4 Tips to Transform a Dorm Room on a Budget

It's that time of year! Heading back to college is such an exciting time...but leaving the comforts of home to live in a dorm or shared apartment room while living on such a tight budget can be hard. Follow these 4 easy tips to make your room feel like home while not breaking the bank.



1- Decorate the walls with items that are meaningful. You can get large frames from IKEA for super cheap. They are also lightweight which makes them great for hanging with command strips. In this dorm room, we printed off some beautiful pictures of places our client had lived. With three large frames, we filled an entire wall with added color and personalization for not very much money.


On the other wall, we hung two rows of string from small clear command hooks and then used clothespins to hang pictures of favorite memories. We had them printed straight from Instagram in a square shape and they turned out super cute.


Other easy wall ideas include:

  • Hanging a flag or piece of fabric.

  • Going to your local thrift store to find fun old frames you can use to make an eclectic collage or paint all one color for a more consistent aesthetic.

  • Create your own art. Get an old canvas from a thrift store or use 50% off coupon at Michaels for a new one, grab some paint, and let your inner artist create something that will add color and interest to your wall.


Whatever it is, get something up! It doesn't have to take money or time, but there is nothing that helps make a house feel more like home than having something on the walls.




2- Add a large mirror to add dimension, light, and serve a function. You can find big beautiful mirrors at Home Goods and IKEA for a great price. If you can't hang things on the walls and it doesn't come with a stand, try leaning it against the wall for a modern look.


3-Hide the clutter!

  • No closet door? Add a tension rod and drape to create one.

  • Do you have a lot of cords, papers, or books? Find bins that can keep them contained and also act as functional decor.

  • Do you have seasonal items or items you don't use often? Try storing them under your bed. Lots of beds can be lifted up on risers to create extra storage room underneath.




Whatever it is, create a place you love to come home to. It is hard to keep clutter at bay when you are sharing a space or even living in your own room that is wearing multiple hats... but it is so worth it. Giving everything a home and making your space look beautiful will improve your focus, your mental well-being, and your stress levels.


4- Add light! Dorm and apartment rooms can sometimes be dark and/or lack great light fixtures. An easy and fun way to add light is to use small clear command hooks and attach white cafe lights to them. In this room, we hung the lights where the wall and the ceiling met and made sure we had a white extension cord to reach down to the plug. A fun added touch is to get a smart plug so you can tell your lights to turn off from the comfort of your bed.


**I just went to Target and they have SO MANY great budget-friendly options for additional seating (ottomans with hidden storage and fun chairs), pillows, bedding, and rugs that are super affordable, and so many things. I promise that when you get creative and shop those deals, you can make magic happen...even on a dime.



I hope you found these helpful. With just a little bit of effort, any space can become a meaningful and calming place to live. I hope your new college home can be just that for you!


XO, Jen



Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.



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