Dorm decor for less: Back-to-school privacy that isn't pricey

Dorm decor for less: Back-to-school privacy that isn't pricey
Dorm decor for less: Back-to-school privacy that isn't pricey

Dorm living can prove challenging, especially the living-with-strangers part. But take it from those who have gone before: There are stylish ways to divide the space without being divisive. And it doesn't have to cost a lot.

When Monja Caughron's daughter Rachel Doyle moved into a dorm at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Tex. (pictured), she wanted to strike a balance between sacrificing privacy and being social. So mom and dad drew up plans and created a bed that resembles a train berth compartment.

The project involved building a full height headboard and foot board that fit around the provided dorm furniture, adding a curtain rod and finally, storage underneath. They even installed a flat panel TV into the new footboard. As her daughter is moving into an apartment this year, the Caughrons have passed this treasured dorm room bed set to another student. To recreate the design, Caughron advises that "getting exact measurements from existing dorm beds is a must!"

Costs: $175 for lumber, paint, cork board, padded headboard and drapes.

This is an excellent way to privatize a dorm room, but college students whose parents aren't as talented or handy can still create personal space. For example, the loft bed hack on the Lovely Undergrad Blog has the look and feel of a curtained-bed project. It was done using the loft bed kit provided by many colleges. (You can rent them for less than $200.)