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Dorm Room Drama: 5 Trendy Back-to-School Decor Looks for Under $50

By Larissa Runkle | Aug 12, 2022

We’re smack in the middle of the dog days of August, which means if you have a college-bound co-ed in your family, you’re likely about to embark on a major shopping expedition for dorm staples. And, as you may have already learned, dorm room decor has moved a long way from packing crate furniture and displays of used beer bottles.

But with the current unbelievably high inflation rates, you wouldn’t be the only one wary of spending big bucks on a small dorm room. And yet you want your child to be comfy, cozy, and, yes, on-trend when they are so far from home.

So in the spirit of walking the line between budget and spoiling your college kid—we rounded up five of our favorite affordable dorm decor looks (all under $50) inspired by the design world of Instagram.

Looking to make your student’s dorm room stand out on a tight budget? Keep reading.

1. Fuzzy chair cushion

One of the simplest ways to breathe new life into a stale dorm room? By accessorizing the workspace with a fun chair cushion like we see in this post from @pizuna_linens.

“Adding a faux fur cushion incorporates a Scandi element and adds a fun texture to any style room from modern to boho,” says designer Sandra Moreno, of Studio No. 8. “You can find plenty of affordable options from stools to rest pillows that are great for sitting back with a good book. And if you want to upgrade your desk chair, pick up a faux skin and drape it over the seat.”

Get the look: Zhuzh your student’s workspace with this faux fur chair cushion.

2. Floating shelves

Is your college student looking for more ways to display books and mementos this semester? Then why not try a few floating shelves like these ones from @craftwarehouse.

“Floating shelves are lightweight and easy to hang, making them ideal for a dorm environment,” says designer Liz Toombs, of PDR Interiors. “Adding shelves to the walls supplies students with more storage or display space in a room that is short on those opportunities. In small rooms, it’s smart to utilize vertical space since square footage is lacking.”

Get the look: Add shelves, space, and style with a set of these Wallniture Ponza shelves.

3. Bold tapestry

For an instant color boost (and to cover up an ugly dorm wall), you might just want to get one of these bold tapestries as shared by @interiorfinesse.

“A colorful tapestry brings much needed color and depth to stark dorm room walls,” says Moreno. “It’s like hanging a giant piece of art that instantly brings the room to life. Coordinate bedding and accessories, and you are living in style! Bonus points for how easy this tapestry is to install and take down.”

Get the look: Find the perfect tapestry for any dorm by shopping the collection at Society6.

4. Twinkling doorway

Another hanging affordable masterpiece we love in dorms? Twinkling doorway lights like these ones from @home.decorrating.

“The twinkle lights bring sparkle to an otherwise bland room,” says Moreno. “Turning them on at night transforms the mood in the room, and the dim lights make hanging out a bit more cozy. In a shared space, it could also serve as a partition, marking the different zones in the room without closing anything off.”

5. Bed-end cart

Storage always seems to be lacking in small shared spaces like dorms, but this stylish bed-end cart from @dormify answers the call perfectly.

“Typically, dorm rooms are equipped with one desk and one dresser per occupant,” says Moreno. “I don’t know many students who don’t need a lot more storage for their personal items, snacks, toiletries, coffee supplies, etc. Carts are the perfect size to store things in an organized fashion, and they fit just right under or at the foot of the bed.”

Get the look: Increase stylish storage with this three-tier rolling cart.

Follow us weekly for trends this year!

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