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How to Spruce up Your Dorm Room on a Budget

Written by Rebecca Tunney
Dorm Room Tips

With school just around the bend, many of you will be heading back to dorm life. Decorating and personalizing a dorm room can be tricky with all the rules in place, not to mention the cost of decor. Tricky, but not impossible.

Need some inspiration? Well, you’ve come to the right place, SLNer. Here, I present to you a list of ten ways to personalize a dorm room on a student budget. Let’s spruce up those white concrete walls!

DIY Decorating on a Student Dime

  • Vision board/photo collage. Arrange your favourite personal photos, quotes, and images from online (give credit to artists where credit is due!) on your wall however you wantin the shape of a heart, without a shape, overlapped, or spaced apart. For the best results, print them on photo paper.
  • Records. Band merch can get pricey, and you might not want to lug all your memorabilia to college. Instead, go to a record store and grab some vinyl. Both the vinyl and the album art can be arranged on the wall.
  • Mason jars. They’re rustic and versatile! Paint them with chalkboard paint for use as a piggy bank, pour colourful sand into them or use as vases! The possibilities are endless.
  • Origami. Not only will this make for cute decor, but it’s also a worthwhile skill to have! Hang paper cranes from your ceiling, or create a waterfall of flowers on one wall.
  • Christmas lights. The beautiful thing about Christmas lights is that they are flexible, so you can hang them on your wall almost any way you like. Write in cursive, or curl them around your bed or window to mimic the stars at night. You can also get little covers for the lights, like round lanterns.
  • Wall stickers. They’re cute, easily removed, and give your stark-white walls a bit of temporary personality.
  • Maps. Suppress your wanderlust by hanging maps of your favourite places, at least until you can afford to go there.
  • Cork/white boards. Easy to decorate and redecorate if you grow tired of the same design after a short period of time.
  • DIY pillow cases. Colour isn’t just for walls! Buy fabric in your favourite patterns and colours and turn them into personalized pillow cases. Don’t know how to sew? No worries! You can use fabric glue instead of a needle and thread. If you’re feeling ultra artsy, you can paint white pillow cases with fabric paint, as well.
  • Miniature frames. Perfect for those small plain surfaces in your dorm, like your desk. Mini picture frames come in a range of colours and styles, and they’re easy to change and move around, in case the feng shui ever feels off.

In addition, it may be smart to familiarize yourself with adhesive putty and Command Strips. A lot of dorms don’t allow students to drill holes into the walls, but even if they do, it means losing that damage deposit. Adhesive putty and Command Strips are your best bets when decorating, because they won’t damage the walls yet work well.

With all of this in mind, don’t be afraid to splurge on 1-2 items. More expensive items like rugs, band flags, or large art can be used as the focal point to your room. The above ideas can be accents! Repurpose old or used objects around your home, or refresh them with paint. With some creativity and good ol’ DIY, you can make your dorm your home away from home without breaking the bank.

Photo courtesy: Asher Isbrucker

ED. NOTE: Got your own DIY dorm room revitalization tips and tricks? Let’s hear them in the comments!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.