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April 08, 2017

7 Ways To Decorate Your Dorm On A Student Budget

7 Ways To Decorate Your Dorm On A Student Budget

While you may be excited to start classes and make new friends, you might not be looking forward to moving into a room the size of a shoebox—only half of which is actually yours. The good news is that your tiny college dorm room and tight budget don’t have to stop you from having a stylish space. Read on for tips and tricks to make the most out of your new surroundings. 

Talk to your suitemates/roommates to plan the decor and budget.

First thing first: it is super important to discuss decorations with your roommates or suitemates. A lack of communication may result in conflict—not everyone will appreciate your unique style. Have an informal meeting to discuss everyone’s design preferences. Make a list of items to buy and where to get them, a budget, and who is responsible for doing what.

When you and your new neighbors are all on the same page, check out this list of 6 easy ways to create dorm room decor without a lengthy and expensive shopping list.

1. Reorganize the furniture to find the best layout for your space.

Arranging furniture is an art. Everyone can design their own perfect space with a little thought and a lot of experimenting. Beyond your bedroom, your suite’s living room, kitchen, and sometimes even aspects of your bathroom can be rearranged. The layout you saw when you arrived at your dorm isn’t always the best one, so you and your suitemates can create a unique layout that is spatially efficient and looks good.

2. Light up your room with string lights.

This is the most popular and cost-effective way to decorate rooms and common areas. There are many types of string lights with different lightbulb sizes, shapes, and lengths. You can go even further by: 

– Spraying the string with silver or gold to look more polished.

– Draping it along your wall, zig-zagging it on your ceiling, or spelling out a word.

– Clipping photos onto the string.

– Putting a battery-powered strand in a jar or geometric lantern for an artsy DIY light. You can put in on the table, near a window, or even on a kitchen counter!

3. Use pinboards and chore charts.

A pinboard in your dorm or common area can help you in many ways. You can put anything on it: a map of the city, group pictures, keys, postcards… the possibilites are endless!

If you don’t want to pay too much for a fancy pinboard, simply take a cheap bulletin board and wrap one side with the wrapping paper of your choice.

Chore charts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they come in handy to keep the place clean and stay somewhat civil with each other. 

4. Get pillows and rugs with fun patterns.

Make your space cozy! Throw some cheap pillows and a shag rug in the common area—you’ll need them on movie night.

5. Decorate your walls with inexpensive photo prints and art pieces.

Find something in common that everyone in your suite likes. It can be a movie, a place, a person, or just a fun motivational quote. You can hang them on the wall, or put it in a photo frame.

6. Use Washi tape.

Go crazy with it! Tape along the shelf edges, decorate photos, or DIY masking tape decor.

7. Freshen it up with potted plants.

Dorm rooms can feel unbearably sterile, so add some life to your room with a bit of nature. Put a potted plant near windows, study tables, or coffee tables in your common area. Some of the top low-maintenance plant choices include Aloe Vera, Peach Lily, Snake Plants, and ZZ Plants. You can also add a pop of color by embellishing the pot with Sharpies or paint.

Quick tips: Use BluTack or any sticky material that can be easily peeled off to avoid damaging walls.

Where to shop in the Boston area: Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, your school’s social-media based buying and selling group (for example, Emerson College’s Free & For Sale Facebook group).

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