There are many, many colleges and universities that have elected to open back up, so it’s time for decorating season! However, everyone knows that students don’t have much wiggle room in their budget for decorations, what with all the other purchases they have to make before move-in day. Here’s some creative and fun ways to decorate your dorm room without breaking the bank!
Painting is a great pastime, as well as a good and affordable way to get some decorations into your room. There’s even a way to involve your family if you have family members. Set up a day where you and your kids or family members are available, and just paint with them!
Walmart and Dollar Tree have some great canvases that you can buy for a really cheap price. Usually, Walmart canvases come in 2 packs for about three dollars. As for paint, both those stores also have really affordable art supplies; Walmart has supplies for around two to five dollars.
Pro-tip from an artist to another: Be sure to get a varnish to finish off your masterpiece. This way, it gets that beautiful finish. Personally, I recommend Kamar Varnish; it’s only six dollars at Walmart. It dries glossy, and it looks amazing.
Whatever you decide to do with your painting, if you want to make it cohesive with your room, you totally can! You can do an abstract painting, you can follow a Bob Ross tutorial, or you can do a completely original idea. The possibilities are endless!
On a budget, getting photos is pretty easy. However, there may be some places, like Target, that got rid of their photo ordering machines so that there’s less contact. Here’s the good news though! Walmart also has a printing service.
If you really don’t want to leave your house just yet, there’s an affordable solution for that. FreePrints is a free app where you can print free 4×6 photos, and you only pay the shipping and handling. This means that a batch of thirty photos will likely only cost you two dollars! If you want square or any other size of photos, than you’ll have to pay extra.
I recently used FreePrints, and I wholeheartedly recommend it. There’s an option to make your images matte, as well, that is free as well. As stated before, FreePrints is free for Android and iOS.
In most university dorm rooms and apartments, the administration won’t let you stick nails or anything permanent on their walls. To combat this, you can get removable wallpaper! Target, Walmart, and especially Amazon all have pretty affordable options for wallpaper.
For wallpaper, anything is possible. Black and white wallpaper, purple wallpaper, gold and white wallpaper; anything you want, they’ve got. Usually, wallpaper is under ten dollars, so it’ll definitely fit into anyone’s budget.
4. Plants and Pottery
If you’re the kind of person who has a knack for plants, or just want some variety in your dorm room, then plants are pottery are the way to go! Just grab a little pot from the thrift store, some fake — or real, if you want — plants, and you’re all set!
You can also decorate the pot, paint it, or put some stickers on it. Possibilities are absolutely endless with this as well. The paint, the pots, and even the fake plants can be bought for a pretty cheap price at Walmart, Dollar Tree, and even Micheals or Joanns. Hit up your local art store or dollar store, and they might just have what you’re looking for.
5. Duvet covers
Now, for the bed. We’ve covered the walls, and even some shelves and desks at this point, but the bed hasn’t got much love. Usually, bed-in-a-bag sets can go upwards of fifty or even a hundred dollars, and we all know college kids don’t have that much money in their budget to splurge on pretty comforters or duvets.
No problem! If you already have a comforter or duvet, just cover it with a duvet cover, and you’re all set. Duvet covers will go for around twenty to thirty dollars in IKEA and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You can even buy several to switch out your style if you wanted to. Definitely no budget breaking here!
You can’t really go wrong with rugs. A good accent rug will complete a whole room, and tie it together. You can do a small furry rug, or a small rug with a saying.
Did you know that you could also make your rug into wall art? Yeah, it’s possible. Just get some strong Command strips and hang that lightweight bad boy up in your room. It’s different, fun, and it’ll give your room a bit of uniqueness, especially if the rug is colorful.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond has some wonderful and colorful rugs for about thirteen dollars, and Target, and IKEA are great hubs for furniture and rugs as well.
Furniture is a perfect way to accessorize a room when sticking things on walls just isn’t enough. We all know how expensive furniture can be, especially during back-to-school times. That’s why Target has you covered with pretty affordable ottomans!
On Target, a simple storage ottoman from Room Essentials is under twenty dollars — way cheaper than most ottomans. They also have other kinds of ottomans with different styles that are a bit pricier.
8. Wall Art
If you’re not up for painting, or simply don’t have the time, wall art is a great way to brighten up those walls of yours. Now, if you can’t really splurge on abstract art that may cost fifty to one-hundred dollars, there’s a solution for that.
Prints! Or you could also just print art and paste it onto your walls.
Etsy is a major hub for art, prints, posters, and wall art. They have a lot of affordable art that won’t break your budget. Since there’s a ton of independent sellers on Etsy, there’s a ton of variety to what you can buy.
For example, there’s a shop on Etsy called tanjaroo that sells Twenty One Pilots prints and artwork that they make themselves!
Other shops also make printable artwork; you print it however you want, and can frame it, tape it your wall, burn it, it doesn’t matter. Most of the time, these printable works of art are much more affordable and stay within budget more than tangible artwork that gets shipped to your home. If you want to see tanjaroo’s shop, it’s right here!
9. Mirror Wall Stickers
This is probably already among your must-have purchases, but nobody said you couldn’t have more than one mirror. In a small space, you can’t always have a full size mirror, so that’s where mirror wall stickers come in handy!
Mirror wall stickers usually come in geometrical shapes that you can arrange and rearrange however you want. This way, you can add a bit more variety to your dorm room walls. Amazon and Etsy are great places to get these wall stickers at an affordable price.
10. Mason Jars
Seems a bit unconventional, right? Getting tons of mason jars doesn’t seem like a decoration piece but you’d be wrong. Many people are turning mason jars into cute pencil holders or planters for their rooms.
The good thing is that if you want to turn some mason jars into something cuter, Dollar Tree and Walmart sell a ton of mason jars in bulk for relatively cheap! Just get paint, paint brushes, look up a tutorial, and go to town on that mason jar!
Whether you’re an incoming freshman student, a transfer student, or someone getting back into college, all of these products and tips will help anyone who doesn’t want to break their budget.
Is there anything here that you’re going to try? Which one? Tell us down below!
Hi! My name is Carolina Cisneros, and I am a new intern at Society 19. I’m so glad to have this opportunity! I have an Associates in Studio Art, and I will be heading into university for Cinematic Arts and Technologies. I plan to go into the animation industry, designing characters and bringing more diversity into the world. For now, I’m building my skills. Thank you for reading!