46 Ways to Decorate Your Dorm on the Cheap
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46 Ways to Decorate Your Dorm on the Cheap

With fall move-in day closer than you think, you best start getting ready for dorm life! Sure, the showers might be freezing cold and the halls smell like socks, but college is the only time when you get to live in the same building with all of your friends, and that makes it all worth it. Even the least appealing dorm room can look so much better with some creativity and a few basic craft supplies. If you’ve already spent your summer money on clothes, shoes and textbooks, check out these inexpensive and colorful DIYs that are sure to turn your dorm room into a space that feels like home.

1. Iron Transfer Floral Duvet: Instead of spending the money on a brand new duvet, just redo your old one with this iron-on technique. Put your printer to good use and make your bedding more attractive with printable iron-on decals! Go with classic florals or choose something even more “you.” (via Design Sponge)

2. Embroidered Photo Holder: Repurpose a boring metal photo holder with embroidery thread for a fun boho feel. (via Trashy Crafter)

3. DIY Coat Rack: The key to a happy dorm room is keeping things off the floor. With just a few tools, you can DIY this cool coat rack in 15 minutes and start hanging those scarves! (via Brit + Co)

4. Pom Pom Blanket: Add some playfulness and color to your favorite throw blanket. You might find you love making these easy pom poms so much that you start adding them to everything! (via HGTV)

5. Gold Dipped Mirror Frame: A full length mirror is crucial in a dorm room, but why settle for a boring frame when you could spruce it up with one of our favorite techniques — color dipping. This mirror kicks it up a notch by using gold paint. (via Pretty Providence)

6. Washi Wallpaper: Dorms are infamous for their bland white walls and the sad fact that you can’t do anything about it. But we’ve come up with the perfect solution and, naturally, it involves washi tape! (via Brit + Co)

7. Tie Dye Placemats: Throw these on your desk for a fun pop of color! These are super easy to make in any color you want. (via Brit + Co)

8. Over-the-Fridge Snack Caddy: Keep all your dishes, silverware and seasonings within easy reach with this fridge caddy. Even though it’s crazy useful, we also love that it adds a bit of color to the fridge, too. (via Buzzfeed)

9. Geometric Mobile: Feeling crafty? Stock up on straws and make this awesome mobile to hang in your dorm room to instantly make your roomies jealous. (via Brit + Co)

10. Personalized Photo Mural: This printable wall mural makes a bold statement without the need for paint or wallpaper! It’s so easy to make you might want a new one for every semester! (via HGTV)

11. State Cork Art: Show off some home state pride with this awesome cork project! Don’t worry, you don’t have to drink all that wine. You can buy bags of corks at any craft store. Technically, you could even pin things to this artsy board! (via Brit + Co)

12. Flower Frame Mirror: Can you believe these flowers are made out of egg cartons? Make a bunch of them to decorate your dorm room mirror or make a little bouquet to brighten up your desk. (via Home Talk)

13. Vertical Garden: This colorful garden will fit in the tiniest of rooms. Hang it as close as you can to the window and you’ll have some perky plants brightening up the dorm in no time. (via Brit + Co)

14. Washi Tape Accents: In case you haven’t noticed, we’re slightly obsessed with washi tape and its many wonderful uses. Just adding a few strips to plain paper lanterns and desk accessories can brighten up your space in no time!  (via HGTV)

15. Macrame Wall Hanging: Bust out your knot tying skills and make this fabulous wall hanging with only two items. Instead of using traditional macrame materials, we used jersey fabric for a fun (so, sooo simple!) take on this trend. (via Brit + Co)

16. Constellation Wall Art DIY: This art is created using a batik, which is a dying method that allows you to create detailed designs. We love star art for a dorm room to remind you to keep dreaming big! (via Brit + Co)

17. String State Art: Show where your heart really is, whether that be back at home or at your new school! This is a really easy DIY, but it looks absolutely gorgeous. You could stick with a single color or alternate different colors for a fun rainbow effect. (via Brit + Co)

18. Color Dipped Chairs: Color blocking is an easy way to revamp old chairs and add some major wow to your dorm furniture. After you’ve done your desk chair, why not paint the desk legs as well! (via Brit + Co)

19. Monogrammed String Art: If you’re going all out with a classy gallery wall, then this spiky piece of art would make an awesome centerpiece! You can do a letter, a heart or any other shape with this easy DIY. (via HGTV)

20. DIY Hanging Shelf: Turn a basic wooden box into a statement shelf using only durable rope, a standard drill and a bright pop of color. It’s always nice to have a little space to display some favorite knickknacks from home. (via Brit + Co)

21. Slouchy Storage Bags: Consider this bag a catchall for your dorm room! You can stash keys, sunglasses, magazines, notebooks and more. Even if it’s empty, it doesn’t look out of place. (via Brit + Co)

22. Customize Curtains: Instead of spending your limited funds on curtains, dress up a pair you already have with colorful trim! You can buy rolls of pom pom and glitter trim from a craft store on the cheap, and create whatever color combos you please. (via HGTV)

