Decorating a Dorm Room on the Cheap

Are you ready for 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 dorm room designer fixes. Whether you’re a complete newbie or gearing up for your final year, these awesome decorating ideas will definitely brighten your space and make your dorm mates totally jealous!

Your Bed

You obviously want to make your bed the focal point of the room simply because it is 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. You can create several distinct looks by using different combinations of the coordinating pieces. Don’t forget comfort—if you are going to splurge on anything, make sure it’s on bed pillows and sheets.

Inexpensive Artwork

Buy a close-out coffee table art book from your favorite bookseller. Remove and frame the pages to create a sophisticated gallery wall. Or cover the wall with your initials like our savvy coed in the featured photo. Craft stores have inexpensive wooden letters waiting to be painted or decoupaged and proudly displayed on your wall.

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, clips, scissors, rulers, etc., in small plastic bins on your desktop to keep them within easy reach.

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 and a wall sconce or floor lamp for reading in bed. If you can squeeze it in, a funky floor lamp will add personality and impart a warm glow.

Windows and Floors
Installing curtain rods is most likely a no-no, but that shouldn’t stop you from adorning your windows with DIY curtains. Use dyed canvas drop cloths to block light or a few yards of gauzy cotton works wonders to visually soften window frames. Either way, fabric dresses up the space and makes it feel more homey 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 a dorm-room size rug to counteract that cold tile floor. Look for bins filled with special purchase area rugs—they’ll be much cheaper than their regular stock. You will appreciate the warmth and softness underfoot. Choose one that coordinates with your bedding, artwork and window treatments.

Plant Life
If you have enough natural light, live plants will add life to your dorm room and can also help clean 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!

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