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Cheap, Amazing Dorm Room DIY

August 26th, 2009 admin

Dorm decorating can be a seriously daunting task–at first glance it doesn’t seem there’s much you can do with a white cinderblock wall and some painter’s tape or rubber cement. But once you start thinking outside of the box you might be surprised how amazing–and cheap–a little DIY dorm decor can be.

Wall Paper?

If you’re not into the traditional posters-and-Christmas-lights dorm look, why not paper your walls with something a little more exciting? Cute wrapping paper and a staple gun can paper your walls in no time, inexpensive fabric can be cute and temporary, or why not make a polaroid wallpaper (like the amazing room above, found via Apartment Therapy.)

Do Over

Want the chic look of brand new decor on a serious budget? Grab a thrift-store find or a hand-me-down and some paint and get cracking. We repainted a 1979’s desk from wood-color to black, swapped out the brass hardware for some sleep silver handles, and voila, we had a modern looking desk for only about $20.

Or check out this amazing transformation (spotted via YoungHouseLove). That cute turquoise lamp was once a nasty brass throwback, but a little spray paint and it’s reborn. Without DIYing, it would probably run you $40+, but I recently saw a similar lamp at Goodwill for $7. Add in painting accoutraments, and you could probably get the whole thing done for $14!

This works with pretty much anything, too. My sweetie and I have reupholstered our old couches, sewed up a slip cover for a freebie chair and redone other wood furniture with sandpaper and paint. You can even repaint old photo frames for a new look on the cheap.

Want More?

Check 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 making your dorm your own).

And check out sites like Young House Love, my latest DIY decor obsession, for all kinds of price-range appropriate oraganization, storage, and decor ideas. I love how they transformed this don’t-paint-or-hang-anything apartment sunroom into a chic, gorgeous bedroom with only $200 (and a trip to Ikea!). I am in LOVE!

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laura  |  August 26th, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Thanks for the lamp-love! I am so happy that I did that DIY project — every time I walk into the room, I smile because of that lamp. Seriously, if you need a little pick me up, find something old and make it new with a cheery paint color! 🙂


  • 2. Jessica  |  August 26th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Cool ideas! You can also use old calendar photos to decorate your space.

  • 3. Marissa  |  August 26th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on Young House Love! I can’t wait to look through it.
    I actually just uploaded some picture of my dorm room from last year on my flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/marikm1222/). I would suggest to anyone to definitely try to rearrange the furniture a bit for more space if your roommate is into that. Also, I had sort of a variation of the christmas tree lights that I got from Party City that were a lot cooler and turned out really cute. Tapestries are good for added color to the white white walls and also magazine cut outs can be super cool. The wall paper idea with wrapping paper is definitely super easy and looks great – I did that my first year and it turned out really well.
    Now I’m moving into off campus student housing and have my own room to decorate – I’m extremely excited to try to make it a bit more mature now that I’m starting to feel more like a real person (if you know what I mean).

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  • 5. Tanya  |  August 31st, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I love the Polaroid picture wall… looks so cute. I wonder all long that would take though? And the lamp is a good idea too. Love it!

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