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Decorating Your Dorm Room on the Cheap

Updated on July 26, 2019
lindacee profile image

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

Decorate your dorm room with accessories that express your personality.
Decorate your dorm room with accessories that express your personality. | Source

Are you ready for the fall semester move-in day? It’s right around the corner so you better get that party started! But how can you get excited at the thought of another bland and boring dorm room?

Don’t fret—even the ugliest dorm room on the planet can be transformed into something hip and stylish with a few cheap designer fixes. Whether you’re a complete newbie or gearing up for your senior year these awesome decorating ideas will definitely brighten your space and make your dorm mates totally jealous.

The Bed

You obviously want your bed to be the focal point of the room simply because it's the single largest piece of furniture in the space. Have fun with your bedding. Buy a couple of cheap and colorful bed-in-a-bag sets and do a mix and match thing.

Create several distinct looks by using different combinations of separate coordinated bedding pieces. Don’t forget comfort. If you're going to splurge, make sure you spend a bit more on bed pillows and sheets.

It is easy to get a coordinated bed set whether it's in a bag or separates.
It is easy to get a coordinated bed set whether it's in a bag or separates. | Source

Inexpensive Artwork

Find an inexpensive close-out coffee table art book from your local bookseller. Remove the pages and frame them to create a sophisticated gallery wall.

If you don't want to damage the dorm walls purchase removable decals to give it a stylish look. These fashion forward decals will make your room the coolest one on the residence floor.

Another idea is to display your signature monogram on the wall above your bed. Big box craft stores have inexpensive, large wooden letters that can be painted or decoupaged.

Create several colorful pinboards for easy and cheap wall decor.
Create several colorful pinboards for easy and cheap wall decor. | Source

Desk Organization

Keeping desk clutter to a minimum will up the style quotient in your dorm room. Keep overflow items and files in a rolling cart that fits neatly beside or under your desk. Corral small items like pens, pencils, USB flash drives, tape, clips, scissors and rulers in small plastic bins on your desktop or hanging wall containers to keep them within easy reach.

This is a great way to organize by hanging storage on the wall above your desk.
This is a great way to organize by hanging storage on the wall above your desk. | Source

Lighting

Proper lighting for study and computer work is critical. Chances are your dorm room comes with a flush-mounted ceiling fixture. Add a task light to your desk, a wall sconce or floor lamp for reading in bed. Don't forget to string twinkle lights along the wall to add personality and impart a subtle warm glow.

Twinkle lights add a nice mood after finishing your homework.
Twinkle lights add a nice mood after finishing your homework. | Source

Windows and Floors

Installing curtain rods is most likely a no-no but that shouldn’t stop you from adorning the windows with DIY curtains. Use dyed canvas drop cloths to block light or a few yards of gauzy cotton will work wonders to visually soften the window frames.

Either way, fabric dresses up the space and makes it feel more homey, comforting and welcoming. Hang them with a tension rod inside the window frame or tack them above with upholstery tacks or finishing nails and tie them back during the day with pretty ribbons. When you move out, simply fill in the tiny holes with spackle.

Hit up your local home improvement center or discount store for an area rug to counteract that cold tile floor. Look for back-to-college bins filled with special purchase area rugs They're much cheaper than regular stock and special order rugs. You'll definitely appreciate its warmth and softness underfoot. Choose one that coordinates with your bedding, artwork and window treatments.

Curtains and area rugs soften glaring windows and hard floors.
Curtains and area rugs soften glaring windows and hard floors. | Source

Plant Life

If you have enough natural light in the room live plants add vitality to your dorm room. Plants make you feel good, create calm and help purify the air. Right now terrariums are hot and take up very little space and require minimal maintenance. If you have a totally brown thumb consider growing air plants that don’t need any soil and minimal water.

Air plants add greenery, are super cute and they don't take much care.
Air plants add greenery, are super cute and they don't take much care. | Source

9 Dorm Room Ideas

  1. Personalize the room with your favorite decorative accessories.
  2. Try to coordinate the room with your roommate.
  3. Don't forget to bring your desk light and create soft lighting.
  4. Make your bed into your very own sanctuary.
  5. Use removable wall decals to brighten up those bland walls.
  6. Add lifts to the bed legs to create extra storage space underneath.
  7. Keep the clutter at bay by purchasing organizational items.
  8. Bring in multipurpose furniture like a storage ottoman.
  9. Make your dorm room your home away from home.

© 2019 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      8 months ago from Arizona

      Sunshine Tibod, glad you like these ideas. Your new place will be beautiful!

    • Shing Araya profile image

      Shing Araya 

      8 months ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is helpful to me especially now that I am moving to a new place..thanks

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      8 months ago from Arizona

      Back in the day we didn't do much decorating in our dorm rooms. Now college kids today are really into trendy decor to make it into their individual space. Glad you liked the tips, Liz!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      8 months ago from UK

      I could have done with reading this article before I went to university. I noticed how my kids put their own print on their rooms at university when they were there. You have included some great tips.

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