13 Simple and Inexpensive Dorm Decor Ideas

Dorm Room with Storage Bed and Desks

Elliott Kaufman / Getty Images 

Whether you're excited or a little bit nervous, starting college is a totally new experience. A homey, personalized dorm room is the perfect way to ease that transition. But maybe you can't afford the tricked-out MTV Cribs-style rooms you've seen all over Instagram. Don't worry—we've got you covered with super easy and low-cost ways to make your space your own!

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    Colorful Accents

    Colorful dorm room
    Corinne Malet/Getty Images

    Maybe you won't have a single as spacious as this one your freshman year, but you can still borrow the beautiful color scheme. The orange accents in this room add life and flair to what otherwise would be a drab empty space. You won't need too much furniture or extra decor if you play your colors right.

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    Faux Flowers

    Faux flower garland wall decor
    Sweet Teal via Pinterest

    Faux flower garlands are the next big thing right now—they're the perfect way to add a little life to a bare wall without spending tons of cash on expensive posters or tapestries. Pick your favorite flowers, grab some string, and get crafting with this totally DIY-able decor.

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    Creative Curtains

    Lofted bed curtain dividers
    The Finishing Touch Blog via Pinterest

    Want a little more privacy? Just looking to divide the room up a bit? Curtains are an easy way to add colorful pattern and some order to your dorm. If you've lofted your bed it's a great idea to hang curtains from the railing. It'll give you a little extra personal space—perfect for those not yet used to living with a roommate.

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    Geometric Wall Shelving

    Wall shelving dorm decor
    Homeastern via Pinterest

    We love this totally chic wall shelving! Geometric decor is totally in right now, and extra storage space is a must in a cramped dorm room, especially when massive shelving units are not in the budget. Dress up your walls with a variety of different shapes for easily storing books, jewelry, makeup, or small trinkets. 

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    Arty Found Posters

    Dorm wall decor
    The Design Files via Pinterest

    Huge movie and music posters can get pretty expensive as well as pretty generic. Who wants to have the same wall art as everybody else in your dormitory? Collecting postcards, finding interesting flyers, and even making and hanging your own artwork is a great way to decorate the walls and flaunt your personal style.

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  • 06 of 13

    Hygge Vibes

    Hygge room door decor
    domino magazine via Pinterest

    Feeling a little homesick for your comfy living room couch? Dealing with sad linoleum tiling? Finding a cheap loveseat or futon at a garage sale or flea market is a lot easier than you'd think, and tracking down affordable rugs is just as quick. Add some plush to any standard cinderblock dorm room and you'll feel at home in no time.

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    Paint Your Own Tapestry

    DIY tapestry dorm decor
    Society19 via Pinterest

    Okay, tapestries can get really pricey, especially if you're looking for one to cover your entire wall, but it's easy to improvise and make your own. Stretch out an old sheet in the backyard or basement and get creative with some paint! You don't need to be an artist to paint polka dots, stripes, or even just paint splatters. Tapestries are a great way to fill up empty wall space, and by making your own you can match it to any style you want, like this cactus-themed room here.

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  • 08 of 13

    Upcycled Storage

    Upcycled bar cart dorm decor
    Society19 via Pinterest

    Repurposing old disused furniture is a great way to decorate with a utilitarian twist. Do your parents have a bar cart they never use? Instant mobile shelving! Old wicker baskets collecting dust in the attic? Perfect for your textbooks! Repaint chipped finishes, tighten old screws, and add your own flair to items from your own home for incredible dorm storage doubled as decor.

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  • 09 of 13

    Light Up Your Space

    String light DIY dorm decor
    Gurl via Pinterest

    Creative lighting solutions have come a long way since just hanging twinkle lights above your bed. But if you can't shell out for paper lanterns or glass bulbs, this DIY lamp is a great way to use those same twinkle lights in a fresh way. Grab an old glass jar, fishbowl, or a geometric terrarium like the one here, and you've got a unique and bright addition to your bedside table!

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    DIY Paper Bunting

    Paper bunting dorm room decor
    Dormify via Pinterest

    Cute paper bunting is a great way to dress up wall space. It's also an easy DIY. There are tons of templates and formats out there on the web and even right here on The Spruce. Pick a pretty pattern, spell out a message, or just choose your favorite color and you're all set to go.

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  • 11 of 13

    Album Cover Wall Art

    Record wall art dorm decor

    If you're a music fan, this wall decor idea is perfect for you. Decorate with the albums that matter most to you! If your parents have old records or you're a collector yourself, pick your favorites and post them on up. If you're not really a vinyl buff, there are tons of cheap old records with cool album art available at your local music shop or at area garage sales.

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    Magnificent Monochrome

    All white dorm room decor
    F Yeah Cool Dorm Rooms via Pinterest

    Clean white bedding is a classic look that never goes out of style. And if you're into the monochrome look like we are, a dorm is the perfect blank slate. Chances are your walls won't be painted anything special, so all that's left is your bedding and a few matching pieces of wall art. We love the crisp white in this room against the neutrals of the wood furniture.

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    Vintage Vision

    Vintage dorm room decor
    Teen Vogue

    Dreaming up your perfect dorm room doesn't have to mean the fanciest, most modern decor. So you're an old soul? Go vintage with antique lamps, yard sale maps, and an old-timey bedspread. This is an unbelievably easy style to emulate, just head to your local consignment store and get thrifting.