23 Ways to Upgrade Your Dorm Room for $25 or Less
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23 Ways to Upgrade Your Dorm Room for $25 or Less

Back to school season means many things, but one of our favorites is shopping. For new supplies, wardrobe — you name it. It’s a chance to reinvent your personal style. The most exciting, though, is prepping to go to college: That bedroom you’ve lived in since you were three is about to be replaced by something completely new. Something you get to decorate. While we’re sure you’ve already got your Pinterest boards and packing lists organized, we wanted to chime in with a few stellar finds to help you out.

1. Metal Photo Clip String Set ($14): We know you’re super excited about your new adventure, but that doesn’t mean leaving old pals behind. Make sure you have a stylish way to display snaps of your fam + friends.

2. Reversible Chevron Comforter ($17): Chevron is here to stay, and we’re pretty happy about it. The colored-in look of this comforter will match your doodles from those 8am lectures.

3. Quincy Scallop Storage Bins ($20): With the size of most dorm rooms, extra storage is essential. But no one ever said that meant it couldn’t be chic, too.

4. Ofelia Blanket in White ($20): It’s pretty much impossible to know ahead of time whether your room will run hot or cold, so it’s best to be prepared with a multitude of fluffy throw blankets. Maybe you can even get away with bringing this one to class when you read Hamlet.

5. Läborg Rug in Lilac ($20): Battle blah dorm room furnishings with a bright area rug. It will instantly make your room more inviting, and it gives you extra seating space.

6. Rust Japanese Wave Print Curtain ($18): Put that tension rod to good use and install some curtains in your new pad. It’ll feel a lot less dorm-y and a lot more home-y.

7. The Emily + Meritt Meow Tray ($19): Store your bits and baubles stylishly with this catchall tray. Voilà! Your jewelry is not a part of your decor!

8. Flameless Wax Pillar Candles ($15): Learn from our mistakes and don’t even try to sneak in real candles. The fees aren’t worth it. Lucky for you, you can snag a few of these flameless puppies for all the ambience and none of the fire hazard.

9. Travel Laundry Bag ($9): Transport your dirty threads in style with a cosmopolitan laundry bag. Hopefully, you don’t have to transport them too far, like out of the building.

10. Epic Mat ($24): We’re hoping this mat will be a self-fulfilling prophecy (I mean, really, you’re in college — how could it not be epic?). On the practical side, it will also keep you from tracking muddy bootprints into your room come winter. So there’s that.

11. The Emily + Meritt Hanging Stars ($15): This is the grown-up approved update on those glow-in-the-dark stars you had on your ceiling as a kid. And they’re gorgeous.

12. Over the Door Shoe Storage ($24): Take full advantage of your (sadly) limited closet space by hanging your shoes over the door. When it’s open, you’ll never see them, and it’ll be way easier to find that elusive match.

13. Dip Dye Pencil Cup + Letter Holder ($8): Dip dye is everywhere, including on your desk. Keep your supplies organized with this chic set, and what you need will always be stylishly in reach.

14. Washi Paper Tape ($5): You know we love us some washi tape. In fact, we have the perfect DIY for this situation: You may not be able to paint your dorm room, but you can whip up some washi tape wallpaper!

15. Ängsskära Duvet Cover + Pillowcases ($15): This linen set is a steal. And its urban-modern feel will earn you some serious style cred.

16. Tejn Faux Sheepskin in White ($10): This item doubles as a rug and a throw. Though once you feel how soft it is, you may want to start wearing it as a cape

17. Triple Drawer Organizer ($20): We love the sleek look of lucite, especially accented by the pop of lilac. This organizer will be useful anywhere you choose to employ it.

18. Micro 30-Bulb String Lights ($15): We heart string lights so much we even wrapped Brit in them one holiday season. Jump on our bandwagon, and string ’em up all over your dorm room.

19. Watercolor Letters Decal ($8/letter): Make sure visitors make no mistake about whose room they’re entering with these gorgeous watercolor decals.

20. Essential Throw ($24): One of the sad facts of college life is that at some point, something you own will go missing. Make sure it’s not your throw blanket by slapping your monogram on it.

21. Blue Odina Kilim Flat-Weave Rug ($20): No offense to the others, but this is our fave rug on this list. Would it be too much to do a whole room in kilim?

22. Hexagon White Paper Lantern ($8): Stick an actual lightbulb in this lantern (or some string lights… ) for a gorgeous faux chandelier.

23. Large Marquee Arrow in Teal ($13): By now, it’s pretty clear we’re big fans of lights in our decor. We DIY-ed our own Brit + Co marquee light, so if you’re feeling crafty, you can even create your own and save your $13 for something else on this list!

Bonus Tips: You don’t want your dorm makeover hampered by Res Life rules about not putting holes in the walls, etc. With command hooks ($4) and a tension rod ($6) you can hang anything, and no one will be the wiser come May. Contact paper ($6) is a quick way to add color and protect your stuff from who-knows-how-old drawers and bookcases. And most importantly: The bed. You’re going to be spending a lot of time there, and while you may not know who used it before you, you can guarantee your sleeping surface is clean and comfy with a foam pad ($15). Go ahead and consider yourself set for dorm life.

Grads, how did you deck out your dorm room? Freshies, what are you most looking forward to? Join the convo in the comments!