Cute Wall Decor Ideas for Students on a Budget

Cute wall decor can make the difference between a bland study bunker and an inviting dorm room that really feels like home. You don’t need loads of cash to take your wall decor to the next level–just a bit of resourcefulness and creativity! Check out these tips and tricks to take your room to the next level!

Photo Wall

Curb your homesickness at school by decorating your dorm with pictures of your favorite memories from back home! You can find cute, inexpensive frames in most dollar stores, and hang them easily using Command strips.

For something fun and fresh, try hanging your pictures clothesline-style, using colorful string and clothespins! Or, you can use mounting putty to stick your pictures directly onto your wall. You can personalize your photo wall however you like, from neat, sleek rows to a kaleidoscopic collage. Your memories are as unique as you are, and your photo wall will be, too!

Cute Wall Decor Ideas For Students On A Budget


If you’re looking to put art or professional photography on your walls, but don’t want to bust your wallet buying expensive prints, consider postcards as a budget-friendly alternative. If you want to try a photo wall, but would rather not hang personal pictures everywhere, you can also use postcards to achieve the same effect.

It’s easy to find sets of 20-30 postcards online in any theme you’d like—from nature photography to cats to vintage art—for under $10. Using postcards from the same pack can make your wall décor look cohesive and deliberate, lending harmony to your room.

Framing your postcards to give your room a more sophisticated vibe. Visitors are always surprised when I tell them the triptych of prints on my wall are actually just framed cards from a pack. Just make sure your frames are the right size for your postcards! For a more casual look, try collaging your postcards or hanging them from a clothesline, just like you would with a photo wall!

Cute Wall Decor Ideas for Students on a Budget


Wall Tapestry

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding lots of smaller things to fill up a blank wall, you might want to try hanging a wall tapestry. Big, simple, and beautiful, a wall hanging can cover a lot of wall space without making a room look cluttered.

Most of the tapestries I see around the dorms have a mandala pattern, which gives the room a hippie or boho vibe. If that’s not your thing, though, tapestries come in a variety of colors and prints—from galaxy to floral to Vine references—all to fit your aesthetic.

They come in plenty of sizes, too, so be sure to check the size of your wall and the size of the tapestry before buying. You can find plenty of cute wall tapestries online for under $15, making them a budget-friendly option for cute décor.

Cute Wall Decor Ideas For Students On a Budget

String Lights / Fairy Lights

String lights are a must-have for all college dorm rooms. Perfect for late study nights and kickbacks with friends, string lights are often called “fairy lights” for the magical ambiance they bring to the room.

You don’t need to steal Mom and Dad’s heavy-duty Christmas lights, either. Indoor string lights with small bulbs and thin, pretty wire can be found online or in most stores that stock home décor. I recommend getting multiple strands, or at least a longer strand; ten feet of lights may seem like a lot when the lights are in the box, but it won’t cover much space on your wall.

The pricing on string lights varies depending on the type of bulb and wire, the length of the strand, and the retailer. I found fairy lights for as cheap as $1.40 on and as expensive as $64.00 at Urban Outfitters. No matter what your budget may be, there are plenty of options!

Best of all, fairy lights can be paired with almost everything, taking any wall décor to the next level. Wrap them around your mirror, your bedposts, your wall tapestry or picture frames, or even hang your pictures from them with clothespins!

Cute Wall Decor Ideas For Students On A Budget


Campus Posters

This one is a bit of a long game, but it’s a tried-and-true method used by plenty of sophomores, juniors, and seniors (myself included!). Dorms, academic buildings, and study spaces often have places where student groups and academic departments can advertise events and programs. These posters can sometimes be really neat, and often stay up long after the events have passed. If you really enjoyed an event, or just like the way an expired poster looks, it’s no crime to take it down and use it as cool, free wall décor.

See Also

In addition to covering up that blank spot on your wall, using campus posters as well décor draws a portrait of your college experience, especially if you grow your collection over the course of your entire college career. Scavenged posters give rooms a down-to-earth, laid back vibe and can show off your spontaneous side.

While this may not work as well for your first semester at college (sorry freshmen!) you’d be surprised how easily and quickly your poster collection can build up. Posters are easy, free wall décor, with a special college personality.

Cute Wall Decor Ideas For Students On A Budget



Life at school is hard, and sometimes it helps to have a reminder to be happy. That’s why I re-used the “HAPPY” half of an old HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner and hung it above the window in my dorm room!

This is a really easy wall décor hack. You can use any old banner you have around your house, or get a new one from a store like Party City. Attach both ends to your wall using mounting putty or strong tape—in my experience, Scotch tape will fall pretty quickly.

Pennants, stars, and tassels can all look great on your wall, window, or above your bed. You can even layer multiple; my iridescent H-A-P-P-Y looks great hanging in front of a rainbow tassel banner I took home from my baby cousin’s unicorn party!


How do you decorate your walls without breaking your wallet? Share your favorite tricks in the comments below!

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