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College is a new and exciting phase of life. As much fun as it is to finally move out of the parents’ house, the prospect of spending most of one’s time in a small, rather drab room can be depressing.
Dorms, in my experience, lack personality. They are usually painted neutral, clinical colors and can tend to feel cramped after a while. And if one factor in the non-existent hours one is likely to spend tidying up their room, it is no wonder that students prefer to spend their time outdoors than indoors.
DIY decor, however, can come to the rescue. If you let it. The following projects are all easy and inexpensive (adequately covered on a student’s budget!) and considerably brighten up even the dullest of spaces.
1. Recycled T-shirt Rug
Recycle an old t-shirt to use as a rug or a bed runner for your room. You might even sew together two T-shirts in contrasting colors.
Pro Tip: Play with textures- wool, cotton, silk, etc.
Plants can instantly brighten up a room. Succulents are the perfect size for dorm rooms. They take up little space and can be cozily tucked into a corner of your bookshelf.
Pro Tip: Install some fake hanging plants from the window awnings.
3. Turn Magazines into Wall Art
Art, I will have you know, can be made out of anything. Use cut-outs from old magazines and glue them onto wooden boards to hang on your dorm room walls.
You can use different variations- to either form words or shapes.
4. DIY Headboard
A headboard does so much more than add visual appeal to a bed. It provides back support and acts as a prop to rest books on while you study.
Use a carton box or some tough cardboard. Cut it in the shape of your choice, and be extra careful with the dimensions. Over in fabric.
5. Wall Hanging
A wall hanging can really inject personality into a room, not to mention conceal unsightly walls. And to DIY, it means you can customize it whichever way you like.
Use a sheet of cloth in the color of your choice, and geometric wooden blocks to block print color-filled shapes onto the fabric. Let dry, and hang.
6. Floating Bookshelf
One can never have too much space for books, especially not in a dorm room. A floating bookshelf can be made out of a stand-alone slab of wood, a hammer and some nails.
You can also substitute the space as a rack for pillows or other articles.
7. Washi Tape Deco
This one is everything that a college student is on the lookout for- cheap and readily available.
Use masking tape of your favorite color combo to trace designs onto your wall.
8. Iron-on Floral Covers
Another DIY hack with amazing results, all you need is some iron-on transfer papers, cool prints and a working printer.
You can use this for your pillows and your bedspread.
9. String Art
String art is exactly how it sounds, an artsy wall installation made entirely out of yarn. Use the yarn to go around strategically placed hooks/ nails and wind to form a geometric design. Use colors that stand out against the wall.
10. Photo Display
Hang up pictures of your friends and family on the wall, and use string or wire to connect them. Add fairy lights.
11. Dixie Cup Garland
Use dixie cups as holders for string lights. A simple and fun decor project, you can also use it as a night light.
12. DIY Jewellery Display
Shortage of space and the lack of vanity does not mean your jewelry stays hidden inboxes. Nail hooks to the wall/ wooden slab and displays your favorite jewelry.
DIY holders you can fashion out of some cardboard and paint. You can use them as pencil cups, plant holders, and floral stands.
14. Flower Cone Wall Display
A personal favorite, this project is a winner. All you need is some conically rolled sheets of cardboard and a bunch of fake flowers. Glue/ tape the conical containers to the wall and put the flowers in them.
Use string lights.
15. Fabric Quote Banner
A quote banner in your room to motivate you as you go about your day.
Use fabric and acrylic paints. You can even spring for a calligraphy stencil if you are aiming for finesse.
16. Door Decor
Use your spare rolls of washi tape to give your dorm door a geometric updo that sets it apart from its neighbors!
Bricks as bookends, who would have thought? Cover them in foil or use spray paint to conceal the fact that they are bricks.
The heft keeps the books from falling. These can also double as paperweights and door stoppers.
18. Pennant Banner
A pennant banner has rarely failed to imbibe a sense of festivity, and is sure to do the same with a dorm room.
Cut papers in triangles, in the color of your choice.
19. Shoe Rack
DIY a shoe rack to not only keep your shoes in one place, but also to save a considerable amount of space.
Create the basic unit out of cardboard stacks, and add triangular cubby holes as you go. The shoes go in these spaces.
Paint the cardboard tiles in a bright color.
20. DIY Vase
Use an old cookie tin( oblong) as a DIY vase. Cover with handmade paper or use spray paint on the metal. Put your flowers in it.
21. Braided Fabric Curtains
You might not have the budget to spring for curtains, but you can up-cycle fabric to make curtains. Put your sewing skills to use and attach fabric rolls to obtain the length of the curtain.
You can use two different materials and weave them together for a braided design.
22. Wine Crate Display
Wine crates can double as display shelves, did you know? All you need is some handmade paper to paste on the insides and nails to secure them to the wall.
