Decorating on a budget — Spruce up your dorm room or apartment to feel more like “home”

Dorm room decoratingBy now you’re either starting a brand new semester or packing up shop at home to shortly return. If you find your home away from home to be not quite homey enough, there are some easy tips to set things right. To combat the homesickness that quickly snuck in during my semester abroad in England, the first thing I did was decorate my room. You wouldn’t believe what a few posters on the walls and pictures on your shelves do to lift your spirits when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Now that you’re ready for spring semester, you’ll need to learn how to start decorating on a budget to make your space more like home!

Where to shop

If you’re lucky enough to live close to an IKEA, I’m sure you’ve already familiarized yourself with their fabulously modern European designs (and how perfectly you could decorate your space on a small, non-existent budget!). Both the IKEA store and website offer several ideas for decorating a small space with loads of character. Take, for example, their bedroom ideas page that allows users to check out different setups for bedrooms. You can click around the sample rooms and get ideas for storage, bedding, closet space and wall decorations! Best part is if you’re not digging their choice of bedding, for example, you click on “more quilts” or “more pillows” and search other patterns. And if IKEA isn’t quite within your budget, you can use this handy app to find ideas, then search for similar products in discount or secondhand shops.

If you’re not sure if you can paint your walls or not, you may want to consider adding wall decals to spruce up the place a bit. The decals are easy to apply and can be reused when you move next year. Amazon has over a million designs to choose from, but consider narrowing down the choices by searching:

  • Wall quotes
  • Scenery
  • Designs

Extra items to consider bringing along

Both Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond have a huge selection of goods for your dorm room or apartment; and now that it’s after that first fall “back to school” rush, you should be able to find great deals on the rest of your wish list items including:

  • Posters
  • Artwork
  • Movies
  • Lamps
  • Small appliances

Because most campuses have strict appliance rules, you may want to check with your school’s policies before running off to purchase a slow cooker. But, if allowed, the slow cooker will be your best friend this winter. You can get the smaller size for under $25 and you’ll be able to have a home-cooked meal every week with little effort. If you can couple that with a mini fridge, you’ll be set for the school year!

Even more ideas!

Kayla Kitts’ HGTV post titled “Chic and Functional Dorm Room Decorating Ideas” features 20 different ways to “turn your college dorm room into a stylish and efficient space ideal for studying and relaxing.” Before you go there, know the site isn’t only directed at ladies! There are tons of ways you men can turn your dorm room into the ultimate man cave. For instance, loft the beds to make more space on the floor for gaming.

Adding a rug to the floor can really brighten up the place and you might want to check into a second hand store in your town for great deals. Consider having the thing steam-cleaned before adding it to your dorm, just to be on the safe side!

So, before you become fully engrosses in keeping your head afloat during the new semester, now is the perfect time to add some color and function to your living space to ease the stress of classes.

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