The New York Times has an article out today about home decor on the cheap. The headline is “Thinking Like a Student.” Woah, is it a (mostly) misguided little bit of journalism.

The article is a collection of small pieces about how various students—-in architecture and art programs, for the most part—-decorated their dwellings on meager budgets. The front page of the Home section has a few photos of their supposedly great examples of quirky, but inexpensive design. Take a quick glance, and you think Oh that’s sort of sweet and original. Take a longer look, and you think No, no, no—-thumbtacking foam vegetable trays up on your wall is not such a good idea.

It’s interesting to see what these people came up with. But most of the time, the design on the cheap still looks cheap. And if that’s the case, how successful is it really?

Beyond the little vegetable tray collage, the article features a bed frame of stacked honeycomb cardboard, a bench made of cinder-blocks, green wall paint (oooooh innovative), and my favorite: a chandelier constructed with 60 white plastic bags over five bulbs.

The chandelier’s designer is Tyler Velten, a second-year architecture student at Yale. The article promises that “a wire-mesh basket around each bulb keeps the chandelier from melting into a gooey blob or bursting into flames.” Well, let’s hope. But, if your neighbors come home one day to see their apartment building smoldering, I say you’re going to have some tough questions to answer Velton.