How to set up a stylish dorm room on a dime

Lia Grainger
Shine OnAugust 23, 2012

For many students, dorm room living is a surprisingly thrilling prospect. There are the new friends and roommates, the escape from mom and pop, and — at last —  a place to call their own.

Unfortunately, dorm rooms themselves are generally not the most spectacular of spaces, but there are a number of easy tips that students can follow to make the most of a limited space and an even more limited budget.

"Most dorm rooms are fairly small and plain. There's usually only space for a bed, a desk and a roommate," says Shelly Kiroff, senior vice president of home and electronics at Walmart. "The easiest way for students to create a fun and exciting dorm space is with colour. Bold colours, playful patterns and different textures can add flare and personality to any space."

Also see: Celebrities who live in modest homes

She suggests colourful bedding as a good place to start, after all, there's a good chance that bed will be taking up the majority of the room. Adding an area rug can also jazz things up.

"Look for colours and patterns that complement bedding and accents," says Kiroff.

She also recommends multipurpose items such as storage ottomans, which an be used as a seat, bedside table and storage unit.

Nate Nerkus of The Nate Nerkus Show points out that a daybed can also work as a couch is an elegant alternative to a futon. He says it's important to declutter and to designate a specific place where each belonging goes, that way it will be easy to keep everything tidy and organized.

Also see: Incredible homes made from shipping containers

Finally, there are some fun finishing touches that can really make the place feel like home.

"Buy fresh flowers from the supermarket or use a beautiful container to store your toothbrush," Nerkus tells O, The Oprah Magazine, while Kiroff recommends colourful toss cushions and softer reading lamps and task lights.

Last but not least, don't forget where you came from: a few small items from home can be a comforting reminder that a loving chat with your parents — and $50 loan for that weekend out with the girls — is always just a phone call away.

Watch the video below about how to make your futon more comfortable.

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