When you first make the move from the family home to the campus, it can be a jarring experience. Besides being out on your own, you suddenly have a brand-new space that’s entirely your own, too. Unless you share your dorm room, you are free to take it in any direction you like.
Of course, most students don’t have the budget for a detailed renovation, but you do want to incorporate your own sense of style without waiting too long. You want your new digs to feel like your space, your home. So here are a few ideas of how to quickly and cheaply transform it to make it more “you”.
Add a little life
A brand-new room can feel a little lifeless and houseplants make an easy way to change that. If you want something less costly and low-maintenance, then a cactus or two can add that splash of green without as much effort.
Decal your bedsheets
Rather than having to spend money on brand new duvet covers, you can update your design with just a little work. You can find iron-on duvet decals, including detailed floral designs, that allow you to print and apply a little of your own personality and flair. Perfect for adding more “you” to cheap white or off-white bed sheets.
Make your own tapestry
Like the idea of using a tapestry to liven up your walls or act as a makeshift window treatment? You can customise the look even more by creating your own designs. Buy a cheap white sheet and tie-dye it yourself to create your very own tapestry designs. It’s the perfect way to add a little of your own creativity and your unique stamp to the room.
Give it some ruggish charm
Rugs can be expensive, especially if you’re buying larger ones. But they do add some dimension to otherwise bare floors as well as their all-important tactile comfort. By buying smaller rugs made from low-cost materials like sisal or polypropylene, you can cover as much space as a more expensive rug while adding a little more depth than a solo rug might provide.
Get hung up on storage
Dorm rooms might not, on average, be known for the huge amounts of storage space they offer those who live in them. However, you can add more space for your stuff without having to invest in furniture that will leave you cluttered and closed in. With removable wall hooks, you can hang embroidered hampers, baskets, and more that give you extra space without taking up too much room.
Build a bed canopy
Most landlords or dorms won’t allow you to fashion a complete canopy with nails. However, with command hooks easily affixed and removed from ceilings and walls, you can use string to add draping around the bed. This can really give it a sense of peace, luxury and solitude when you just need a place to relax.
Liven up your windows
You might not be able to afford or be allowed to hang a brand-new set of curtains. However, with a dowel rod and removable hooks, you can easily hang some of your lighter, prettier scarves to give a little more depth to the design around your windows.
Printable wall murals
Your walls offer plenty of space to add a little personality to and without your own touch, they can look remarkably bare and lifeless. Besides some of the other options mentioned, you can turn a wall into a scene entirely of your own choice and creation.
Digital image wallpaper and digital murals allow you to choose and print any design you wish. Your walls can tell any story, display any vista, and give a new sense of space and surroundings without much cost at all.
Take the same concept and apply it your pillows. There are printable pillow and cushion cases that allow you to easily create a comfy display of some of your favourite art and photos. Not only do cushions add a touch of softness and warmth to any space, but now they can bring some of your most meaningful images to life at the same time.
Use some washi tape
Washi tape is a bright, colourful tape that can be added just about anywhere. Stuck to door frames and bookshelves, it can immediately add a little personality and liveliness to otherwise dull spaces.
It even works for photos
We’re not quite done with washi tape just yet. If you want a collage or display of multiple photos, then buying multiple frames can get pretty expensive. Instead, it’s time to turn back to washi.
You can use multicoloured strips or using contrasting block colour strips to create borders for your photos that draw the eye and add an extra little layer of brightness and life to fond memories.
Hang your look
Particularly above the headboard, hanging a low-cost, decorative rug on the wall can help clear up some of the blank space and give a little more attention to design flairs that might otherwise be missed if they’re on the floor. Tapestries of all kinds work just as well.
Paper over the cracks
Do you have some furniture, perhaps a coffee table, that has seen better days? Maybe a little crack in the wood has made it unsightly or you’re just getting bored of the design. Your dorm room might have its own furniture entirely lacking in personality.
Removable wallpaper creates an easy way to spice it up with some extra design. Easy to apply and easy to remove, just make sure you use a coaster as spilt drinks can rather easily spoil the charm.
Show off your love
Nothing reflects our personalities quite as well as our tastes. If you have a hobby or particular media that you love, why not make a display out of it?
You can hang record covers, stick records themselves, repurpose book covers, or make a display out of almost any hobby on the wall. Framed movie posters make a great addition, too. Beyond looking cool, they can become an instant conversation starter.
Make memories all the fonder
The wall and the shelves of the room are the perfect place for a photo collage or a digital photo display. The latter can display hundreds of photos in set orders and patterns, helping bring a little familiar warmth to a new room.
Make snacking a joy
A snack caddy can be easily hung over a countertop or a mini-fridge. These little cloth storage units with wire trays on top give you the perfect place to hang your cutlery, plates, and store your condiments without taking too much space
Know where you are
Maybe you’ve had a year to travel the world some, or you want to inspire yourself to see more in the future. Adding a map to the wall can get rid of some of that painfully plain space. With a Scratch Map, you can even create a colourful interactive design that looks better the more you’ve travelled.
Organise your workspace
You are likely going to want a desk or some kind of space designed for all the coursework and projects you do. A stationery tray can easily be replicated with old, vintage cans or glass jars.
On the wall, meanwhile, hang up a magnetic notice board or a cork board and buy a cheap pack of pins that allows you to easily track different projects and resources without paperwork flying all over the room.
Illuminate the possibilities
Twinkle lights are inexpensive and highly customisable ways of adding a little warmth and glow to different parts of the room. They can give an extra sentimental edge to a photo display on the wall or shelves. You can even create cardboard letter designers to fit them into if you want to see your name up in lights.
From bathroom to dorm room
Bathroom trays are multi-layered storage pieces made of inexpensive metal. With a lick of paint, however, you can give them an extra bit of colour that makes them a perfect fit for the dorm room. Used in place of a more expensive nightstand, they give you the perfect room to store all your essentials without taking up too much space.
Fake it till you make it
Artificial flowers make for an inexpensive way to liven up a few different parts of the room. If you have a wall length or free-standing mirror, you can just glue them to the corners to pretty it up a touch. If you have a makeshift stationery station using glass jars or vintage cans, you can bookend them with a container of flowers on either side. Make your workstation feel just a little more “you”.
Hopefully, the examples above give you some ideas on how you can turn your new dorm room into a home.
You’re going to spending plenty of time there, so making it as comfortable a haven as possible and reflecting your personality throughout its design can make it all the more pleasant a place to be.