July 15, 2019 3 min read

Most dorm rooms come with a bed, a desk and chair, a bookcase; a dresser and either a closet or wardrobe. Space is tight and storage is definitely an issue, so you need to maximize every inch.

Plus, you usually can’t use nails on the walls or the walls might be concrete block making it hard to hang anything. Here’s how you can tackle the challenge and create an amazing dorm room on a budget.

Analyze the Room

Look at the best way to use the space with your roommate. You want to maximize natural light and floor space, so move furniture against the walls, but away from windows. Once you have the ideal configuration, it’s time to add your personal touches.

Choose a Theme

Love the sea, forest, jungle, travel, art, music, or flowers? Have a favorite place in the world you’d like to visit? What about a favorite color? Any one of these ideas is a great launching point for a decorative theme.

Choosing a theme gives you a starting point for colors, textures, and decorations for your room, which can otherwise seem very overwhelming.

Dress the Bed

The bed is always the focus of any dorm room. Once you’ve decided on your theme, choose a plain, easy care quilt. It is often tempting to add patterned bedding, but it really limits your design. Plain bedding allows you to add personal touches easily.

The Southshore College Dorm Collection, washable, wrinkle resistant and easy care offers great value, Sheet Sets come in XL twin, also, to fit most dorm beds, and has two pillow cases as well.  You can set your student up with new bedding, including an extra set of sheets, for under $100!

Once you choose your bedding, add a few quirky decorative pillows in colors and textures from within your theme. For instance, dressing a jungle bed might include animal prints, faux fur, and shades of green. A chic Parisian bedroom might include neutral tones, silk or satin, and a few pillows with French words. A Boho bed might include orange, red, and gold decorative pillows and a printed sarong hung from the ceiling.

Think Multi-Purpose

Any small open areas can become great vertical storage areas if you use stackable storage boxes or narrow profile basket units that match your theme. Put a few by the bed to store shower essentials, your phone charger, and a Wi-Fi speaker, and use it as a bedside table too. Add storage under the bed, when possible.

Removable Decals & Hooks

If your dorm does not allow nails in the wall, have no fear! Today’s products allow you to add pizzazz and remove it without leaving a mark.

Use removable decals to add a mural, lettering, mirrors, or funky patterns. When it’s time to leave, just peel them off the walls, stick them on the backing paper, and take them with you.

Use residue-free hooks to hang shelves, pictures, lights, or even a sheer fabric canopy over your bed. A cool design trick is to hang a carpet on the wall. It adds warmth, texture, and interest to any room.

Add Lights

You’ll need a light over the desk and near your bed, but it doesn’t have to be boring table lamps. Try decorating with LED string lights that come in many colors and designs. Use a clip-on LED spotlight over the bed for reading or shine one on a special personal item. Did we mention they’re cheap?

Make It Your Own

A dorm room can feel like a box until you make it your own. Add a few plants, flameless LED candles, and things that make it feel like home. Hang a bulletin board and cover it with photos. Toss a snuggly area rug near the bed.

You can have a spectacular dorm room on a very low budget. Just use your space wisely and let your imagination flow.



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