Entering college means entering a new phase of independence, one which also includes decorating your personal space for the very first time. Considering other college entry expenses, freshmen usually have a limited budget for their dorm room decoration – but don’t let that be a problem!
When decorating your dorm room, it’s important to be aware of various tricks and strategies to keep your expenses low and at the same time create an inspiring living space that will motivate you to focus and do your best in class. Here are some great ideas for personalizing your dorm room with a limited amount of funds.
1. Reuse old objects
Instead of buying a cheap piece of furniture or electronics, it’s better to ask around and see whether your friends or family have an extra one they can give to you. Hand-me-downs seem like the least decorative option ever, but the truth is that they’re free and often of better quality than mass-produced cheap appliances. Paint an old bookshelf and throw a modern slipcover over old-fashioned upholstery – use your imagination to give these objects new life.
2. Go thrift shopping
There are lots of places where you can get stylish and modern items without paying insanely high boutique prices. Have a look at discount stores, dollar stores and warehouse stores – it’s not worth investing too much in the things you buy for your dorm room. Fashion, style and your personal taste will surely change by the time you finish college.
3. Find sources of used items
Before moving out, have a look around your neighborhood to spot yard sales, charity stores or furniture consignment places. If those prove ineffective, you can always try Craigslist. Be careful for scams or buying items that are broken. Avoid dumpster-diving or taking furniture from the street – it could present many hazards, from lice to exposed nails.
4. Delve into Do-It-Yourself
DIY is all the rage right now and there’s probably no better way to personalize your living space than by taking up the task of creating some imaginative solutions to serve your needs. Hang a flag to decorate your wall, enlarge a photo you like and hang it as a poster, add your own creative twist to framed pictures found on yard sales or even make a hanging chair yourself. The web is full of inspiration and practical instructions – having a beautiful dorm room shouldn’t cost you a fortune.
5. Give new roles to old objects
Ever wanted an old trunk to serve as your nightstand? Well, now you’re free to try your craziest interior design ideas! You can use old wooden crates to serve as shelves, for example – just line them with some pretty paper and hang them on your walls. Ever thought of hanging clipboards as movable inspiration board pieces? The only limit is your imagination.
6. Focus on accessories
What works for outfits, works for interior design as well. Invest in small and inexpensive details to create a mood and style you’re after. Look for characteristic picture frames, throws, lamps, decorative pillows, vases and mirrors. Once you’re fed up with your decoration, you can easily mix it up and change it in a second.
Your dorm room will be your home for the next couple of years, so it’s only natural that you want to make the space feel cozy – fortunately, you can often do it on a budget. Got a trick up your sleeve for creative and cheap decorating strategies? Share your experience and let us know how you decorated your dorm room when entering college!
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and works as a freelance writer.