D.I.Y. Dorm room decorating ideas for students on a budget

Taylor Villescas

You are freshly moved into your new dorm: it’s your own space of reflection and self-expression…well, half of it anyway. Once you clear away the cardboard boxes and dust off the 1970s era furniture, it’s a pretty blank slate. Conquer the space and decorate to your heart’s content with these do-it-yourself design tips.

String lights can transform any room

As hipster as this sounds, string lights can really do wonders for a room. They provide soft lighting and create a calm atmosphere for any frantic, three in the morning cram session. Also, they are relatively cheap, which is a plus for any student. However, the appeal of string lights plummets once the lights go off and you are left with some clunky wires hanging on your walls. But fear not! There’s hope for your decor!

To spice up those lights, grab some cupcake wrappers and prepare to work a little craft magic.

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Supplies: cupcake wrappers, scissors or an exacto-knife, and patience. Photo credit: Taylor Villescas / Features Editor
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1. Fold the cupcake wrapper into fourths or fifths. Cut the cupcake wrappers into petal shapes (Make sure they stay in one piece!). And don’t forget to cut some leaves for your flowers. Photo credit: Taylor Villescas / Features Editor
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2. Once you are satisfied with the shape, unfold the wrapper(s) and gently push it over one of the bulbs on the strand of lights. Photo credit: Taylor Villescas / Features Editor
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3. Turn on your lights and admire your handiwork! Photo credit: Taylor Villescas / Features Editor

Get creative and play with shapes, colors and layers of wrappers.

 

Never forget your keys again

Don’t be the person who forgot their key, and is left stranded outside of their dorm room with bags full of groceries and no one home to let them in, because it is not fun (yes, that is a personal story). A big part of dorm life is getting in the habit of always having your keys, and a great way to do that is to always keep it in the same place.

Decorate a small saucer or bowl and get in the habit of keeping your keys, wallet, chapstick, and any other everyday necessities inside. No counter space for a saucer? Grab a door hanger, paint, markers, cloth and some glue. Decorate as much or as little as you would like! Add some pockets or a small box to it, or maybe just use it as a space to attach your to-do lists and notes to yourself. Make sure you hang it on your bedroom door or front door, so you could never leave your dorm without seeing it and remembering the little things.

 

Cork board is your friend

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Organize a blank cork board with strips of paper or ribbon to create a wall calender that is both functional and adorable. Photo credit: Taylor Villescas / Features Editor

Instead of putting a hundred pin-prick holes in your dorm wall, save yourself time and fees ( at the end of the year, Student Housing charges students for putting holes in their wall) and buy some cork board. It can be easily attached to the wall with double stick tape, and can be bought in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

With a little determination, patience, and a lot of push pins, the cork board presents infinite possibilities: hang up photos of family and friends, beloved celebrities, drawings, important notes, or even dedicate a board to your aspirations and fill it with goals for the semester.

To make a cork board decorative and useful, fashion it into a calendar. By using some paper and steady scissors, separate sections of the board into days of the week or even a month. It’s a great way to stay organized and keep a visual tab on assignments.

 

Pin-up your photos

Another way to avoid defacing your wall while putting faces on your wall is hanging up photos via a string and pinning them with clothespins. It’s a quick and easy way to hang photos or other artwork. Getting creative with this is also easy: just decorate the pins with paint, attach buttons or fabric flowers or find fun clothespins at the local craft store.

 

Stay organized

There are plenty of ways to stay organized, but it is a little harder to accomplish in a small space. To save space and hair tearing, get an over-the-door shoe organizer, and use it for whatever you need! Like to organize your ramen and snacks in alphabetical order? Perfect! Need a place to keep school supplies and your excessive amounts of flashcards? Wonderful! These organizers are usually cheap, and they’ll keep everything organized and out of your way.