Decorating on a budget: cheap and easy ideas for decorating dorms and apartments

Megan Moore

Credit: DKS Editors

Need extra storage space?

Instead of hiding the bunk bed ladders in dorms under the bed, they can easily be turned into shelves.

What to do: Lean the ladder against the wall and place your belongings on them. Or you can double them up by laying one in front of the other and placing it in a central location in the room.

Don’t have room for a jewelry box? (Picture 1)

Use a thumbtack or the metal rod used to loft dorm furniture to drape necklaces around.

Want wall art but don’t feel like buying posters? (Picture 2)

1. Cut the logo and paint number off a paint swatch. (Paint swatches are free at local hardware stores or any store with a paint department.)

2. Print off your favorite picture or work of art.

3. Cut out the picture and arrange it on the swatches.

4. Once you have it how you want it, glue or tape the pieces together.

Tip: you can also do the same for your photos instead of purchasing frames.

Want to dress up your desk’s bulletin board? (Picture 3)

1. Cut logo and paint number off of the swatches.

2. Line them up by color or pattern and thumb tack them to the board.

3. Put sticky notes, photos, etc. on your reinvented bulletin board.

Need picture frames? (Picture 4)

What you need: Forks, photos and foam cup.

1. Grab some free forks from the restaurants on campus or fast food places.

2. Weave pictures through each fork’s prongs.

3. Stick forks through the foam cup on all sides.

4. Label or decorate the cup (ex. Family, Friends).

Need a place to put spare change? (Picture 5)

Instead of throwing away the disinfectant wipe bottle when you’re done, wash it out and turn it into a change holder.

Want to decorate for the season? (Picture 6)

What you need: a vase, bath puffs/sponges and fake flowers.

1. Cut long pieces off of the bath puffs and arrange them inside the vase.

2. You can also add a fake floral arrangement.

Tip: For a fall centerpiece, gather small pinecones, buckeyes, leaves and other fall foliage to make a fall arrangement.

Students’ Ideas:

Graduate student Mary Sivulich said one of her friends used an extra desk that his parents bought and turned it into an entertainment center. He took out the drawers and used the open space to store DVDs, a DVD player and his game system.

Junior marketing major Christina Loss said she already had a dining room table but found a vanity and two end tables that matched at a yard sale for $30. She took the mirror off the vanity, hung it on the wall and used the table as an entryway table. She also said she found a coffee table with “crappy” wood on Craigslist, but solved the problem by spray-painting it black. Instead of purchasing a dresser, Loss said she uses a bookshelf to lay clothes on in her closet.

Freshman marketing major Curtis Pennington said he hangs a wire coat hanger from his ceiling with strings that hang blank CDs to decorate his room.

Travis Johns, senior managerial marketing major, said he and his roommates practice the art of “curb shopping,” which is how Johns got his couch and kitchen table. He also said he hangs Christmas lights in his basement for cheap lighting when they have parties.

Contact features correspondent Megan Moore at [email protected].