When it comes to dorm rooms, it’s OK to live large even if a space is relatively small. Each year thousands of students arrive on campus with newfound freedom to decorate their own space to reflect their personality and taste.
Here are some of my top tips for how to design a dorm room on a dime in style.
1. Create an instant wall ‘mural’
Even though it may be someone else’s dorm room next semester, there is nothing wrong with infusing a little bit of your own personality while the room is yours. While painting is an affordable and easy way to add temporary color and personality, removable wall stickers are one of the hottest trends in wall decor right now. From basic designs to the elaborate, they can be the design highlight of any dorm room.
1. Paint wall a solid color or leave white if you prefer
2. Purchase affordable wall stickers
3. Peel and place forming your desired design!
2. No-sew curtain panels
This is one of my most favorite DIY projects ever for creating privacy. Grab some affordable fabric and some fusing tape and you are good to go. All you need is a hot iron to fuse the seams together.
1. Purchase fabric double the width of your enclosure opening
2. Purchase a grommet gun (these both punch holes and insert grommets)
3. Fold your fabric on the bottom at the desired length; add tiny weights if desired
4. Place fusing table in between your hem
5. Use a steam iron (on steam setting) and place on top of hem, causing the fusion tape to melt and create your closed hem
3. Affordable throw pillows
Toss pillows are relatively affordable and the right pattern and or color can really add impact to a space. If you want a budget, craft-friendly idea, why not make toss pillows from affordable scarves?
1. Take two scarves of equal size
2. Face your scarves toward each other with the side you want to expose on the inside
3. Place fusion tape around three sides
4. Use a steam iron (on steam setting) and place on top of hem, causing the fusion tape to melt and create your closed hem
5. Stuff your pillow with batting or with a down insert
6. Close the fourth side by hand using a hand stitch
4. Place treasured items in shadow boxes
Shadow boxes are such a beautiful way to display mementos and even items you may have thought about packing away for good. Postcards, treasured photos, ticket stubs, etc., all work well with multi-dimensional items such as buttons, coins, souvenirs and mementos.
1. Purchase frames with an inset at least 1 inch deep
2. Open the frame, leaving the original matting in place
3. Place your decorative items in the center of the frame (on paper within the borders of the matting)
4. Adhere decorate items to paper using a glue gun
5. Close frame
5. Frame Pieces of Fabric
When it comes to affordable/instant artwork, this tops my list. The beauty of fabric is you can buy it by the yard. Can’t paint? Why not buy yards of printed fabric and stretch it over a frame made of plywood? The result is a colorful print. You can also frame smaller pieces to hang.
1. Purchase an affordable frame
2. Take a piece of fabric
3. Cut to size
4. Frame fabric
6. Make a creative note/tack board
Whether it’s a way to post a visual reminder about an upcoming test or leave a note for your roommate that it’s time for them to do the laundry, tack boards are functional and a staple of any organized dorm room.
1. Purchase an existing cork board
2. Wrap cork board with batting
3. Cover in a bright, bold fabric
4. Criss-cross your favorite ribbon using an alternating pattern
5. Add upholstery tack pins
Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at cathyhobbs.com.