You've been dreaming about what your dorm room will look like since you got your acceptance letter, but there's just one problem—you can't spend a lot on decorating it. No worries! You can still transform your dorm into an Instagram-worthy space with these budget friendly tips.
Get the Lay of the Land
Before you start planning out your perfect dorm, find out the measurements of the room you're working with. Visit the college's or university's website to check the measurements or call and ask the dimensions. That way you'll know whether you can fit that mini-fridge or extra bookcase before you buy them.
If you have a roommate, you can reach out to them to see if they want to share costs and coordinate on decorations. Maybe you both have similar tastes and want to buy things that match or maybe you just want to make sure you're not bringing the same band poster to put up on the wall.
Do It Yourself - With Help
Necessity is the mother of invention and generations of students before you have figured out inexpensive ways to decorate their dorms. Check out dorm decorating blogs and Pinterest for a wealth of great ideas.
The first thing you'll want to do is create or buy exciting art for your walls. There are all sorts of ways to do this from creating art from old magazines to making a giant confetti wall. Make your dorm more luxurious by creating your own headboard with cheap materials you can buy at a fabric store.
Probably the most important thing to think about is how to store all your things so that your dorm looks neat. Consider making a wall hanger to keep your bags and coats off the floor out of driftwood, create a shelf for your shoes with a tension rod, or use hanging buckets to store odds and ends.
Ask for Cast-Offs
The best way to save money on something is to get it for free. Maybe your parents' friends or your family members have storage solutions or a toaster that they don't need. Ask around before you head out to buy things for your dorm. You can save a considerable amount of money just by getting creative around tailoring those free items to your space.
Get It Secondhand
Save money by buying things like mini fridges, microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, lamps, art, storage, and decorations used. Check out Craigslist, Kijiji, garage sales, and thrift stores for great deals.
If you can't find something that fits your dorm vision perfectly, consider transforming it. You can replace or decorate a lampshade on an out-of-date lamp. You can also refinish that marked up bookcase by painting it, covering it with contact paper, or stripping and refinishing it.
One of the best places to buy inexpensive furniture is Ikea, but sometimes the cheapest things in the store aren't the most beautiful or functional. Luckily, people have been 'hacking' Ikea furniture for years and there is a huge collection of Ikea hacks online that might be perfect for your dorm room.
Want to revamp a nightstand or create a cool stool for your desk? How about create storage under your bed or add a room divider? Ikea and the genius furniture hackers that came before you have you covered.
If All Else Fails - Take Advantage of the Sales
If you did your best thrift store and online classified hunting and still couldn't find what you needed, make sure to shop around to get the best deals on the things to outfit your dorm.
Many stores offer steep discounts on dorm essentials during back-to-school season. Compare flyers to find the best deals and bring them with you when you go shopping as some stores are willing to match the prices of their competitors.
Want to check out more tips and tools for your upcoming school semester? Visit our Student Hub here.
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