5 Affordable Ways to Decorate Your Dorm Room

In need of cheap and affordable ways and ideas to decorate your college living space? Look no further. I have compiled my favorite ways to decorate a dorm on a budget that is doable by anyone and everyone. Get ready to be inspired by the 5 ways that helped me decorate my dark and boring room to being welcoming and chic.

1. Removable Wallpaper / Contact Paper

Empty walls are tiring to look at – and boring too. A quick and easy fix to this problem is removable wallpaper or contact paper. They come in various colors and patterns so do not worry, there is definitely something for you. You could buy a solid color, a pattern, or a pattern that has texture; there are thousands upon thousands of choices to pick from. It is also very accessible and easy. Many of our favorite stores sell these items for a low cost, such as: Target, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Lowes, Amazon and many more. So, do not freak out, you can easily get your hands on these to deck out your dorm room.


While removable wallpaper is great for walls, contact paper is amazing for putting on furniture. I have friends that went out and bought marble contact paper and stuck it to their bathroom counters to make their bathroom Pinterest worthy. If you are living in a dorm room or an apartment and have a desk that is ugly, like mine, go ahead and stick this sucker onto the desktop to transform it from dull to classy.


2. Photos

Now, this is an obvious one – photos! Every year when I am getting ready to head back to college, I always go through my photos that I’ve taken over the past year and choose a bunch that makes me happy. Ones that remind me of fun memories, ones with my family and friends, ones with my pets and even ones of my favorite musical artists. I love to hang as many photos as I can on my walls because it gives me a sense of happiness, but it also has a comforting effect. To any individuals that are going to college or to any current students, I highly suggest considering hanging photos in your room. It is an easy and cheap way to spice up any room and make it feel more like home.


Getting pictures for your room is surprisingly more affordable than you think. You can either put the pictures together on a document and print them from home, or you can do what I do, get them printed at a photoshop. Snapfish, an online photo printing site, is the best website I have used to get photos printed. They almost always have a deal going on for a discounted price on prints. New customers receive a discount code of 50% off of their first order, but if you do your searching, they usually have better deals available. I have gotten a discount where I got 99 prints for one cent each – and to skip paying to ship it, you can send it to the nearest CVS or Walgreens. Coming from someone that has done this plenty of times, trust me when I say, attaining photos for your dorm is absolutely do-able, and you will certainly love the addition of memories surrounding you on your walls.


3. String lights

If you are like me, you are obsessed with fairy lights because they are both adorable and useful. You can never go wrong with adding string lights to a room, right? Right. I have always had a strand of lights that I hung in my room for as long as I can remember, without them, my room just does not feel complete. Not only do they serve as decoration, they also provide you with soft light at night when you want to get cozy in bed and turn off your lights to enjoy a Netflix binging session. I personally do not like laying in my room in complete darkness when I am watching my favorite shows because I know I would fall asleep.


String lights have a calming effect on me too – the sparkly and gentle twinkling lights are downright mesmerizing. I have always put warm white lights up in my room rather than color, but the choice is totally up to you. The best deals that I have found for string lights have always been on Amazon or during the holidays at Target. Amazon has better options for fairy lights, for sure. You can score a 30-foot-long string of lights for a low price of $15 – you cannot beat it! Now, if you are in the search for Christmas lights, Target has string lights, both colored and white, for $2.99. It all depends on what kinds of lights you are looking for and also how long of wire you are in the need of.

4. Plants

This is without a doubt, my favorite element to incorporate into my college bedroom. I used to be scared to have plants in my room because I did not think I would be able to properly care for them and keep them alive. However, if you get the right type of plant, there is no need to worry. College students do not have time to take care of plants every day, I certainly do not. A quick and easy fix to this little problem is to get low maintenance plants – ones that do not require your attention on a daily basis. Some examples of these types of plants include cacti, succulents, aloe vera, bamboo palm, and orchids. You are bound to find something that catches your eye and matches your lifestyle.


There are many positive effects of having plants in your bedroom too. According to Nectarsleep.com, plants in a bedroom can help purify air, relieve stress, and help make your room feel more alive. Now if this does not sound like exactly what a college student needs, I do not know what does. I am always on the lookout for new stress relief items because let’s face it – college kicks our ass.

5. Washi Tape

Similar to removable wallpaper and contact paper, washi tape is great to decorate furniture and walls in your room. In my sophomore year of college, I lived in the traditional dorms… yuck. I assume we can all agree, no matter what school you attend, that these rooms are definitely not the prettiest. I had these god awful brown colored closet doors and I just could not bear looking at them. So, I decided to go out to the store one day and pick out my favorite patterned washi tape. Within 10 minutes, I had created a design on my closet doors with my washi tape which made them more bearable to look at. I also used the same washi tape to outline my desk drawers, it’s not much but it adds a personal touch to your living space. You can also use washi tape to outline photos that you are hanging on the wall to create a sort of frame around it. I have seen many friends do this in their rooms and let me just tell you, it is adorable. You just cannot go wrong with adding pops of color throughout your room.


Although only 5 ideas were discussed, the list could go on forever. Every day, new décor and DIY trends are being created and people are getting more creative with how they decorate their living spaces. I hope you are able to take some of these ideas to utilize or to create your own, better version. Remember, use your imagination and creativity take over when you are decorating, you want your space to reflect who you are as a person.


Photo Credit: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5