They can now hold books, pictures and other items you have lying around.
23. Macrame Hanging Chair
You will need strong rope, nimble fingers and a chair. Macrame can be a time-consuming activity but is also fulfilling. The best part? The chair can be a permanent fixture.
24. Macrame Curtains
Macrame curtains, to keep the sun away.
25.Wine Bottle terrariums
Plants, even little splashes of green, add life and color to rooms. And what better way to recycle old wine bottles than to use them as the home for mini plant gardens, complete with soil and sand.
Place them on your window sill or on your nightstand.
26. World Map Frame
Take a printed copy of the world map, and wrap it around a picture frame. Cut carefully around the edges, to make sure that the sides remain covered.
This project takes all of five minutes.
27. Shelf Up-do
Make your built-in dorm room shelves look fancier by taping the edges with washi tape and papering the insides. Simple but effective, little touches like this can go a long way.
28. Pom-Pom Basket
A fun wastebasket to chuck all your paper balls into, complete with pom-poms as adornment,
All you need to do is use a hot glue gun to glue a selection of pom poms onto the sides of the basket.
29. A Mat with a Quote
Purchase a basic coir doormat, spray paint it a color of your choice and use a painted palette knife to carve into the material your favorite quote.
30. Graphic Laundry Baskets
Laundry baskets that might push you to actually do your laundry. Take a brush, some paint and emblazon the baskets with quotes and quips.
31. Cheese Grater Earring Holder
Paint a cheese grater and hang it up on your wall. Use it to display your earrings.
32. Clipboard Wall
Hang clipboard on your dorm room wall and attach to them pictures, notes, and reminders of weekly chores. It can also function as a mood board.
33. Paper Lanterns
Paper lanterns for your dorm room are not only an excellent DIY project but can also be customized according to will. Use paper molds and make cut-outs of your choice. Place them over battery-operated tea lights or string lights.
34. Tie and Dye Pillow Covers
Use a tie-dye process to give plain pillow covers a festive updo. Tie-dying is a simple process, which requires specific tying and twisting of the material and dipping into specific portions of the cloth into different colored solutions.
35. Cork Board Organizer
Use a corkboard frame as an organizer and bulletin board. Use pins and clips to keep important notes, reminders, and leaflets in place.
36. Jazz Up Old Wall Art
Wall art can sometimes err on monotonous, unchanging as it is. And in the event that you cannot afford a change of art, you can always jazz up your old art.
Use pom-poms to frame picture frames or quote slabs. These additions take less than five minutes, all thanks to superglue.
37. Turn a Wastebasket into a Nightstand
Nightstands are expensive investments, which college students tend to skirt and understandably so. But there is a way around this, to use a wire wastebasket as a nightstand.
All you need to do is turn it upside down, place a slab on it if the bottom happens to be perforated and put it by your bed.
38. Pull Down Wall Hanging
A wall hanging with only wrapping paper, this project can considerably brighten up your wall, and thereby, your room.
Use a color that does not jar with the overall color schema of your room.
39. Painted Storage Boxes
Use your storage containers as an article of decor by painting them in the color scheme of your room. Stack them on top of each other, to fashion an interesting sculptural element.
40. Confetti Mural using Washi Tape
Get the look and feel of wallpaper without the permanence. And it is cheap., too!
All you need to do is stick bits of colored tape onto your dorm room wall, in either a pattern or carefully splayed disarray.
41. Felt Letter Board
A felt letter board is a fun way to do up a dorm room, remind you as it does of chores or a quote you want to keep in mind. Prop it up the window or hang on the wall.
Use a chalkboard if your budget does not extend for you to purchase a felt board.
42. Wire Words
Spell out your mantra on your dorm room wall with wire. Add fake flowers for ornamentation.
43. Gift Bag Wall Art
Recycle your old gift bags to press and put in picture frames, or cut them up. Use as wall art.
44. Washi Tape Ceiling Fans
A way to make ceiling fans more interesting ( who would have thought, right?), etch patterns on the blades or the center using washi tape.
You can even change it up every few weeks.
45. Painted Pots
Just as decor does not always have to be expensive, it also does not always have to be for a purpose. Purchase a pack of earthen or clay pots for your room and paint them in your favourite hues. Put them by the window.
46. Colorful Floor Cushions
If you like to think of yourself as a seamstress (or not, only some basic sewing is required), use your skills to put together comfy floor cushions out of old fabric and cotton.
47. Mason Jar Supplies Holder
Use old mason jars to store writing supplies and other articles that are liable to get lost in the perpetual mess of dorm rooms. Put the jars on shelves or suspend them from wall brackets.
The fun part about DIY decoration is that inspiration can be found anywhere and by anyone. And while these ideas are indeed guaranteed to brighten up space, you can decorate your dorm room however you deem fit. And in the spirit of getting started, is it not time you did?