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Dorm Decor on a Budget: 4 Tips to Make College Feel Like Home

August 30, 2021

girls on bed taking pictures with their faux fur throw

School is back in session, and it can be easy to overlook college students settling in to dorms for the year.

With all of the college rules and fine print, it can be hard to make campus housing into something more personable and comfortable. These creative ideas will help you make your space more personable without spending a lot of money or breaking the rules. Not a college dorm student? Samesies, thankfully – these tips work for apartments too!

It's All About Lighting

dorm room desk with items and fun lightRooms can instantly look cozier with the right lighting. Students can find stringed fairy lights in their parent's garage or christmas lights from a thrift store. Hang them as is or transform them into a cute garland with DIY tutorials. Pro Tip: Add some tiny clips and turn your led fairy lights into photo garlands.

Even just relying on stylish lamps for lighting can make a difference. Don't forget to use LED-battery operated candles in cute containers to make your space feel more comfortable.

Go for Bold Bedding

Make the bed the focus area of the room with bold fabrics. Start with a neutral color comforter, such as white or black. These standard comforters are usually more affordable, which is awesome. Then add bold fabrics with fun pillows, sheets, and throw blankets. Now you can affordably change up your decor when you get bored of it or if you want to change up the decor for the seasons. Simply change out the pillows and accessories whenever you want a change of scenery.

Jazz Up the Walls with Free Printables

Wall space is the hardest area to tackle since you aren't allowed to paint or put holes in the wall. You can purchase affordable frames from dollar stores or thrift stores and spray paint them a modern color. Vintage frames repainted in teal or mint look amazing.

You can also find free printable art online or purchase affordable downloadable prints from Etsy. Hang them with specially designed wall hanging strips.

More Opportunities to Add Color

Dorm room bed and decal on wall that says bless this messYou don't have to buy all new accessories to give your dorm room a new look. Take a look at what you already. What would look new again with a new, hip color? Boring desk accessories, lamp bases, chairs, and even trashcans can be transformed into fun pieces by spray painting them a new color.

I am constantly spray painting thrift store finds a new color to fit in better with my decor and give older things an updated look. Need some inspiration? Just search "spray paint" on Pinterest, and you will find hundreds of ideas. There are so many tutorials for transforming thrift store finds and dollar store finds into high-class design items with one can of spray paint. The best part is that spray paint is usually $5-10 a can and will last for a few different projects.

Written by Ashley Eneriz for MoneyNing and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Don't forget to shop our Back 2 School Sale and take 30% OFF Hoods, Leggings, and Home Goods with code: BACK2SCHOOL30 — Hurry! Sale ends midnight PT!

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