Moving to a dorm is one of the most stressful aspects of the college experience. Dorm rooms aren’t always the most welcoming or cozy, especially for someone who’s moved out of their home for the first time.
The good news is, it’s up to you to make it more homely. The even better news is, it doesn’t have to be expensive, either.
So, quit googling “how to write my essay” or “how to choose extracurriculars”. Instead, invest some time into making this dorm room your new home. Here are nine inexpensive DIY ideas to freshen up even the blankest dorm room out there.
Spice Things Up with Garlands
Walls are often the first place anyone wants to decorate after moving in. Fortunately, those fancy garlands aren’t difficult to make. Moreover, the sky’s the limit as to what can be used to make them. Here are just some ideas:
- Make pom poms out of yarn.
- Cut shapes out of scrapbook paper.
- Create tassels out of threads or cords.
- Crop some shapes from felt.
Once those are finished, put them up on a thread of yarn or cord. Don’t hesitate to experiment with colors, shapes, and patterns!
Put Your Photos on the Wall
Whether those are family photos or the ones from your Instagram feed, putting them up is a sure way to make any space feel like it’s truly yours. Here are a few ideas for a DIY photo display:
- Stick the photos to the wall using washi or masking tape. Use the grid layout or put them up in the shape of a heart, diamond, etc. (Just make sure the tape won’t leave any marks on the wall beforehand.)
- Use a thread of yarn or a cord to make a photo garland. To put up the photos, get those adorable small clothespins or binder clips. (They can be decorated with paint or washi tape, too!)
- Get a large enough photo or painting frame. Remove the glass and cardboard. String a yarn thread from one side to the other and secure them on the back of the frame with tape. Then, use small clothespins or binder clips to put up the photos.
Never Forget Anything with a Memo Board
There are two most affordable materials for creating a memo board:
- garden mesh.
For the corkboard, stock up on push pins. If you opt for garden mesh, get enough binder clips instead.
Remember: memo board doesn’t have to be just for memos! Think about adding a calendar to it, some postcards with inspirational quotes, or your favorite photos.
Decorate Your Walls (& Anything Else) with Tape
Stock up on washi or masking tape – you can decorate almost anything with it. Doors, walls, storage boxes, pencil holders, drawers – that’s not close to a full list of what can be spiced up with some tape. It’s totally up to your imagination!
Consider making some wall art with washi or masking tape, too. It can be a quote, or a shape, or both. You can also make sure everyone knows it’s your room by decorating the front door on the outside.
Put Up Some String Art
It looks classy, and it’s easily customizable. Beware, however: creating string art involves a fair share of putting nails into the wood.
If you’re convinced string art is your sort of thing, here’s what you’ll need:
- a wooden board;
- yarn, cotton, or embroidery threads.
The process itself is quite straightforward:
- Map out the art itself with a pencil on the board.
- Put the nails into the board along the contours.
- String the threads to outline the shapes.
- Fill them in with more threads.
Make Custom Pencil Holders
If you are a student, you probably have pens and pencils scattered across the dorm room. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.
Instead of spending a small fortune on gorgeous holders, you can make them yourself. Here are just some basic ideas for one-of-a-kind pencil and pen holders:
- Metal can + contact paper or washi tape.
- Mason jar + contact paper or washi tape.
- Plastic bottle + contact paper or washi tape.
Take the basis for the future holder, wash it if needed, and decorate it with the tape or paper of your choice. Yes, it’s as easy as that!
Get Rid of Chaos with Desk Organizers
Organizers aren’t cheap either. The good news is, something as trivial as cereal boxes can be used to make them!
Just cut the boxes to the desired height (for them to fit in the drawer, for example) and decorate them on the outside. (Decorating them on the inside can be a good idea, too!)
Here’s what can be used for decoration purposes:
- washi tape;
- contact paper;
- wrapping paper;
Enliven the Room with Yarn-Wrapped Wall Art
Here’s one more way to decorate your walls with custom art: wrap yarn around cardboard shapes. You’ll need:
- an idea of what to cut out.
The most common idea out there is to cut out a word or several ones for this kind of wall decoration. You don’t have to limit yourself to this, however: come up with a shape or several instead!
Light Up the Room with Garlands
Who doesn’t like a cozy string with lights? If that’s your groove, it’s a good idea to spice up the dorm room with a custom one.
Get a basic string light garland at the nearest thrift store. It doesn’t have to look pretty yet. To make it so, you can use:
- paper cups;
- ping pong balls;
- paper pyramids.
The idea is simple: cut a hole in the chosen decorative element and put one of the lights inside of it. Remember to secure it well enough!