How to Decorate Your Dorm Room on a Budget?

Living alone for the first time can be both exciting and scary. Sure, most students can’t wait to go to college and taste the independence that comes with it. However, how many young people change their minds as soon as they enter a half-empty, standard dorm room? It almost looks unwelcoming and hostile towards any new visitors. No wonder students want to fill it in with personal decor as soon as possible. Though, doing it on a budget can be yet another challenge. Here are some tips on decorating your dorm room on a small budget. 


One of the cheapest and most effective ways to decorate a dorm room must be adding more lights. So, find ways to diversify your lighting situation, bring more colors to the room, and use lights of different brightness levels. Such an arrangement will help you create special moods in the room without much effort. 

Hence, you can have string lights for a warmer, cozier atmosphere. For instance, they create the perfect lighting for movie nights, having some friends over, or having a relaxing me-time. A light string can also be a perfect place to hang your photos or other valuable pieces like postcards, concert tickets, etc. You may get some candles or create cloud lights with LED sources to avoid the heating. Such lighting will be soft and smooth, perfect for a night routine and meditation. 

Also, while you are at it, get a desk lamp or other power lighting source for studying and work. You’ll need to switch the relaxing mode into a working one, and a bright, less warm light is a perfect tool for that. 

House plants 

House plants aren’t expensive and don’t require much financial investment. Though, they will require your time and attention, depending on your chosen plants. Thus, students can go for easy plants like succulents. These are usually small plants that are impossible to kill as they can live for long periods without water. Also, they don’t require much space to grow, just as they don’t change in size. You may just cut any excessive leaves to control their sizes if you want. 

Students can get creative with plant pots, too. For instance, you may hang those plants in a DIY rope situation or purchase hanging baskets in a store. Such hanging plants will add your room a Boho-style look, creating a warm and relaxed environment. 

Of course, you can also purchase several bigger plants to add a more natural vibe to the room. Hence, you can get a Ponytail Palm plant (another succulent plant, but bigger), a ZZ Plant, Monstera, or Sansevieria. These plants can grow rather big, adding so much green to the room, creating a natural, sort of tropical atmosphere. Be careful, though, as these plants can grow very large in 3-6 years while you’re in college. So moving them to a new place will be quite a challenge. 

Removable wallpaper 

Most dorms have rather strict rules of what you can and can’t do with the room’s decor. For one, dorms don’t allow you to change the color of the walls or furniture. Fortunately, you can go around that rule by decorating with removable wallpaper. Such a decor item comes cheap, can cover large areas, will come off easily, and will add a special atmosphere to the room. 

Students can choose wallpapers or stickers of various colors and designs. You may use those on walls, furniture, floor, or whatever else you have in mind. These can be pretty interesting decor pieces, highlighting the style you want to go for and adding more personality to the room. 


You can have a lovely room with a personal style, good quality furniture, and unique decor without spending much money on it. How? Two words – flea markets. Most students love going to such marketplaces hoping to find something unusual, cheap, and extravagant there. You never know what you can find there. Sometimes, you’ll need to dedicate several weekends to such shopping before you can fish out something to your taste. On another occasion, you go there without anything in mind and leave with half of your room’s decor in one day.  

Overall, second-hand marketplaces are the way to go when you are on a budget but really want to create a special aesthetic in your new room. They will surprise you with the variety and uniqueness of offered items.

Online marketplaces

The Internet is full of possibilities. Students just need to know where to look and be active and fast in their shopping. For instance, many online marketplaces offer to trade instead of paying. Perhaps you can trade some of your old things to get the decor you now want. Maybe you do crafts and can offer those in return for items you need. Your other option can be to try online auctions. Some auction sites start bidding with only $1 or even less. So jump on this opportunity to get cool, authentic items practically for free. Visiting all those online auctions and shops will take a lot of your free time. Though, it will be worth it in the end. You should feel comfortable in your dorm room, so do take the time to decorate it. Just make sure to entrust some of your assignments to while you create the ideal dorm room.

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