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Budget-friendly dorm decorating

Simple, inexpensive dormatory style

From SheKnows Canada
Styling a university dorm room doesn't have to cost a fortune. Plenty of attractive yet inexpensive items can be found to make this multi-use room look great. Read on to learn some simple and budget-friendly ways to decorate a dorm.

Desk organizing

Decorating a dorm is totally different than dressing up any other part of a house, because it isn't just a bedroom: It's a bedroom, an office, a front hall and occassionally a kitchen and living room as well. That's a whole lot to take into account! And one of the areas that can quickly turn from stylish space to unruly mess is the "office area." Fortunately, however, there are plenty of desk organizing tools that will help keep all a student's items in line and still look great in the process. Walmart's Espresso board can add some personality to the wall in front of the desk. It has two sides to it: One is magnetic, and the other is cork, so important reminders can be written down, and crucial notes can be pinned up with ease.

Espresso Board
Espresso board (walmart.ca, $22)

Bins and shelves

Colourful bins such as Ikea's set of four drawers will help brighten up the space and get any unneccessary work papers or accessories out of the way. Most dorm rooms come with ample shelving for storing bins, bags and boxes. If not, however, Ikea carries many wall shelves to add in all the storage area you need.

Ikea drawers
Ikea drawers (ikea.com, $50)


Dorm rooms are tiny, and that means the focal point of the room will almost certainly be the bed. So you want to make sure the sheets, pillows and duvet accent the space effectively. Your best option here is to go for bedding sets, which means all aspects of the bedding, including throw pillows and other additions that have been carefully engineered to work well together and be aesthetically pleasing. Sears carries hundreds of bedding sets at affordable prices, so finding one that is appealing shouldn't be hard at all!

Odessa bedding collection
Odessa collection bedding (sears.ca, $20 and up)


Dorm rooms tend to have only one light source located in the ceiling, and that simply won't do for students who spend a huge amount of their time reading and studying. So finding an additional light source is essential, not to mention lights can add a lot of style to a space. Canadian Tire's nickel desk lamp is great for late-night studying, and its sleek look is attractive. Or for something with a more earthy, homey feel, check out Ikea's Knubbig table lamp (ikea.com, $17). Lighting is a crucial part of dorm decor, so shop around until you find some pieces that will work best. And don't think you're limited to lights that sit on desks or tables! Wall lamps such as Ikea's Arstid wall lamp or floor lamps such as the Kvart 3-spotlight floor lamp are also exceptional options (ikea.com, $20–$40).

Canadian Tire's Nickel Desk Lamp
Nickel desk lamp (canadiantire.ca, $27)


Most important of all, make sure the space comes together cohesively. This can be achieved most easily through a theme. The theme should be something that can be found at virtually any home decor store, so go for something simple, such as a colour (deep blues and blacks) or feel (modern or natural). This will make shopping easier, as you can focus on pieces that will add to your student's space and make it feel like home!

More on university life

Preparing teens for living on their own in university
Academic success: Help your teen choose the best options
Teaching your teen about time management

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