Creative, cheap ideas to improve dorm room decor

Melissa Fields, junior marketing major, shows off her window shutter project. Accents like these can be added to make any room seem brighter. | Photo by Ebbie Davis
By Wil Story, Staff Writer
It is that time of the year. Students return with fresh minds, ready to put his or her most artsy creations up, acting like he or she is about to be picked up for a decorating show.

People are bored with the way the dorm was decorated the last school year, and  yearn to show off their new decor to jealous onlookers who were not creative enough to change their dorm.

However, sometimes redecorating can be a pricey process. College students also have small budgets, something that does not mix well with costly adventures.

All students should strive to find cheap places and items to begin the new decorations. By purchasing cheap items, one’s dorm room can be decorated with more items while bragging about how thrifty they were in decorating.

People can use different ideas to accomplish a cheap yet good-looking decoration.

One way to begin the decorating process is by finding old things around the house. Items like worn chairs or old shutters are good at giving rooms a vintage feel.

Finding old things should not be intimidating either. An old chair may look like it is in terrible condition when first discovered, but there are creative ideas the chair can go through.

Chairs and other wooden furniture can be stained and sanded. Staining a piece of furniture will give it a darker feel, while sanding something can either make it smooth, or can help give it a warm, rustic look.

Another simple idea that is often overlooked is repainting old furniture. Regardless if people are painting an item the same color or a different color, a new coat of paint will look spectacular in a dorm room. Repainting an old piece of furniture can restore its original feel, as well as look like it was just bought, even though it has been owned for years. If a piece of furniture is repainted a different color, then the piece has the potential to look like a new piece of furniture.

New colors give many opportunities to move furniture into different places around the room, and it also opens doors for what will match the furniture.

Some people do not like to paint. Therefore, it is important to is not the only way to fix furniture. New fabric or upholstery is a good way to make items like ottomans or futons seem new. If a dorm room is boring and bland with just a simple futon, try finding some fabric to cover  the furniture so it seems like an  entirely new piece of furniture.

It is important to do these projects well enough to make even yourself guess where you bought the items.

Melissa Fields, junior marketing major, knows the importance of decorating one’s room in a cheap and creative way.

“You just have to approach it with a creative mind. Almost anything in there can be re-purposed into something beautiful,” Fields said.

If students are looking for new furniture, Goodwill is a place where basics can be found for a cheap price. Every Saturday, Goodwill holds a sale for different items in the store. Goodwill also gives Union students discounts if he or she shows their the student I.D.

Anika Strand, junior social work major, has experienced finding useful furniture pieces in Goodwill.

“We got a wooden table and some chairs for our room for $30. It’s nice to eat at a table instead of the coffee table,” Strand said. “Small touches like that can really turn your dorm into a home away from home.”

One creative, yet debated way to obtain new items is the art of dumpster-diving. Dumpster-diving involves doing exactly what it sounds like: diving into dumpsters in hope of finding new pieces to take home. Dumpster-diving is a free way to find products that a company Target or even items people in a household has thrown out.

Dumpster-diving embraces the phrase that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” People have found mats for their room and even sometimes bar stools. Dumpster-diving has to be done often and diligently to find new items.

One senior nursing major who wishes to remain anonymous  says, “Dumpster-diving is a creative way for myself me to find pieces for my dorm. I just search quickly until I find some items that make sense to take home. I have a mat outside my room that I recovered from a dumpster.”

Dumpster-diving can be a fun adventure to which one can bring along friends to, or it can be a solo project for the more serious  seekers.

However, it is important to remember that a room decorated well, but still has cheap items, is the best way to approach a homey dorm room feel. Creativity is the key, no matter if you are buying something cheap or choose to search in the confines of a trash can.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.