Consider customer service when choosing where to spend your money

JCPenney Logo

This image was taken from Google Images

One lesson I have learned during my college experience is how to save money and decorate. I enjoy doing both, and the two go hand in hand. When looking for affordable decor, I want to purchase decorations at a department store where I can save money and find trendy items at prices that fit my budget. JCPenney is the perfect store for me.

I used to work at a JCPenney store, and I have had the opportunity to see the new store branding prosper. JCPenney is taking advantage of “fair and square” pricing that gives the customer the low-price on the tag. It also lowers prices throughout the month; therefore, I don’t have to worry about forgetting my coupons at home anymore.

The department store has several departments throughout the store. One of my favorite departments is the home department. It has decor that fits my personality as well as my age. It also carriers towels, lamps and other home necessities that will transform your dorm room or apartment into a modern living space that feels like home.

JCPenney inside of the store

This image was taken from Google Images

JCPenney cares about its customers. The store offers a chance to win a $500 gift card on customers’ receipts through its online survey. The survey enables customers to tell management and employees how they want to be treated while shopping at JCPenney. The survey shows that JCPenney values the customers’ experience, and it will strive to make the experience as pleasant as possible. The survey shows that the company is actually listening. JCPenney management also provides a worthy incentive for customers when they provide their insight.

JCPenney is a store that is taking advantage of public relations strategies by revamping its image with customers in its best interest. The next time you are searching for affordable decor, consider JCPenney.

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Going beyond your budget for more than decor: Realtionship building

Do you have a decor weakness? I am all about saving money, but I have to admit there are times when I can’t resist, and I will spend more for decor. Only a couple stores can make me break my budget, and that is because these stores care about their customers. This week’s post focuses on decor stores that may be more pricey than we may like, but their relationship building keeps bringing us back.

Decor Store Bed, Bath and Beyond

This image was taken from Google Images.

Bed Bath & Beyond is one of my favorite stores because it carries trendy decor items, for any room in your living space. This decor store also carries decor items that are targeted for college students as well. Check out this shower curtain. This is a modern shower curtain that will set your bathroom apart from your friends, and it’s fun and different.

Bed Bath & Beyond does an excellent job of showing its customers that we matter through Facebook. As Dynamic Business explains its article, The social media challenges every business must overcome, it’s necessary for businesses to understand how to communicate to build relationships through social media, and Bed Bath & Beyond is taking advantage of these online tools. The company takes the time to monitor what its fans are saying about its products by clearing up concerns and posting ‘likes’ to customer comments. What I love about this store is it even has a college tab on its Facebook page, which gives students the opportunity to learn more about decorating their living spaces.

As you may know, I love candles, so it only makes sense that I will spend extra money in Yankee Candle.

Display of Yankee Candles

This image was taken from Google Images.

I love this candle store because it provides its customers with reliable products that won’t let them down. I burn my candles for hours, and the aroma fills the room, leaving my dining room smelling like cupcakes. For this reason, I think the social media team at Yankee Candle may not post frequently on Facebook and other social platforms because the company’s fans are doing all of the communicating for the company. What do you think? For some companies do the products just speak for themselves? For Yankee Candle, I think so.

Yankee Candle’s Facebook page has a  questions section where fans can give their input on products and sales, as well as submit questions. This feature reinforces that the company is engaging with its fans and building relationships.

Do you have a certain decor item that you will go beyond your budget to display in your home? I’m interested in new decor tips as well. It may be hard to top Yankee Candle and Bed Bath & Beyond, but after all we live in a online world that is all about sharing, so let’s collaborate on the best decor deals that will keep our living spaces looking lavish for less with a couple splurges here and there.

St. Patrick’s Day Decorating

One part about holidays that makes me smile is the opportunity to decorate in the specific holiday’s theme. Holiday decorating is refreshing for me. St. Patrick’s Day approaching, and I think it’s necessary to get a jump start on affordable decor ideas for a college living space, so searched for ideas that are suitable for students.

Happy St. Paddy's Day

This image was taken from Google Images.

When I think of St. Patrick’s Day one of the first thoughts that come to mind is the color green, so I found cheap ideas that bring out the color in all of the decor. One of my earlier posts, Add to what you have, discusses the importance of taking advantage of decor you currently have. It’s a huge money saver. Better Homes and Gardens highlights this tip with one of its “Irish-Inspired St. Patrick’s Day Decor.” The use of the vases with green bulbs is a simple idea, but looks powerful and festive. The vases appear to be filled with bulbs that were once on a Christmas tree. I love this idea because it gives the decorator another opportunity to use holiday decor and consider after Christmas sales. Christmas only comes once a year, but the bulbs can be used all-year-round. Also, this idea takes advantage of vases. Vases aren’t only for flowers. I have a vase on my dining room table that I use for flowers, but for this month I am going to remove the flowers and fill the vase with green bulbs for the holiday.

Jessica Leigh contributes tips on cheap holiday decor by making sham rocks from Valentine’s Day clearance. This is perfect for a college student like me. I like decorating, but I have other expenses such as books. Decorating on a budget is my motto, so her explanation of how to make St. Patrick’s Day wall decor in a few quick simple steps is caught my eye.

