After the boxes are unpacked and the clothes are hung, some dorm dwellers feel underwhelmed by the aesthetics of their rooms. If you're seeking some ways to jazz up your dorm room without breaking the bank, check out these decor tips that College Confidential collected from students, recent grads and their families.
Dorm Wall Decor
The cheapest and easiest way to transform your dorm room is to cover the walls.
- Tapestries are a great way to decorate a dorm room, but they can be pricey. A fun solution to this is to paint or tie-dye your own blank tapestry, that way you can customize it to your liking and save money, says Rebecca. Society 6 offers affordable and stylish wall tapestries that were designed by independent artists.
- LED Holiday lights can bring brightness to darker dorm rooms, advises Dinesh. Just remember to make sure your dorm allows these to be plugged in, as some older dorms may not allow them, he adds. Bonus: There are usually holiday light sales in the summer and fall.
- Order or print out photos of family, friends and pets to hang up in your dorm, Rebecca says. "It'll help when you're missing your loved ones, or want to brag to your friends how cute your dog is." Many photo printing companies now offer affordable ways to print posters, collages, or even framed photos or wooden prints.
- Hang a curtain over the window, but if your window is on the smaller side, scarves will do the trick, suggests Arielle. "Scarves are light, so you won't even need a curtain rod -- just use dorm tape to hang them," she says.
Other Tips for Dorm Decorating On a Budget
- Plants are an awesome dorm decor element. Not only are they affordable, they are good for upping the air quality in a room as well, says Rebecca. "Getting a spider plant or bromeliad are two types of plants that require little upkeep, while adding a pop of color." Before investing, research how to choose and care for indoor plants.
- Keep storage stylish. You'll need to store some things in your room, but that doesn't mean having an unsightly trunk in the middle of the room. Pick up an attractive storage tote or basket to add a fresh design element to your room.
- Hit the thrift store. Allison says that when she moved her son into his dorm recently, they were able to pick up colorful waste paper baskets, wall hangings and lamps for under $5 each at a local thrift shop.
- Swap out rugs for bath mats. Large rugs can be expensive, huge, and slippery. Consider buying a series of fun and colorful bath mats, which are inexpensive and don't skid around the room easily, says Tana.
Final Tip: Keep Dorm Decor Simple
When you're breaking out the room decorations and getting your room just as you want it to look, don't go overboard -- remember to ensure your room doesn't get cluttered, because it should still be a study sanctuary, first and foremost.
A version of this article previously appeared in August 2019.