Moving in to your first dorm or apartment and decorating it completely from scratch can be a daunting and expensive task! Most dorm rooms are decorated with whatever furniture and accessories the teenager can get their hands on for free or really cheap. But, if you know where to shop and are willing to get a little crafty, you can put together a nicely decorated dorm room on a college student-budget.
Our first step in decorating this dorm room was finding this fabulous upholstered headboard and bed frame for $79.99 at a Goodwill store. This was the foundation piece for the room. Once we had our show piece, we were able to look for neutral color items that would complement. Over the next several weeks, we would drop into different thrift stores to see if anything caught our eye. Some of our favorite finds were the Bella Notte duvet cover ($29.99) and Pottery Barn drapes ($6.99 each panel) that were both brand new in the package at Goodwill! These items would have cost us hundreds of dollars if we purchased them retail.
Next, we needed a dresser, desk, mirror and bedside table. Since we were running out of time before school would start, we decided to forego driving from thrift store to thrift store looking for these items and turned to local online garage sale groups on Facebook (there are also Buy/Sell/Trade groups). Within a few minutes, we had found what we were looking for, negotiated the prices, and went to pick up the pieces. Super simple and a big time saver.
Now that we had all the items, we needed to make them match, so we choose a few colors and got to work. We had read about chalk paint and how easy it was to use. No primer or sanding needed. After watching several tutorials on YouTube, we felt confident that it was almost impossible to mess up and it would make a fun project for the whole family to get involved with. We even painted over the fabric on the chair! You simply seal it with a light coat of wax and it feels like a heavy duty oilcloth. The Bombay chest was a combination of the paint colors we had and we created the “dots” with the eraser on the end of a pencil.
Completing the look with décor is the fun part. A picture of silver trays on Pinterest was the inspiration for the platters over her desk. They were randomly picked up here and there for a few dollars each, this wall was put together for only $21. They can also be used as a magnetized display board. We added a few burlap flowers to an old milk bottle and there you have it! A dorm room put together for under $320!
- Headboard + frame $79.99
- Duvet Cover $29.99
- Pillows $ 9.00
- Bombay Chest $25.00
- Pottery Barn Mirror $45.00
- Pier 1 desk $60.00
- Chair $ 6.99
- Dresser $25.00
- Pottery Barn Drapes $13.98
- Milk Bottle $ 1.00
- Silver Platters $22.00
We used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for our project. The colors we used were:
- French Linen (dresser, desk and fabric)
- Aubusson Blue (chair)
- Old White (mirror)
- Clear Wax
- Dark Wax
The Bombay chest was a combination of Aubusson Blue and Old White.
ps … we are putting this at the end because we did not find this at a thrift store or online garage sale/trading site but it is still a great budget saving tip. We found this flokati faux fur area rug at Walmart for $19.96. To transform it into pillows was as easy as cutting it in half, it had a cotton backing so it already was a “pillow case” that needed to be closed up. Stuffing in an old standard sleeping pillow, taking a needle and thread to whip stitch it shut in about 60 seconds!