Last on the list of St. Patty’s Day decor is dessert. When I go into a grocery store, and I see sham rock sugar cookies or green iced cupcakes, I get a little butterfly in my stomach. Oh, how I love food explains my love for food and the importance of making it part of the decor for parties or holidays. Betty Crocker shares several St. Patrick’s Day dessert recipes, but the Leprechaun Hat Cookies stood out to me because they are festive and take about an hour to prepare. I enjoy inviting company to my home, and providing a small dessert is a small gesture to help make them feel at home away from home. Betty Crocker offers several other holiday treat recipes.

St. Patrick's Day decor with lucky picture frame, green candle and sharmocks

This image was taken from Google Images.

This St. Patty’s Day, consider decorating your living space to coordinate with the holiday. To display lavish decor, you don’t have to pay more.

Oh, how I love food

There is something about food that brings people together, whether it be at the dinner table or a dinner party. Food is certainly an effective strategy to use to catch up with friends. College keeps me pretty busy; therefore, when I have the opportunity to spend time with friends, it’s over dinner, lunch or coffee. In previous posts, I have focused on cheap, everyday decor I display in my home. I want to stray away from that type of advice this week to center my attention more toward parties and getting together with friends in your living space.

Food can be decorative too, as long as the cook or decorator displays the meal or pastries in a decorative fashion. The best way to describe food decor is to decorate your kitchen or dining room, which space suits you best, in a the theme if your meal or dessert selection. For example, if you are having your friends over for pastries and coffee, it would be suitable to dress your space in setting that reflects a cafe. When I think of a cafe, I think of the color brown, and a relaxing atmosphere.

What I love about food is displaying it. The second best part about food is looking at it. Eating food is first. For displaying its necessary to take advantage of trays. Trays are a useful tool because they come in different sizes, shapes and colors. Several visual options can make something as small as cupcakes stand out to the eye. Varying tray type can create an appealing visual for ay dinner party or get-together. Several store chains carry trays, such as Hobby Lobby and Target. If you are interested in college friendly desserts visit Confessions of a College Cook. Taylor provides recipe tips that are easy to make for college students including dinner, and appetizer options to go along with dessert.

Another easy, cheap college decor tip and takes five minutes to put together is a candy dish. I love candy dishes because I love candy and decorating. A candy dish is a perfect item to fill that void when I missing something for my dinning room table. When I’m not expecting company, such as my mom, a candy dish is my rock. The candy dish holds my mom over or any other guest I may have until I have time to prepare an appetizer or meal. Candy is available anytime, and it’s especially festive during any holiday, whether it be Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. I like to buy candy dishes that reflect the holidays. It is a small item that makes a living space seem inviting. Candy dishes are extremely affordable. Dollar stores are your best friend for this item. In total it costs about $5 to invite friends into your home with candy. It costs about $3 for a typical bag a candy and $2 for a candy dish.

The last portion of my food decor discussion is a punch bowl. During a small party, make the punch bowl the center of attention. People will get thirsty as they continue to eat, so keep liquids in reach. Punches are usually visual anyway because they are colorful and contain fruit or sherbert. Punches are fun drinks. I enjoy trying punches, so decorate your table with you punch bowl and accessories.

1. Place small cups around the bowl.

2. Place a medium size stack of napkins near the bowl. (Punch is messy).

3. Sprinkle confetti around the punch bowl. Try to choose a color that corresponds with the color of the punch.

Decorating stretches beyond the typical everyday decor. If you love to entertain your friends and family, consider some of my food decor tips. They are quick and easy, but most importantly they won’t leave  your pockets empty. Enjoy decorating.

Accessorize

Occasionally my outfits need something extra, so I add an accessory or two. When putting together dress attire,I normally add a scarf of pair or earrings to make my coordinate better and stand out.How does this small conversation about accessories tie into decorating? Decorating is about accessorizing. This week’s post is focused on cheap household accessories that transform a room into a visual masterpiece.

Like outfits, rooms don’t need an overload of accessories. My bathroom, which is still a work in progress, has one item other than the shower curtain that makes it stand out, and that is my black and silver toothbrush holder. My bathroom is decorated in black and white to match the shower curtain. I added two black rugs to bring the black out in the bathroom. I am still looking for suggestions to decorate the bathroom. My toothbrush holder contributes to the room, but  it needs something more. Feel free to give some advice. Affordable decor suggestions are valued and appreciated.

Moving from the bathroom to the kitchen. As I mentioned last week, my apartment is small. The kitchen is one of the smallest rooms in the apartment. When I say small, I mean small. Only two people can fit in it comfortably. I like simplicity. It’s cheaper. The less decorations you purchase the more money you save. My favorite part of decorating is using items I currently own. The kitchen’s accessories are appliances. It’s funny to because I use the toaster, electric can opener and coffee pot more for display than their actual uses. Sorry mom. It’s a money saving strategy and appropriate for the room. If you are looking for an extra appliance to add to your collection or if you are interested in starting an appliance display take a look around Walmart. This store has several brands to choose from at prices a college student can afford.

