From drab to fab: Dorm decorating on a budget

two college girls decorating their dorm roomSchools offer dorms for efficiency, not elegance, meaning many lack pizazz. The cramped space, stark walls and dim lighting can make your study spot seem more like prison than home. Avoid dullness and start this school year with style by investing in the following dorm decorating ideas.

Spice up those bland walls with dorm decorating decals. Who ever said stickers were only for kids? Embrace your creativity with a variety of wall stickers aimed toward older customers. Pick any theme from abstract designs to nature-based. Check out spots like Roommates Peel and Stick where most decal prices range between $13 and $25. Blik Wall Decals has a huge variety of stickers and also offers a customize option, where customers create personalized wall art for dorm decorating.

Cover dorms' old, stain-sprinkled carpeting by decorating with a funky rug. Ikea sells hundreds of rugs for under $50 in every color, shape and size imaginable for dorm decorating. Spend a little more for a wider range of options from Bold Rugs.

Gain privacy and style in dorm decorating with some bold curtains. Target's curtains come chic and cheap, many of them costing less than $30. Walmart has devoted an entire section of curtains to college students, with all of them under $20. Curtains also work as perfect concealers for those all-too-common door-less dorm closets.

Avoid fighting for a spot in the community bathroom's mirror by decorating your dorm with your own. Ikea offers unique options such as the alien-esque Figgjo ($20) and squiggly Krabb ($15 per two-pack) mirrors. Let your creativity shine by building your own reflective collage with the furniture store's Alg mirrors, which go for $20 per four-pack. Just stick the little squares on the wall or door in any shape or pattern.

Shed a new light on your study materials, literally. Decorate your dorm with lighting that fits your style. Macy's has a whole section of discount floor and table lamps right now for dorm decorating. Home Depot offers both classic and wacky lighting options starting at $13.

Nothing goes better with college dorms than posters. Do some dorm decorating with favorite actors, musicians and painting replicas for cheap. Five Dollar Posters offers, you guessed it, an array of posters for only $5. For more specific endeavors, visit specialty stores such as Chicago's Poster Corner, which also offers the option of shopping online.

When dorm decorating, try to aim for items that can be used for years to come. For example, the crazy, neon rug may seem intriguing now, but a neutral color will match more and, therefore, could be used in the future. Remember, college years are frugal ones so aim to save by purchasing decorations to use in dorms and apartments for an entire college career.
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