8 Tips for Decorating your Dorm Room on a Dime

Ah! The smell of freshly sharpened pencils and plastic wrapped textbooks is upon us. 

College freshmeat; get ready for a whirlwind of a year as you head back to school. Maybe you chose to room with your childhood friend or went potluck. Regardless of your bunkmate, you'll soon be sharing a blank-slate dorm with them. Now it's time to adorn that space.

Ladies especially get giddy when using Bed Bath and Beyond free shipping codes, to purchase mini-stainless fridge, coordinating desk, and comforter.  Adorning a room need not incur your father's wrath. Be smart about outfitting and you can get a study-ready haven for less.

1. Know your limitations. Have an accurate measure of the space you'll be living in and ask if the bedding style is a regular or extra long twin. Measure all spaces precisely if you plan on buying any electronics or a desk.  Some schools prohibit the use of candles or halogen lamps--know before you buy.

2. Chic storage. If you're short on cash, buy milk crates and spray paint them a coordinating color for an attractive and cheap option.  Score cinder blocks and several 2"X4" wood planks from the home improvement store, like Home Depot, spray paint them, and layer for bookshelves.

3. Wall wonders.  Head to the thrift store to look for faux vintage tins or a large map for an old world feel.  Sarongs also make fun, cheap wall hangings for a bright beachy motif.  My personal favorite (especially if you have a bunk setup) are large bulb Christmas lights draped across the room.

4. Divide the space.  You may love your roommate, but at some point in the near future you will want some space to your own.  Depending on the dorm layout, you may be able to put up a curtained divider to preserve privacy.  

5. Check out Ikea.  If you are fortunate enough to live near one, it's definitely worth a visit for cheap and sheik design on a dime. If not, the additional shipping costs are reasonable.  Prices can't be beat for all home products from affordable futons and bedding to curtains and bath accessories.  Ikea has the best selection of dorm-like goodies to choose from for far less than traditional retailers.

5. Get a message board.  Don't buy a framed wipe board from the office products store. Use Home Depot free shipping codes to buy a shower board.  Hang it in a place that's easy to read so you can swap messages with your roommate.  Buy wipe board cleaner or use acetone to erase dark marks.  

6. Double duty items.  Rather than purchase another chair or bean bag for additional seating, get several throw pillows, large and small, to toss on the bed.  Guests can use the bed as a couch or lounge on the floor.  My favorite place for cheap pillows is Tuesday Morning.

7. Plan to organize.  Space is at a premium in 300 sq. feet.  Hike the bed on cement blocks if you need a few more inches of storage.  Use collapsible fabric boxes for an attractive, uniform look that won't cost a lot.  For a super tight budget, check out Craig's List swap or free category for plastic containers.  Invest in some type of closet organization to maximize space for your shoes and clothing.  If a store is going out of business, they often sell hooks and organizers at deep discounts.

8. It's not for long. Most importantly, keep in mind that you'll only inhabit the space for maybe eight months before moving on to another room or into an apartment.  Do your best to make it a comfortable space, but that freshman year will come to a close before you know it.

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11 Comments

Thanks so much for sharing! There are many ways to decorate your dorm on a dime.
Posted by Furnish 123
I like your ideas. I think creating a great space can be very affordable if you have a good imagination! There is a LOT of selection out there!
Posted by Guest
I have a teenager who just moved into a dorm and these ideas would be perfect for her dorm improvements.
Posted by mike
Great tips for college student who spend a great time in dorm.
Posted by Mono Pumps
Don't forget a small safe that can safely store credit cards and sensitive information. Place in an inconspicuous spot. Identity theft is more prevalent than ever!
Posted by Sam
Interesting information. I see how that is possible lol. Thanks for the interesting article.
Posted by deals4life
Good tips, wish I had read something like this when my freshman year. Also, another great place online to pick up some really good deals is ebay.
Posted by shampoo body wash
Good brief! Your post will help those who need to organize their dorm room. I was reminded of my daughter who had also lived in the dorms, and some things in your list are also the same as she did at the time.
Posted by Tom Yates
Buying a bed spread in primary colors give you many accessory choices. You can change up your accessories a little each school year without spending alot. A quality quilt will last you for many years and save you money in the long run. We have many to choose from at Kids Bedding Depot.
Posted by Tammy the Children's Bedding Expert
Oh amazing post! The ideas discussed about decorating or turning your room into a fully furnished room with the hrlp of some aspects . The idea to divide the room for privacy with the help of curtain , has been magnificent.
Posted by Cook

There are some great tips here guys. I think the main problem for people is their ability to make the most out of the space that they have. Generally you see most closets as a big hole for people to dump their stuff in. I have used the tips you mentioned here many times, but if your closet is not designed well to fit all your stuff in, maybe it’s time to get the experts to look at it and sort out a storage space that actually works. That’s what I did with Closet and Storage Concepts. They expanded the closet a bit more and customized the organization to our needs. Pretty awesome, really. No more organizing hassles for us! C


Posted by C