Off to College: Dorm Room Decorating on a Budget


By Shelly Towns

Fab, not drab, for your college dorm room.

Make your dorm room "home" on a limited budget.

Louis XIV had the Palace of Versailles and you have your dorm room. Though it might not be a palace, it is certainly a special space that for a semester or two will be your home, so it is important that you feel comfortable and able to relax there. And while you might not be rolling with the same budget as good old King Louis, it is still possible to decorate your room and make it your sanctuary without breaking the bank.

Color Scheme

One of the first things you can do to add some flair to your pile of cinderblocks is to think about a color scheme. You want to choose a color that is soothing to you and also appealing to your roommate if you have one. While there are some beautiful shades out there, you might want to pick a common color like red, blue, green, or yellow so that you can easily find things to fit within the theme.

Once you choose your color, keep your eyes peeled for anything that fits into the scheme, from paper clips to throw pillows, to help create overall visual impact. The items you choose don’t have to be expensive or big -– a lot of little blue things in the room can add up to a big aesthetic result!

Shop Local

Another great way to add some style to your dorm room on a budget is to check out your local Salvation Army, thrift stores, and dollar stores for everything from wall art to old couches to unique knick knacks. Thrift stores and consignment shops are amazing treasure troves of the most random and fascinating items.

From antique lamps shaped like mermaids to a set of decorative Popeye character china plates, you never know what you might find that could take your dorm room from drab to fab. And the best part is that vintage Star Wars poster you find forgotten in the nickel and dime bucket will absolutely cost you tons less than if you were to buy something new from the poster sale in the student center.

Consider Your Options

Though trying to make your home away from home cozy is just impossible on your current budget, you can try a different tactic all together: expand your budget. Try switching one of your courses out of your traditional college curriculum and take one at an online college. Online universities are cheaper, meaning you can have a little more left over at the end of the semester to afford that matching bed set (and maybe a few more nights on the town!).

While dropping a class just to buy things is certainly not recommended, shifting some of your course load to an accredited online university can at the end of the day be a good financial decision as well as an opportunity to make your financial resources less strained.

Getting your dorm room comfortable doesn’t mean choosing between feeding yourself and buying that blanket — you just need to look in the right places and work with a budget in mind. Don’t be afraid to look in unique places for little steals and just remember that life goes on after college; don’t mortgage your future for a fancy dorm space!

Author Information

Shelly Towns is an experienced blogger on topics such as college living, online college and living on a budget. When not blogging, she loves to go hiking with her dogs.

Adv. — Are you school-ready but cash short this semester? A Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan could be the right choice to help you close the financing gap.

Pictured: Wikimedia Commons public domain photo.


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Categories: Personal Advice