Living Well

How To Create A Budget-Friendly Dorm Room

With another school year coming to an end and seniors looking ahead to next year, I thought I would publish again a popular post I wrote last year, How to Create A Dorm Room On A Budget.



I gave these tips when designing my daughter’s last year, and for those of you who will be sending your child off soon, I hope you find these helpful.




Here goes:


Budget-friendly Dorm Rooms-

While a dorm room isn’t something I create every week, I have been involved in one this summer, and it’s been on a budget.


It’s different than what I normally do- the rooms I design are usually designed for a specific space-  custom bedding, custom upholstery, true wood, etc…


I have been pulling together my daughter’s room for college (yikes- it is really happening), and we wanted to watch what we spent.    We want it to be cute, but because she won’t use most of it for more than a year, our budget was challenging low.


So after hitting West Elm, Target, and a few other sources around town, this is what we created.



Budget- Friendly Room



Budget- Friendly Room




The quality of the pics isn’t great, but you get the idea.   We mixed in a little custom with home store finds to make it as budget- friendly as we could.


Here are a few tips to follow when working on a budget-friendly room at any age…


1.   According to the space and budget, buy the best upholstery you can.

Even for a dorm room, I created a custom headboard.  A nice, weighty piece of upholstery makes such a difference, the quality is much better, and I knew she would use it for three years.  This leads me to my next point……


2.  Mix your pricepoints based upon the piece’s use.

While we spent more on the custom upholstered headboard, we bought a Target bookcase (and the cute baskets) to go in between them.   The bookcase only needs to last a year, and if we end up using it for longer than that, it is a bonus.

The euros, draperies and headboard are “to the trade fabrics”  with the headboard fabric from Schumacher and the euro pillows and drapery panels from Duralee.  The dust ruffle- yes, please don’t tell, is a Target drapery panel reworked with a gray banding added to the bottom of it.   The solid fabric and Greek key trim for the front pillow were found at a local fabric store.


3.  Find your colorway.

I gave my daughter and her roommate two colorway options, and they voted for the indigo blue and gray one.   As you can see, I let the blue be the “pop” and repeated the soft gray throughout.   You see it in the rug, the headboards,in the Target baskets, banding on the bottom of the dust ruffle,etc….


4. Mix patterns.

I love to mix patterns in a space, and the key is to use different scales.   Even for a dorm room, I threw in a solid (a fabric from a local fabric store) to break up the patterns.


Hope this post helps you create a budget- friendly dorm room.  Everyone shows love in different ways, and I showed my love language to my little girl by leaving a little bit of me behind with her.






Cheers to showing how you care in your own special way-




UPDATE:   It is hard to believe my girl’s freshman year in college is coming to an end.  It has been a good one and I am grateful she has made some really sweet friends and has done so well.  Her room held up well- we are reusing her headboard and maybe her pillows next year.   The only feedback I have gotten from her was that the dust ruffle was cumbersome- I loved how it covered up the storage under it, but she felt the dust ruffle was in the way of accessing the under the bed storage.   Maybe it’s time I design a line for dorm rooms that includes custom storage in a chic, functional way that suits us both.



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