Now let’s move into the final room of topic for this week. The living room. One of the major accessories in my apartment is my television. My Dynex television is 42 inches, and it looks big in my apartment. The bigger the better. I used to have a 19 inch television. I must say this is an upgrade not only for watching my favorite sitcoms, but for the visual of my living room. Size matters. My friends made fun of my old television. They compared it to it as a computer screen. This new accessory has improved my desire to watch my favorite sitcoms and the look of my living room.  You may be thinking how can this be cheap? The answer Best Buy. The electronics store offers sales on several TV. Or take advantage or your boyfriend, girlfriend or parents and ask for Christmas or your birthday. That is the cheapest way.

Accessorize. It makes decorating easier because essentially accessorizing is decorating. Look around your dorm or apartment. There may be items in our closet that can come to good use. Instead of filing them away or throwing them away, put them on display.

Candles are decorations too

I must say when I moved into my apartment, I thought it would be a piece of cake to decorate because it was small. I didn’t think I would need many decorations, and I am not an individual who likes clutter anyway. I am a firm believer that a little can go a long way, but enough with the cliches. Let’s get into the topic of the week, one of my favorite pieces of accent decor—candles.

A little bit a wax can make a college apartment look sheik. I love my candles. It’s relieving to go home after a long day on campus running from class to class and burn a candle while sitting on the couch reading or watching TV. A photo in Add to what you have reveals my love for candles, with two of my smaller M&M scented candles sitting on one of my end tables.

Not only do candles relax me and smell fresh, but they save me when I am in a decorating slump. As I said my apartment is small, I thought not one area would be bare. After a long couple of days of decorating, the only area of my house that was bare was this area right here.

Yes it looks like a minor problem, but I wanted something that would make my apartment look beautiful and feel like home. I wanted my dining room to look as close to a room on HGTV, and I had to decorate it on a college student’s budget. The three following reasons further highlight why candles serve as excellent decor:

• Candles are cheap, so I can afford them.
• Candles come in different sizes, so I will have different options to create an appealing visual.
• Candles complement other decor well, so I can place them next to several types of accent decor.

So about $25 later, this is what I came up with display below, but these candles aren’t for burning.

The process was quick too. I bought the brown candle holders at T.J. Maxx, and I bought the candles and plates at Walmart. The plates add an extra visual accent, as well as, height. I chose the brown candle holders and vanilla candles to match the wall decor in the dining room, which displays strong, inspirational words—believe, dream, imagine, faith, hope and love. These words represent my decorating process. The Inspired Room provides information about wall decor and several ideas that involve different types of items if you are looking to decorate or redecorate your walls. Below are my pieces of inspiration that inspired my dining room decorating process.

• I believed in my ideas.
• I dreamed about the final result.
• I imagined different decor ideas.
• I had faith that I could decorate without the help of my mom.
• I hoped it would look how I visualized.
• I love looking into my dining room.

Find inspiration in your decorating process. One lesson I have learned throughout this first apartment decorating project is if I use my imagination, creative ideas come natural whether it be a big idea or small, such as my candle project.

Add to what you have

Furnishing an apartment or dorm room is not cheap. With the current economic situation, it’s necessary to watch your spending habits and find ways to stretch your dollars. One of the best ways is to add to the furniture or decor you currently have. This post highlights three affordable tips that can make older furniture look just as attractive as when it was purchased.

A little goes a long way

Throw pillows make older pieces of furniture such as a futon or older couch look modern and vibrant. Throw pillows come in all sizes, shapes and colors, so get creative with them. Several stores carry interesting throw pillows at affordable prices such as Big Lots.

Color coordinating is necessary to consider when choosing throw pillows to look presentable in your living space. Choose throw pillows that are the same color or match the wall decor in your college space. Two pillows should be used a minimum, but adding several more to cover the futon or couch is acceptable too. If more than two throw pillows are used, make sure to add an additional color to make your furniture more appealing to the eye.

Accept Gifts

As you transition to your new living space, family members most likely will want to help. Mom’s are good at finding old decor in the garage and passing it along to you. To avoid being rude, accept the gift. It may be outdated and dusty, but a little TLC can fix that up in a matter of three steps.

  1. Step 1: Choose a new color for the lamp frame.
  2. Step 2: Spray paint the lamp.
  3. Step 3: Attach a matching a lamp shade to the lamp.

Focus on Flowers

One minor decorating tip that may add color to the kitchen or dining room  is placing a flower vase on the table. Vases are available at major store chains such as Target and even dollar stores. The vase may be filled with artificial flowers or real flowers to bring out the colors in the room or to highlight the seasons throughout the year. This small project is enjoyable because it doesn’t have to constantly look the same. You have the option to always change the type of flowers in the vase because this idea is extremely affordable. I like to decorate according to season, so I enjoy having the option to continually change the flowers in my vase.

Decorating for less can be fun. It helps save money, and it enables you to create ideas that make the living space individual. It’s exciting to have a space to be proud of, knowing extra time and though went into it, not extra cash.`