Searching for savings with style

Sara Macho

Fashion-forward furniture can be found on a budget

Freshman visual communication design major Andrew Pitrone plays the piano he purchased at Goodwill. Students can purchase decor at Goodwill for a discounted price. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

This semester, forget the chunky steel futon, the wobbly plastic stackable shelves that don’t hold more than four nursing books and those brightly colored folding camping chairs that seem to adorn so many dorm rooms.

There is no need to cramp a hip decorating style with cheaply made, lackluster furniture when stores around the area are still stocked with college furniture essentials that are trendy, yet extremely affordable.

Whether it is urban contemporary or traditional chic, stores everywhere seem to be catering to the style-conscious, yet budget-weary student.

Filling the void

“With such small spaces, students want to spice up their rooms any way they can,” said Lindsay Daprile, executive team leader of guest experience at the Stow Target. “We are definitely a back-to-college store that caters to Kent State students.”

Along with Target, other stores such as the Kmart in Stow and the Wal-Mart in Ravenna are also carrying fashionable twists on the traditional futon, love seat and lounging chair.

Much of the traditional college must-haves are no longer needed, as many campus rooms already come equipped with mini-fridges, microwaves and loftable furniture, said Kmart Store Manager David York.

And because loftable furniture gives students extra space, students have the option of adding more personal touches to their dorm rooms including area rugs, bookshelves and couches.

Popular at Target this fall are Euro-style futons and couches, which combine a traditional look with an urban edge. Shoppers may also notice brighter shades such as eye-popping reds, blues and lime greens.

Students who don’t mind ordering online or driving an extra mile may find some hot deals at IKEA United States, a limited chain store with its closest branch in Pittsburgh. The savvy store carries an extremely wide variety of reasonably priced furniture, accessories and appliances.

Although the worldwide store caters to any age group, it may appeal to college-aged individuals because of its affordability.

“We offer stylish furniture and designs including modern, Scandinavian and traditional at incredible prices. We also flat pack our merchandise, which makes it easier to get home and for moving purposes,” said Jennifer Murdock, Pittsburgh IKEA public relations professional. “It’s a great place for college students to shop because we have products and designs that are ideal for small space living.”

Those interested in “techie” products may be attracted to one of Murdock’s top picks – a self-recording alarm clock that allows the user to set his or her own alarm.

“Forget the radio, leave the buzzer behind and wake up to your own message,” Murdock said.

Other popular IKEA products include mattresses, shelves, desks, bedding, artwork, media storage units, sofas and futons, Murdock said.

“We have hundreds of products that are ideal for college students in every department. The idea is that you can come to IKEA and buy everything you need to furnish your dorm or apartment under one roof,” Murdock said.

Shop IKEA online at or through the catalogue at 1-800-434-IKEA. Shipping prices may vary depending on the address and products purchased.

Secondhand finds

Another common outlet for stylish students who may be strapped for cash are thrift stores such as the Kent Goodwill and Einstein’s Attic downtown. Students seeking a “vintage” look may find exactly what they are looking for at these second-hand stores.

As if 50-cent items weren’t reasonable enough, Kent Goodwill also gives students a daily 10 percent discount with the wave of a student ID. Students can also obtain a frequent shopper card, which allows a 35 percent discount after 10 stamps are acquired, said Mary Lamovsky, key holder supervisor at Kent Goodwill.

“The secondhand things are of better quality,” Lamovsky added. “Everything’s high-end brands and not cheaply made.”

Andrew Pitrone, freshman visual communication design major, has recently purchased many decorative items at Goodwill including records, a record player, picture frames, coffee cups, posters and unusual musical instruments.

“I found a lapharp here for $3. If I went to Wal-Mart, it would be like $15,” Pitrone said.

Housemates Chris Krattiger, senior history major, and Jason VanAken, junior zoology major, have also furnished much of their North Lincoln Street home with odds and ends.

“It’s cheap, and if it breaks, it’s no big deal,” VanAken said.

So don’t go the whole semester living in a basic hole-in-the-wall residence hall room or bleak apartment when affordable furniture and unique accent pieces can be found from various discount stores throughout the area.

Contact features reporter Sara Macho at [email protected].