How to decorate your dorm on a budget


Congratulations for choosing to living on campus this year! But what happens next? The next step is transforming that plain, mundane dorm room into a place you’ll be proud to call your home away from home. And, fear not if your budget doesn’t have room for a bit of décor because these hacks have got you covered:

  • Rearrange. Before you do anything, rearrange the existing furniture if you can. Moving the bed by the window can help bring natural light into the room, and moving the desk near shelves creates a mini practical office space. Try out different arrangements while considering light, floor space and storage, and settle for the configuration that suits your style!  
  • Take what you can from home. This is the biggest money saver! Scavenge around the house before moving and try to tick off as much from your list as you can. Only buy the things you absolutely need and don’t have. Recycle those old items from home and pair them with a few new ones to bring a fresh, trendy look to your dorm room. They also add a nostalgic touch by reminding you of home.
  • Fill those blank walls. Brighten up those sad empty walls with photos and posters from home instead of buying wall art (or DIY it). It saves you big time while adding a personal and unique touch. To hang tapestry, fairy lights or calendars and planners use adhesive hooks and bulldog clips. This hack is super cheap, abides by on-campus rules because you’re not putting holes in the walls, and gives you the flexibility and practicality to create your look.
  • Baskets and containers are your new best friends. Storage has never looked so good! Baskets and containers are affordable, practical and don’t need to be hidden away. Take a woven basket for example, you can put shoes or even dirty clothes inside and still use it as a statement piece. Containers fit great under beds or you can stack them to make extra table space but still store heaps inside. Other pieces can also sit on shelves to add a pop of colour!
  • Double up. On that note, if you are spending money, opt for decorative pieces that have a dual purpose. These days, many small furniture pieces double as storage. Or, give items from home another purpose such as jars for holding stationery or present boxes for makeup.
  • Dress your bed to make a statement. The one thing that can change the entire look and feel of a small room is your bedding. Whether it’s the colour, pattern or design, just the bedding alone gives your room personality and style. And, since you do need them, choose the best designs to make your statement. 

P.S. If you need to buy something, consider the long-term. If you know you’ll be living on campus for the duration of your degree it is a smart idea to invest in things that will last (instead of rebuying each year).

It may seem expensive the first time, but you’ll end up saving a lot more money and have room in the budget in later years for more important things. Take this tip, a good quality and neutral-coloured table lamp will last even those six-year degrees, and you won’t get sick of it!

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