Ever since you got that acceptance letter into the school of your choice you have been dreaming of what your dorm room could look like—but there is just one problem: Decorating is expensive. While there are countless hacks and money saving ideas, the reality is you will probably have to front a bit of cash to get ready to move into your new dorm room. Not to worry! Here are five budget-friendly ways you can spice up your dorm room and not break the bank.

Ask For Hand-Me-Downs

There is nothing cheaper than “free” and decorating your dorm room is the perfect time to start asking around.  Picture frames, bedding, curtains, lights, and wall art are all things that can give your dorm room some personality and are things many people have a surplus of in their home.

Thrift Shops

Thrift shopping can be tedious as your success can be hit or miss, but it can pay off when you discover cheap, unique pieces. Not only will thrift shopping save you money, but you may also find items that speak to your personality more than generic buys from box stores.

Brush Up on Your DIY Skills

The good thing about dorm rooms is that they usually come with everything you need. This means that you can focus your time sprucing up the items that are provided for you rather than spending your budget on big pieces (i.e., a mattress). This is where DIY skills can come in handy. Pinterest, DIY Projects, and Instructible are all great resources for those looking to spruce up their spaces with limits financial commitment. All you need is a trip to the craft store and a little bit of patience can take your space from generic to personalized.


Lighting can transform a room. Lamps, LED lights, and fairy lights can cozy up a space with little effort. Lamps can easily be found second hand and even can be cheap to buy new if you look in the right places. They are also accessible to find.  Big box stores often have lighting options for every budget. LED light and fairy lights come in a variety of colors and styles as well which give you the opportunity to get creative and give your space some flair.

Digitally Download Art

Dorm room walls are notoriously, well …. blah.  Artwork can not only cover up those boring grey walls, but it can bring your personality into the space in a big way. Posters, canvas, photographs, and painting can all bring life to your dorm and are usually easy to find second hand but can still be costly. To stick to your budget, consider looking online for sites that offer art that you can digitally download and have printed at a print shop. These digital downloads are usually only a few dollars and there are thousands of options to pick from.

Discounts for College Students

Many retailers offer exclusive discounts to college students. For example, Amazon.com offers 6 months free and then ½ off the annual subscription to college students. Bed Bath & Beyond also offers discounts to college students. That discount combined with one of their 20% coupon and sales, can really provide a huge savings on dorm room décor. PB Teen and Overstock are also good resources for dorm décor that offer savings.

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