Cheap ideas to decorate a dorm room

Written by k.c. morgan
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Cheap ideas to decorate a dorm room
College student out shopping. (Shopping image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

College dorm rooms are often centres of activity. No matter how large or small, the dorm room must serve multiple purposes: The room must act as a sanctuary, a place of study, a place of rest, a centre of socialisation and a storage facility. College students spend a great deal of time in their dorm rooms, and they should enjoy the space. Use cheap ideas to decorate a dorm room, and make it fabulous for less.


Smart shopping is one of the best ways to decorate dorm rooms cheaply. Don't visit expensive department stores or high-end retail outlets to find items. Visit more affordable stores, such as Walmart and Target, or look for even better deals through second-hand thrift stores. Search online and print classifieds to find affordable used furniture that is much cheaper than brand new items.

Cheap ideas to decorate a dorm room
College student out shopping. (Shopping image by Yvonne Bogdanski from


The bed is often the main focus of any dorm room and is usually the largest piece of furniture in the room as well. Give even the plainest dorm room bed a stylish, colourful look with a comforter that reflects the student's style. Pick a comforter that's made in machine-washable, durable fabrics. Avoid white and black comforters, which show more dirt than coloured varieties. Choose a reversible comforter to change up the look of the room at will. Add soft throw pillows to embellish the bed, turning it into a true showpiece for the dorm room.

Cheap ideas to decorate a dorm room
College student studying on the bed. (woman reading on her bed image by Xavier MARCHANT from


No college dorm room has ever offered enough storage space for busy students. Make the most out of a small space by adding storage in creative places throughout the room. Raise the bed using products designed for the purpose, or use cement blocks for a cheap option and create a large storage space right underneath. Place large boxes, crates or plastic containers under the bed to hold various items and provide storage. Attach plastic or metal hooks to the back of closet doors to add extra space in this area.


Painting is often forbidden in dorm rooms, but there are lots of ways to bring colour and life to the walls without permanently changing them. Check dorm rules before hammering nails or sticking tape to walls. If neither is allowed, attach posters, fabric and other embellishments to the wall using specialised poster tape or small suction cups. For more creative cheap ideas, buy coloured chalk and draw directly on the walls. Chalk wipes off easily, so it should be well within dorm room rules. Create frames and shadowboxes using found materials or by adding shells and other embellishments to cheap frames found at discount stores. If you can't attach anything to the walls, string laundry line across the wall, anchoring it with tall, slender poles or suction cups, and attach photographs and other items to the line to create a mural along one wall. Add curtains to the windows to give the room a finished, decorated look.


College students need good lighting to study by, particularly during those late night sessions. Buy cheap holiday lights to add twinkle and shine to the room. Look for mismatched lamps at thrift stores and create new shades for them, or take off the shades and paint the bases interesting colours with cheap spray paint.

Cheap ideas to decorate a dorm room
Display of many different lamp styles. (bottles and lamps image by CreativeWarrior from

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