Cheap Dorm Decor Ideas

Cheap Dorm Decor Ideas

July 31, 2023

A great-looking dorm room for college students is possible; it just takes work and just a little bit of cash. So here are some cheap dorm room ideas and the best dorm decor even an interior designer will think it’s a great place.

At first glance, those college dorms are a horrible disappointment. They never look like that on TV or in the movies. Even some of the most modern college dorm rooms are pretty dismal and depressing and they never feel like home, at least not right away.

There are a ton of articles about dorm stuff that can help you make your dorm feel like home or give you tips on how to decorate a dorm room on a budget, but what if you don’t care that much about the cost but still find the some great deals? What if you want the most tricked-out pad on campus and you’ll do what you have to to get it? If that’s your approach then we’ve got some tips to help you create a dorm room to die for.

Unfortunately, The First Step Requires Research And Rules

You’re going to have to figure out what your university allows in the dorm rooms. Many of them let you change your bedding situation; some allow wall painting; others restrict you from hanging anything on your walls; it all depends on your institution. Even though it may be tempting to break the rules, they are there to protect you (usually from fires) and itís not worth spending money for an improvement only to have it confiscated.

Once you know what your dorm allows, it’s time to set some lofty goals. By putting your bed on a loft you immediately increase your living space and give your room a bit of visual character. Make your loft sexier than the average by getting a designer loft that includes dresser drawers and storage space and go for colour rather than natural wood.

Next, Ditch The Dressers

Most universities provide you with standard, beat-up, old dressers that were never attractive and are barely functional. If you can avoid getting a new dresser you are giving yourself even more floor space and creating a greater illusion of space. To create even more visual interest and give yourself the storage space you need, create a platform that will rest over storage bins or premade drawers. Make sure your platform is sturdy and well-supported and it can even be used as a lounge area. Again, stay away from the natural wood look; add some appeal with a great paint job.

Cheap Dorm Decor Ideas
Female students with photos hanging with decoration lights on the white wall | Image Credit:

Light it up!

A great way to make the entire room look different is by changing the lighting situation. Purchase some lamps and try not to use the provided lighting except when studying. You’ll be amazed by how homey lamps make your place and how soft the lighting is. Creative types can play with spots and gels and get even more variety in their roomís look, the right gels and spots can even change wall colours.

Accessorize for comfort and appeal. Large throw pillows provide extra seating for guests, while a small buffet cart well stocked with snacks makes your dorm room more appealing to visitors. Cater to your friends and yourself by creating an environment that is unusual, vivid, welcoming, and full of lavish surprises.

On a shoestring budget but want to add some decoration and flair to your dorm? Here are some ways to add pizzazz in an affordable way to your college dorm decor:

Use Found Or Used Items For A Unique Look

For one-of-a-kind and offbeat flair, scour thrift shops, garage sales, or even the curb for cheap decorations you can add to your walls. If you’re a woman, you can gather a couple of wildflowers and stick them in a cup to instantly brighten the room.

Postcards and magazine pages also make cheap, fun dorm decorations. Stones, wood, and other items can make interesting sculptural arrangements. Use interestingly shaped stones as paperweights, bookends, or doorstops. If you’re a music fan, get some old records and album covers (often cheap at used bookstores and thrift stores) for your walls. Also, check out Craigslist or Freecycle for cheap dorm decorations. Most of all, use your imagination! Decoration should be fun.

Making A Color Statement Is A Trendy Option

Strong colours make an instant impression in your room, so consider what items will be prominent in your room (i.e. bedspread, sheets, refrigerator, laundry basket, etc.). Next, decide what colour scheme(s) you want. Both similar and contrasting hues work.

Also, consider the colour of your dorm walls. At some dorms, you can repaint the walls at the beginning of the year, as long as you choose one of the approved colours. This may be cheap or free if the university will provide the paint. Check if this is an option at your dorm and if your roommate would be up for this idea. If you want a very coordinated room, you should also discuss with your roommate beforehand what you’re planning to bring and what colour scheme you’d like.

Cheap Dorm Decor Ideas
Looking Down On Female College Student Wearing Headphones Lying On Bed Working On Laptop | Image Credit:

Use A T-Shirt Pillowcase For The Full College Experience

For a dash of whimsy, slip your pillow into a favourite t-shirt. It seems that most t-shirts are the perfect size to fit a pillow, and they are easy to remove and wash. This will show off your personality with a useful decoration and you’ll be sleeping on something comfy, too!

Get Your Feet Cozy Is Always A Good Idea

Area rugs add warmth and colour to even prison-like dorm cells. If your dorm room has a plain tile floor, you may want to add some decoration with some colourful area rugs. These can span a big range as far as pricing, but you can check ahead online to compare prices. Also, if you’re feeling crafty, try making your rug with old strips of fabric.

Find ideas for decorating your new dorm room in a way that’s fun, exciting, and expresses your personality

Going to college is a very exciting time but it can also be stressful and even the most hardened teen may feel a few pangs of homesickness when they first arrive on campus, especially when they see their drab and depressing dorm room. Decorating your dorm room to create a comfortable oasis that expresses your personality is your first assignment and it’s one that you wonít fail.

Remove/Replace Furniture Will Make A Huge Difference

If it’s in your budget and your college lets you, then remove the furniture they’ve supplied and come up with pieces that say more about you and are more comfortable. Replacing the college dorm bed with a day bed is a great idea as your bed will serve multiple purposes anyway. A desk with modern styling and more storage options (and security) will probably also be a wiser choice than the supplied desk.

Dorm Storage Options For College Kids

Dorm rooms are notoriously short on storage options. The closet is small and if a dresser is supplied it’s bulky and takes up a lot of space. Create your storage by buying containers designed for small items and able to slide under your bed storage, get storage that hangs over the door, and on the walls, and revamp the closet. Try to think of your closet as another room for your college dorm essentials and treat it with that much concern, remove the supplied door and use fabric with Velcro to increase your space and easy access, and stack containers inside to take advantage of every inch of the extra space.

Cheap Dorm Decor Ideas
Male College Student Carrying Box Moving Into Accommodation Meeting House Mates | Image Credit:

Lift It Up The Perfect Way

A loft is an excellent way for a college student to dramatically increase the available floor space in their dorm room and the space under the loft is typically a great area for televisions or low seating. If your college doesnít allow lofts you may still be able to increase your dorm room’s functionality by adding storage units that are elevated on posts over your bed.

Pop Of Color The Cheap Way

Very few people consider the industrial different colours used in dorm decor their favourites so do whatever you can to bring in a colour palette that makes you happy, keeps you awake for studying, expresses your personality, and give you a sense of peace. Not many home decor dorms allow you to paint the walls but wall adhesives can transform a room in ways you probably never imagined.

Don’t go with the standard image of your favourite sports star but think of geometric shapes. Lots of long lines can create stripes, borders, and even plaid. Circles of varying sizes are a bright and lively look. Large diamonds and you can create a harlequin pattern. In addition, you can bring in colour with window treatments, bedding, colourful furniture, and pillows.

How to save money on dorm decor supplies

Back-to-school sales are a great resource and often lure students in before they’ve seen their dorm room so try to wait until you know the college life rules, what the room dimensions are if you have a roommate, what your roommateís tastes are, and what he/she will be bringing to your living space. And remember to check your campusís regulations for dorm decor, you don’t want to waste money and time on something you’ll have to change in the future or even the next school year.

Lastly, dorm decorations and decor ideas should reflect your personality, so go with whatever you love. There are lots of ways to express your personal touch and your style with cheap decorations or handmade items. Have fun!

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