I completely understand that being a student usually means being poor, but some of these are inexpensive and sure to help your home evolve!
1. Frame posters
2. Put stuff on the walls!
In addition to framing your posters, try to get stuff up on the walls! It doesn't have to cost a lot of money (I have some frames from the dollar store with home printed photos!), but it sure does help a place look more finished.
A lot of landlords and dorms won't let you paint :(, but if you can it is a great way to freshen up a space for a little amount of money! Painted walls look cleaner and more stylish, no matter what crazy colour is your taste.
4. Wooden hangers
This one sounds silly, but matching wooden hangers (or really, any matching hangers!) look a lot more put together than the mishmash of wire hangers you stole from your childhood bedroom. I wish I could put wooden hangers in my closet, because I just love them, but I have too many clothes to fit them :)
5. Invest in some plants
I kill every plant I own, but I can't deny they make my place look so much fresher and nice. They give off a "I live well here" vibe vs the temporary feeling of a dorm room. If you have a black thumb, get some good imitation plants
6. Invest in coordinated furnature
When I lived off campus, I was happy with any furniture that happened to land in my lap. But now that I am grown up and on my own, I have started taking the time to pick pieces that go well with eachother and look good together. My place looks really pulled together now! If you can't afford new furniture (what? you didn't win the lottery??), then try updating the hardware on your existing furniture to either match, or look more upscale. You could even paint or restain old pieces to help them fit in. Try to eliminate plastic or cardboard furniture (yes, I had a cardboard bedside table in University- don't judge!)
7. Get some real art
I fail in this area, but I think that supporting local artists is awesome and you end up with some beautiful, unique pieces for your home as compared to what you found at the discount bin at Home Sense. You can always mix and match your store boughts and hand painted pieces! You can scour local art and photo galleries, or even put up works by you and people you know.
8. Get matching or coordinating plates
9. Add drapes and blinds
As a student, you may have had a sheet tacked up over your window to allow you to sleep through an entire Saturday. But now is the time to hang some real curtains to frame your windows and let light into your home! I find rooms look much more "finished" when they have proper window treatments up.
10. Buy good sheets
So there you go- a few tips to tricking people into believing you are a grown-up ;). It also helps to hide the Kraft Dinner and candy stash!