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College Dorm Décor on the Cheap

August 6th, 2008 admin

First, thanks to all of you for your ideas about improving the site. There’s still time to make suggestions, so if you haven’t yet, let me know what you’d like to see! Now, several of you have asked for more tips about sprucing up your space, so on to the dorm décor ideas…

With all the limitations on dorm room decorating (no paint, no nails, no nothing!) it takes some real creativity to make your dorm room into your own space. But you have more options than posters and white cinderblock… In fact, why not use other people’s creativity to spur your own?

Snoop Around

Take a peek at the wide range of dorm rooms (made and lived in by real people) on HGTV’s Rate My Space. (They’ve been having some server trouble, so you might want to check back later.) I love how creative these students got both with budgeting AND working around the “no nails or paint” restrictions in most dorm rooms.

My favorite hacks from these rooms:

Go to “Therapy”

I love, love, love the creativity that pops up on Apartment Therapy-especially the gorgeous-and-teeny homes that showed up in Apartment Therapy’s Smallest, Coolest Apartments Contest 2008 (and of course the contest from 2007, too). Some of them are entire homes encompassed in 300 square feet, and they’re chock full of ideas for personalizing a small space, like…

DIY, or Just Buy

Yay for the internet, which provides us with thousands of great DIY dorm projects, like MookyChick‘s tips on how to decorate your dorm room on a student budget (thanks to KillJill Goes to College for the link). If you’re interested in making your own dorm décor, start with google or

More in the mood to buy? Check out CollegeFashion’s dorm room shopping series, with tips on everything from buying bedding to smart storage options for small spaces. (And while you’re there, sample some of the fantastic college fashion authoress Briana has collected over the past couple years!)

photo: Bedroom Basics 3 by Lotus Head

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jill  |  August 9th, 2008 at 6:49 am

    First of all, I will say this: I love it when I’m reading a super awesome article (because I visit your blog more often than I probably should- in fact, this blog is one of a few that are actually in my Favorites) and then find that there’s a link back to me.
    Makes a girl feel loved. So thanks!!

    Second, GREAT ARTICLE! I recently bought 1 moving posters (and 1 TV poster of the same size) to cover one wall- and they all match the color scheme in my room: red and black.

    I really like the tip about organizing your DVDs by color. Never thought of that! 😀

  • 2. STA = No Strings Attached&hellip  |  August 9th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    […] Go read Jamie’s article over at Surviving College Life: College Dorm Décor on the Cheap. I’m also a fan of her article, written for freshman (like moi), What To Expect Your First […]

  • 3. Jamie  |  August 11th, 2008 at 8:18 am

    @ Jill: I’m so glad you enjoy it! I think you find great (and original) resources, which is rare. 🙂 I had SO much fun decorating my dorm room. (And it gets even better when you get your own apartment, where you CAN use nails. Haha)

  • 4. Ashley  |  October 14th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I love the tip about Apartment Therapy. I look at that site for the pictures all the time to get ideas. I also found this other article (How to decorate for $50 or less.) that gives some advice about shopping on a budget. The artwork tip helped me out.

  • 5. james  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    i really like this article. using curtains is a great idea. if you are living in a dorm most dorms dont allow you to nail into the wall so instead of framed art you can buy cheap posters and just tape them up, a good site to try is all the posters are only $5 hence the name 🙂

  • 6. Aubrey Keen  |  June 29th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Another suggestion – look through old magazines, and cut out pages that are visually appealing, and put them up on your wall. Some ads are very artistic, and make good wall hangings.

  • 7. Aubrey Keen  |  June 29th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    And another suggestion – christmas lights and kin. There are a lot of strand lights like christmas lights that can be used to add festiveness and a break from the fluorescent overhead lighting provided in most dorms – chili pepper light strands, shotgun shell light strands, chinese lantern light strands, etc.

    Just check with your housing office rules on whether or not you can have these, and where they can be strung.

  • 8. Surviving College Life &r&hellip  |  August 26th, 2009 at 6:37 am

    […] out my previous post on college dorm decor on the cheap, which has links to DIY ideas and tutorials (or peruse the whole dorm category for more ideas on […]

  • 9. 5 Links For Dorm Room Des&hellip  |  August 30th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    […] College Dorm Décor on the Cheap […]

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