5 Ways to Decorate Your Dorm Room on a Budget

A bedroom with picture frames on the window, a plant on the side table, a bed, and a clothing rack.

If you're starting college, you're probably facing a lot of increased expenses - tuition, fees, books, supplies, and more. So, it's likely that you don't have a lot of cash to spare. When you get on campus, however, you'll likely want to spruce up your dorm room to make it feel like home.

So, how can you add personality to your dorm room without breaking the bank? We've rounded up five ways to decorate your dorm room on a budget.

Search for Treasures in Secondhand Shops

You never know what you'll find at a secondhand shop. You may discover items you love at a fraction of the price you'd pay if you purchased them new. Or, you may find goods that have plenty of potential when you put in some elbow grease and imagination.

The more you think outside the box, the more success you're likely to have. See a small flowerpot you love? Repurpose it as a pencil/pen holder for your desk. Stumble across a bed sheet with a great pattern? Hang it up as a tapestry on a large wall.

Get Crafty with Friends

Before you head to campus, plan a get together with friends. Have everyone bring a few supplies they have at home, such as washi tape, old magazines, and posterboard. Then, create away! Make a vision board for what you're hoping to accomplish in the upcoming semester or rig up a creative way to display photos from home.

Brighten Up the Space

Add some extra light to your room to brighten it up or to give yourself a lighting option other than the sometimes-harsh overhead lighting. You can hang up twinkle lights, which you can typically find at dollar stores. Or, you can flex your creative muscle and make your own flame-free candle. Choose a jar you love or paint your own, and then add a battery operated tealight candle to illuminate it.

Upcycle Well-Loved Clothing

If you have t-shirts or other pieces of clothing you love that aren't quite in good enough shape to wear any longer, upcycle them into décor. Make a pillow from a favorite tee featuring your high school sports team or frame a piece of fabric from your favorite patterned sundress.

Bring the Outside In

Plants can be a great and inexpensive way to liven up a space. Choose something low maintenance, such as a cactus or a succulent, to add a pop of color without having to worry about daily waterings. Just make sure that before you get any plants, you double check that your roommate doesn't have any allergies that'll interfere with your plant parenting plans. If they do, or if you just don't have a green thumb, choose some artificial greenery from a local craft store. It'll last forever and you can rearrange it at any time without worrying about damaging the roots.

Once you're on campus, you may be looking for more ways to manage college life on a budget. Check out all our free financial wellness tips and tools. From creating your first budget to improving your credit score, we've got all the information you need to build a solid financial future.


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