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How to Trick Out a Dorm Room for Under $500

Living Insights

Moving away from home into a dorm room can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. However, college students don’t have to live in bland surroundings while furthering their education. In fact, for less than $500, any student can turn their blah dorm room into a tricked-out space that is stylish and shows off one’s personality.

Shop Around

Instead of buying the first throw rug or curtains that you like, shop around. Online shopping is often an effortless way to find the most competitive price. Even if you feel the need to see and feel the item in person, finding the lowest price online first can help you get a sense of pricing so that when you go shopping, you can spot a good deal.

In addition to online shopping, thrift stores are a great place to score unique finds at a low price. With a little elbow grease and some creativity, many worn pieces can be turned into showpieces and anchor a room.

Helpful hint for the “not so creative” people: Pinterest is a wonderful site to get ideas, plans, and even places to go to get the best deals. Doing a little research beforehand on sites such as Pinterest are a great way to begin a design plan.

Get Creative

When money is a limiting factor to the perfect style, get creative! If looking for a small table or cute side chair, save money by looking at yard sales or thrift stores. A great find that needs a can of spray paint can turn a dingy looking piece of furniture into a piece of art.

Speak of art, dress of a small wall space with small art. One idea is to add a personal touch or texture while keeping the space clean and classy. Find inspirational quotes or images that inspire and print them off. Find inexpensive frames at the dollar store or local flea market and paint them a bright fun color. By using the same color frames for all of the artwork, the chosen color can be an anchor for the entire room and the art wall can become a focal point.

Manage the Budget

Be in control of spending by managing the budget. It is tempting to want to buy something immediately when you see it in the store, but patience can also mean stretching a dollar and ending up with something completely unique and perfect for the dorm room.

Before shopping, think about what is needed:  storage, lighting, bedding, etc. Make a list of must have, needs, and wants. Categorizing these three ways helps not to overspend in the wants category if the “must-have” category is still full.

Remember, although there may be a limit to your budget, there is no limit to your imagination, creativity, and persistence on finding the best deals for your ideal dorm room.

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