Leaving college can seem like a big step. Say goodbye to all-nighters, wild parties, and crowded dorm rooms. Entering grad school with all of the knowledge you gained in undergrad gives you a massive head start, because instead of focusing on the social, you can apply what you learned about how to learn in undergrad and get right down to it.

But, some things never change. Chances are you’ll be as broke as you were before you got to grad school — especially since the extra academic workload leaves little time for a side job. And, grad student housing is likely to be the same as undergrad off campus options.

But, that doesn’t mean your lifestyle has to stay the same. As you embark on this new stage of your life, it’s important to bring your surroundings along for the ride. Here are some suggestions for how to upgrade your home to be as sophisticated as you are:

Frame It
Gone are the days where all your wall decor is tacked or taped up to the walls of campus housing. You’ll be surprised by how much better and more put together your whole house looks when your art and posters are framed and properly hung. Not only that, but it will protect your prices for much longer, and also protect your walls. Peeling paint can cut into your security deposit — it’s important to assess existing damage before you move in, and take pictures of it so you won’t be liable at moving time. For cheap rustic and vintage frames, check out thrift stores and junk shops, which will give your house even more of a unique look.

Grow It
In addition to frames, another great way to instantly improve an indoor space is to include living things in it. There are many plants that thrive indoors — consider starting a windowsill herb garden if you like to cook. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, invest in some succulents or cacti, which are near impossible to kill. Some house plants, like spider and snake plants, are known to purify the air and elevate the mood of student rentals.

Throw It
One of the hallmarks of college living is definitely piles… piles of laundry, piles of beer cans, and piles of pizza boxes. Now that you are studying for an advanced degree, it might be time to get rid of those piles. You might be too busy to do any real cleaning, but your house will be infinitely more tidy and calm if you make it a point to keep the piles down to a bare minimum. It might also be a good idea to do some thorough cleaning out of your belongings, freeing up closet and shelf space for a serene vibe. All the better to study in your grad student housing!

Many college students move to off campus apartments for increased privacy, and now that you’re in grad student housing, it’s a great time to enhance your personal space. As always, budget for extra costs when it comes to moving off campus, but most of all, enjoy your home!