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Back to School: Decorate Your Dorm Room on a Budget

Back to School: Decorate Your Dorm Room on a Budget

There are about 20 million college students in America right now. If you're one of them, you're probably wondering how you're going to afford to decorate your back to school dorm room.

Dorm room renovation doesn't have to be super expensive! With a few hacks, you can have the dorm room of your dreams without breaking the bank. All it takes is narrowing down your style, knowing where to find deals, doing some DIY, and splurging on the important stuff.

Take a look at some dorm room budget hacks!

Narrow Down Your Style

One of the best ways to save on decorating is to make sure that you aren't buying things you don't need. When you don't know exactly what your style is, it can be easy to buy things that you end up disliking and throwing out a month later. That wastes a lot of money!

Instead, before you start shopping, narrow down exactly what you want your dorm room to look like. Come up with a name for your style, a list of items that would fit into the aesthetic, and a list of needs for your space. Now you have the perfect shopping list that won't waste any money!

Check the Thrift Shops

Thrift shops are a great place to get furniture and other necessities for your dorm room. Most dorm rooms come with a bed, desk, and dresser, but if you have a common area you may need to fill it with a couch, shelves, a coffee table, and other pieces of furniture.

First, you should confer with your roommates about who is getting what. By dividing the spending on furniture, you'll better be able to get dorm essentials without going over budget. Everyone can contribute just a little to their comfort level.

Once you know what pieces of furniture you're in charge of, you can start checking the thrift stores for deals! Goodwill and The Salvation Army often have furniture in great condition for much less money than you would spend on new furniture. You can find things in all different styles including vintage and new!

But furniture isn't the only thing you'll find at the thrift store. You can also find kitchen essentials such as pots, pans, utensils, and glasses. You can get curtains for windows to bring some fun colors into your otherwise (probably) white dorm room. Dorm room renovation is all about finding creative ways to bring in your own style, and curtains are a great way to do that.

Get Crafty

What is the most inexpensive artwork that you can hang on your walls? The artwork you make yourself of course!

You don't have to be a world-class artist to take advantage back to school ideas that include making something your own decorations. 

Making your own decorations can be as easy as printing out photos of your favorite people and memories, getting cheap frames (from thrift stores), and hanging them on your wall.

Collaging is an easy art form where you find images you like in magazines, newspapers, and old books. Cut out images that you love and that match the aesthetic you've chosen for your dorm room. Then paste them on a piece of poster board, and you have a unique piece of wall art perfectly suited to your style!

You can also paint something, mold something out of clay, or make a macrame hanging art if you're a little more crafty and skilled.

Check Online Marketplaces

If thrifting isn't your style, there are still great ways to find furniture and dorm essentials for cheaper! 

Some social media sites, such as Facebook, where people in your area can sell items they don't want anymore for discounted prices. This is a great way to find furniture as long as you have a way to get it back to your dorm.

Even better, some colleges have private Facebook groups where students can swap and sell things that they no longer need or want for their dorms. This is a great way to cut down on waste and meet people too.

You can find great things on these Facebook groups, and you can usually haggle the price since the other students know what it's like to be living on a budget.

Organize a Student Swap

Another great way to exchange goods for back to school dorms is through an in-person student swap. Even as a freshman, you can organize one of these events early in the school year.

Find an open space, and students from your school can bring dorm items that they no longer want or need. They can then choose to trade for things they do want, for favors, or sell for cash.

If you organize one of these events, you're not only going to get some great decor and furniture for your dorm, but you'll also establish yourself on campus and make some friends. Student swaps have a fun festival-like atmosphere that brings people together for fun. It's a great way to meet other students as a freshman.

Know What to Spend On

While staying on budget is the ultimate goal, there are some things for your dorm room that are worth the splurge. Anything that is likely to be very dirty second-hand or that you make a lot of direct contact with should be new.

Upholstery from thrift stores can be a risky choice because they're more likely to carry bedbugs and bed bug eggs. 

You definitely don't want to buy bedding second-hand. There's no way to be sure it's been fully sanitized, and you'll be spending significant time with it right against your skin. Instead, find bedding that you really love and will want to keep for a long time.

Your Best Back to School Dorm

You can have the back to school dorm of your dreams without breaking the bank! Make sure that you establish your personal style before you start shopping and identify which things you can buy secondhand.

Are you ready to find that bedding set that you'll love forever? Check out our bedding sets here!