Get your cheap on

Can’t afford any Picassos to adorn your dorm room? Can’t even afford the $9.99 shipping and handling for that 1 cent Picasso print being auctioned off on eBay? Don’t fret — you can keep yourself out of white cinder block hell without breaking the bank. Try a few of the ideas below.

Make a postcard wall. Get all your friends to send you postcards from their hometowns or vacation spots and create a globe-trotting display.

Get festive. Raid Target after Christmas to get ridiculously cheap lights and wacky ornaments that will look totally sweet year-round.

Raid the toy box. Poke around in the attic the next time you’re home and pick out some of your most awesome toys or childhood art. Why not let Spiderman hold one of your favorite photos, or else line a shelf with trolls?

Go for a theme. If you and your roommate can agree on one thing you like — the beach, Paris, robots, vampires — why not go for a theme decoration? If you’re both into the beach, find some shells, invest in a couple leis and fake palm tree posters from the party store, and go wild.

Hit up the color printer. Instead of buying posters of your favorite paintings, print a couple out in a cluster near you (CFA or the fourth floor of Hunt Library).

Make a collage. Rescue some magazines and newspapers from the recycling bin, cut out anything that looks cool, and glue it down. Make a whole collection of eyes to put near the fridge to make sure your roomie doesn’t steal your milk, or put Bush’s head on Britney’s body. Or, make some angst-filled poetry cut from newspaper headlines. (Post-Gazettes, of course, not Tartans.)

Make your own paper cutout wall art. Get your Matisse on. Invest in a pack of construction paper and cut out some shapes, then slap them on the wall with a little Scotch tape. Cover your walls with flowers, cityscapes, stormtroopers — whatever tickles your fancy.

Frame things that aren’t paintings. Save old scraps of fabric and wrapping paper, then just grab a couple frames from Goodwill, and voilà! Instant art.

Light it up. A colorful lantern or two will cut right through life-sucking fluorescent lights. You can find some at thrift stores or at Target, and if the lanterns you find aren’t colorful enough, help them out by gluing on cut paper, pressed leaves, or pictures from magazines.

Art: D.I.Y. Look for old canvasses at yard sales before the weather gets cold and buy a couple tubes of paint from the art store. You don’t have to be an artistic genius — just swirl a couple colors you like together and you’ll have something nice to look at.

Make a paper chain. Cut up some colorful paper and tape each strip into a ring. If you’re feeling symbolic you can even write some kind of message on each link of the chain. Or, make one ring for each school day in the semester and rip one off each day. Hang your completed chain around your window or bed.

Read the funnies. Cut out all your favorite comic strips and make a funny wall to cheer you up during those long nights when it’s just you and biochem.

Now, go forth and be creative!