and create try-on haul videos, so I knew this space would be perfect to display my new fashion finds.
Proudest DIY? I’m so proud of my DIY wall paintings. I saw a Pinterest video where someone bought a canvas and black paint and created abstract wall art for their living room. I immediately purchased a small canvas kit from Amazon for around $30 and had a painting session at 4 a.m. The experience was soothing for me, as art therapy is something I rarely get to do. I found this project so fulfilling because the end result was just what I wanted, and I had the opportunity to tap into my creative side. It felt like a form of self-care!
What is your space best known for? My space is best known for “homie talks,” which is an inside joke within my friend group. We get together at my apartment and share what’s been going on in our lives since we’ve last seen each other. Here, we eat snacks, watch movies, and just catch up.
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 did it cost to decorate your space? Around $400, as I didn’t have to make a ton of big furniture purchases.
What was your biggest splurge for this space and how much did it cost? My clothing rack, which was around $55.
What was your best budget find for this space and how much did it cost? My pillows from Five Below, which were around $5 each.
What was your biggest challenge in creating this space and how did you overcome it? My biggest challenge was making sure my room looked nice on a tight budget, since I fund my own college experience. As a creator, I knew I’d be spending the majority of my semesters inside creating content, so it was essential to make the space personal to me and conducive to my career path while not breaking the bank. I shopped at Walmart, Target, Amazon, SHEIN, and Five Below for my favorite pieces.
Also, my room does not have a pleasant view (all I can see are trees and other people’s rooms), so I got a sunset lamp to give my room some much-needed light. For anyone who has a tight budget and a less-than-desirable view, I suggest shopping within your means and investing a little into your space with every paycheck.
How do you stay organized? I suggest investing in closet organizers, bathroom organizers, and space-saving hangers to maximize your space.
What’s your biggest takeaway from decorating your space? It’s important to remember that you will be living in your space, so there’s no need to impress anyone else.
This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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