23. Color Dipped Stools: If you love the idea of color dipping, we’ve got a couple of really cool variations for you to try on your dorm furniture — ombre and stripes! (via Brit + Co)

24. Simple Shoe Storage: Since you don’t want your fabulous shoe collection strewn all over the floor, consider making these super cute boxes to store them in. We love the little shoe pictures on the outside of the box so you know exactly which pair to reach for. (via Creature Comforts)

25. Neon Straw Hanging Planters: Since floor and shelf space is rare and hard to come by in a tiny room, think vertically. Hang these colorful little planters right in front of the window for lots of sun. Also… can you believe these are made out of straws? (via Brit + Co)

26. DIY Light Ladder: This rustic ladder adds a chic twist to what otherwise might be a drab college setup. Using only two items — colorful string lights and a thrift shop ladder — you can go from dorm room humdrum to super-fab pad in a matter of minutes. (via A Bulls Eye View)

27. Branch Hook: Make this trendy hook for next to nothing! Just grab a branch the next time you spot one laying around and paint it up with whatever colors and patterns you want. (via Brit + Co)

28. DIY Yarn Art: If you love the look of macrame wall art, but aren’t sure you want to do all those knots, this is an even easier project for you! All you have to do is pick your colors, tie them to a found branch and ta-da! Instant eye candy! (via Oleander and Palm)

29. Pom Pom Rug: Soft and plushy, this pom pom DIY has so many purposes! Use it as a cozy rug in front of your bed or hang it on your wall for some fuzzy wall art. (via Brit + Co)

30. Dipped Planters: Just because you live in a dorm, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring nature inside. We love these succulents. They’re super low-maintenance and the pretty planters double as decor! (via HGTV)

31. Wooden Wall Art: Nothing cheers up a dreary room like a dash of neon! (via Brit + Co)

32. Geometric Photo Display: Even though this minimalist frame looks like it’s made of metal, it’s actually made out of string! You could use tiny binder clips, colorful paper clips or even painted wooden clothes pins to show off your best memories. (via The Caldwell Project)

33. Magazine Wall Art: If you’ve got a lot of magazines cluttering up your space, why not roll them up into some cool wall art? The 3D aspect is pretty cool, plus the colors are so fun! (via Brit + Co)

34. DIY Fabric Pouf: You’re usually pretty limited when it comes to furniture options in a dorm room. One bed, one desk and your little space is full. That’s why this colorful pouf is the perfect accent because it doesn’t take up much space, visitors can sit on it and it can be used as an ottoman. (via HGTV)

35. Gilded Polar Bear Bookends: You’re going to need something swanky and fabulous to hold up all those new textbooks! For this DIY, use your favorite animal, whether that be a polar bear or a T-rex! (via Brit + Co)

36. Sharpie Ceramics: Such a fun, inexpensive way to make a really cool set of dishes! Play round with all different colors and patterns and be able to tell yours apart from your roomies’. (via Brit + Co)

37. DIY Beaker Lamp: This one is for all you science-loving gals out there! Use a glass flask, an Edison bulb and a wooden base to create this funky lamp perfect for a sophisticated study space. (via HGTV)

38. Dipped Frame Photos: This is a great way to spice up some framed artwork you find at thrift shops. Just pick some pretty colors and start dipping! (via Brit + Co)

39. Wood Bath Caddy: We love the idea of having a bath caddy that looks just as good on your counter as it does in the bath. Those plastic hanging bags can be a pain to dig through, but with a caddy like this, you can easily see and grab anything you need, even when you’re not in the shower. (via Making Home Base)

40. Geometric Memo Board: This board looks good empty or full of photos. Use bright VELCRO to create a fun pattern and then start hanging all your favorite photos and important notes on it. (via Brit + Co)

41. Dip Dye Duvet: A little bit of dyeing can really add extra life to a duvet you already own. If you hate the color, but don’t want to spend the money on a new one, just dip it in some dye for a whole new look. (via HGTV)

42. Bottle Lamps: Have you ever tried making your own lamp? Check out this DIY to make super cute, tiny lamps to decorate your workspace. (via Brit + Co)

43. Personalized Desk Accessories: Use various containers like mason jars, vases and tin cans to create a matching desk accessory set that will keep all your school essentials organized and within reach. (via HGTV)

44. Color Block Cork Trivet Clocks: Keep your schedule straight with these colorful clocks. We love the infinite number of color and design combinations that you can do with this easy DIY. (via Brit + Co)

45. DIY Typography Pillows: Give yourself something charming to wake up to with these cute typography pillows. All you need are some plain throw pillows, some stencils and your favorite quote. (via Brit + Co)

46. Marbled Votives: Can you believe they used nail polish to get this gorgeous marble effect? If you can’t have real candles in your dorm room, try those little battery powered votives to get the same mood lighting. (via HGTV)

What do you do to make your dorm feel like home? Talk to us in the comments below!