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Cool Dorm Digs on a Budget

Hoping to start college in style?  No problem!  Erica Friedland Tufaro, an architectural and interior design expert, teaches you how to decorate your dorm room on budget.  From insider secrets to hidden bargains use her top 10 list as a cheat sheet for creating the coolest and chicest pad on campus.

1.  Personalize Your Pad
Stores like Target have color coded their websites so that you can just pick a color you like and the site will show you an array of dorm room décor available in that shade.

2.  Store Smart
Shop big box stores for color-coordinated plastic and canvas bins for extra storage.  Place additional school supplies, linens and accessories on shelves neatly with style.

3.  Score High With All-Season Rugs
Try to shop for an indoor/outdoor rug, especially if your dorm room has nasty concrete floors.  They come in high style these days, are inexpensive and the inevitable spills wipe up easily.  Don’t forget the rug pad.  Put a small sheepskin or something else fun and cozy right next to your bed.

4.  Add Finishing Touches
Purchase a chalkboard wall decal at PB teen to keep track of your schedule or check out Target for a peel-and-stick rhinestone chandelier. You can also find picture frame decals or monogram decals.  Decorate your refrigerator, door, anything!

5.  Major in Bargains
Shop stores like Home Goods for great deals on bedding.  Stick with a neutral quilt or duvet and personalize with fun pillows you can switch up each year. Shop early in the season; you may have to go back more than once to get a great deal on something you love.

6.  Show Your Brilliance with Mirrors
Go big with a mirror.  Try Ikea for a great deal on an oversized mirror that will add light and space to your room.

7.  Take Credit in Arts and Crafts
Use a stapler to attach a fun fabric to one or more large pieces of Homasote that can be purchased and cut at a store like Home Depot.  For next to nothing, you can create original artwork that can be used as a tack board for photos, notes, etc.  You can even go big and upholster the whole wall!

8.  Apply the Rules of Nature
Add one nice sized plant.

9.  Avoid a Boring Study Hall
Window treatments if provided are usually blah in the dorm.  Make it feel like home by adding some fun, inexpensive drapery panels.

10.  Graduate with Comfort
If you have room for a soft chair, try picking up an inexpensive one from a chain store.  Be mindful of scale.  An alternative place to sit in your room will keep friends off your bed keeping it tidy and clean.

Hope Daniels is a freelance writer based out of the tri-state area. From pets to parenting to pop culture, you can ask her to write about any life topics, just don’t ask her for directions!