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Ann-Notated: Fun Frugal Dorm Room Ideas

In just a few weeks, our college kiddos will be headed off to school.  Trying to turn a dorm room into a homey space can be a challenging endeavor!  Here I’ve collected a list of great dorm room ideas.  These are DIY projects that aren’t too heavy on the wallet and yet look doable and cute.

Believe it or not, it’s tough to find good frugal dorm stuff.  Many articles claim to be the ultimate list for dorm shopping — and they include a bunch of things that aren’t really necessary.  (Check out my college supply list for what your student will REALLY need! ) Other sites have beautiful decorating ideas, yet there’s no regard to those of us who have a tight budget.  None of the dorm room ideas listed below are “must haves,” but I hand-picked them as projects that would be cheap, easy, and effective at making a dorm room more inviting.  So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy browsing!

Shopping for the soon-to-be college student? Here are some DIY dorm room ideas to take some of the burden off of your wallet!

DIY French Bulletin Board — Fabulously Frugal has a great tutorial for making a bulletin board that looks like it was bought at the store.  The advantage of doing it yourself is that you can use fabric that matches your bedding!

Make Your Own Crate Seats — these look really cute!  This is not a detailed tutorial, but Frugal Freebies has given enough information that anyone can figure out how to make them.

At Christian Personal Finance, they’ve got a list of 30 Money-Saving Decor Ideas for Dorm Rooms.  I confess that I think some of them are kinda silly; but others, like the hanging laundry hamper, seem pretty cool!

This post from Crate Paper describes how to make magnetic bulletin boards out of cookie sheets.  There are also instructions for some adorable magnets!  She uses them to display her child’s artwork, but they would work well for college paperwork, also.

DIY Desk Organizer — I Love Doing All Things Crafty has designed a really cute desk organizer out of aluminum cans and duct tape.  This could be either masculine or feminine, depending on the design of the duct tape.

Gurl has 18 DIY Projects for Your Dorm Room.  I’m actually pretty impressed, because most of these (with the exception of the one with the buckets, IMHO) look doable and stylish.

For a dose of reality, The Odyssey Online has a list of Seven Ways to Make Your Dorm Room Look Bigger.  I thought it would be good to include this to remind ourselves not to go crazy accumulating stuff for a room the size of a postage stamp… 🙂

HerCampus has a post about How to Personalize Your Living Space (i.e., dorm room).  I am including this for the sole purpose of making known the gorgeous desk chair slipcover that is shown.  I think that is a really neat idea!

Camille Styles has a tutorial for Metallic Brick Bookends.  They wouldn’t need to be metallic; they could be school colors or whatever you like.  Guys could even just leave them plain, lol!  Can’t get much cheaper than that!

DIY Drawer Liners from Blue-Eyed Yonder.  You can use nice fabric for these or just find something on clearance.  I love this idea.

There are a gazillion posts about making a dorm room headboard out there.  This one (Easy Dorm Room Headboard Tutorial) at The Old Post Road seemed to be the most frugal and practical.


Any other great ideas? Put them in the comments!


About the author

Ann Karako

Ann has been homeschooling for 20+ years and has graduated four children (one more to go). She believes that EVERY mom can CONFIDENTLY, COMPETENTLY -- and even CONTENTEDLY -- provide the COMPLETE high school education that her teen needs. Ann's website, AnnieandEverything.com, offers information, resources, and virtual hugs to help homeschool moms do just that. 

Ann has written Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: A Step-by-Step Manual for Research & Planning and Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School: Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation. She also founded the popular Facebook group called It's Not that Hard to Homeschool High School, which now has over 27K members; and recently she started the It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School Podcast.

She and her family, including two dogs and three cats, live in rural Missouri.

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Hi! I’m glad you’re here!

I’m Ann (aka Annie), a veteran homeschool mom of five. I believe YOU can do this homeschool high school thing!
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