13 DIY Projects For Your Dorm Room On A Student’s Budget

find the best ways to decorate your dorm on a student budget

It’s September – you know what that means! It’s time for bright-eyed freshmen and transfer students to dust off their backpacks, grab their textbooks, and load up the car with boxes packed full of clothes and dorm stuff. Here are some basic dorm decor ideas and room DIYs so that you can make the most out of your space on a college-friendly budget!

If you’re like a lot of other fresh-faced college students, you might not know how to deck out your new personal space. myWebRoom pulled together a few items from your dorm checklist to give you a good starting place. Be sure to double check with your dorm building’s rules before you start drilling any holes!

Interior design tips for your college dorm decor

Image via: HGTV


I know this won’t come as a shocker, but you don’t get much space to work with in a dorm. Your first college dorm is likely to be small – you have to make the most of your space. Buy dual-purpose items: ottomans with hidden storage, cushions that transform your bed into a day couch, pin-boards with hooks and multiple surfaces. If you’re designing your room from scratch, you’ll find amazing tips on how to transform your small space here!

Start with a simple and minimal color palette – you’ll give yourself the freedom to expand and develop your dorm decor as your college style evolves. A great place to start is by picking out your dorm bedding. Your bed will be the focal point in your room and everything else should compliment your sheets and things.


Minimalist DIY Room

Minimal furniture is perfect for small spaces like dorm rooms

Pair this geometric duvet set with an ergonomic chair and elegant wall shelf. The clean lines and monochromatic color scheme give you the freedom to play with bright pops of color later on. Total cost of this dorm room design tops out at $105.97. Play around with the room and hack the rest of your college decor by cobbling together some nifty room DIYs! 


1. DIY Bulletin Board


I love this dual-action blackboard/corkboard bulletin board. If you want to make one for yourself, there are two detailed tutorials to help you.  The video above has some amazing instructions on how to make your own version. You also have this handy tutorial for a different DIY Bulletin Board where you can substitute cork board for burlap, poster board, or a light fabric!


$4.00 – $19.99 Picture Frame

$3.29 Poster Board

$3.49 – 4.99 Cork Board

$1.99 –  $7.99 Chalkboard Paint

$5.99 Sponge Paintbrush (set of 25)

$4.99 Washi Tape

Depending on your picture frame, this project comes out to somewhere between $23.75 to $39.74.


2. Clotheslines Picture Holder

Clothesline photo collage to decorate a wall or dorm room

Image via: Pinterest


Spruce up your bare walls with memories of your friends and family! This ten minute Clotheslines Picture Holder tutorial is an easy way to personalize your dorm room. Not only can you hang up photos of your family, you’ll have a convenient place to stick up memos and reminders for that upcoming essay!


$2.99 Twine

$2.99 Clothespins

$2.29 Pushpins

Total comes out to $8.27 with some leftover twine and pushpins for the rest of the year.


3. String Light Picture Holder

String light photo collage brightens a wall and dorm room.

Image via: Dormify


Playing with that same idea is this fun DIY for string lights. Not only will you illuminate your love for friends and family, but you’ll create a warm and cozy glow for your dorm room.


$8.99 String Lights

$2.99 Clothespins

$2.29 Pushpins

Total comes out to $14.27 and an elegant showpiece for your dorm room.


4. Chalkboard Notebook

Image via: Warm Hot Chocolate

Image via: Warm Hot Chocolate


This minimal leather notebook and it’s tribute to the alphabet is drawing our eyes to the rest of the Back in Class Collection. You can make your own glamorous notebook with a chalkboard cover.


$3.99 Chalkboard Paint

$5.99 25 Foam Brushes

$2.99 Notebook

Total: $12.99 with plenty of chalkboard paints and foam brushes left before you head to class in search of chalk.


Dorm Decor Pro Tip 2: Use Natural Light with Wall Decor

Most college rooms come with as assigned bed, desk, and dresser per student. They’re great for your budget, but the bulky dorm furniture doesn’t leave much floor space to work with. Luckily, you have a blank canvas of wall space to work with. By keeping the floor clear and drawing the eye upward, you’ll create the illusion of more space.

This tip comes with a danger – a bright or loud color combination with wall decor can make your room look cluttered and busy. You can risk drawing attention to small size of your college dorm. Utilize your space wisely by choosing muted blue- and earth-tones. They create natural illusions of lightness that will complement your use of wall space. Our tip? Work with a wanderlust dorm room design.


Wanderlust DIY Room

Dorm room decor inspired by a wanderlust spirit.

The colors of this room are soft and muted, but the idea is grand and will make your room expand beyond your dorm’s walls. This globetrotter comforter pairs nicely with an easy DIY weekly planner and DIY map letters. Total cost of this dorm design comes out to $90.39. Spruce up the rest of your walls with these affordable, easy DIY projects.


5. DIY Weekly Calendar

keep your dorm room organized with this diy college weekly planner

Image via: Pinterest


If this is your first time away from home, you’ll want to gather a photo collage of your friends and family. myWebRoom loves this multi-panel photo frame from Modcloth, but you can easily make a DIY version that also doubles as a weekly planner for your busy student life!


$11.99 Collage Photo frame

$7.49 Cardstock

$3.49 Dry Erase Markers

Total comes out to $22.97 for an easy to clean, customizable weekly planner.


6. DIY Map Letters

Personalize your dorm room with handmade map letters

Image via: Bright Bold Beautiful


We love the wanderlust cravings that these wall decor letters inspire, but you can easily customize a set of your own.  You can spell out your name or show off your school pride. You might want to arm yourself with some old newspapers – this tutorial can get messy!


$1.48 Wooden Letter

$6.99 Map Paper

$3.99 Modge Podge

$3.49 Sponge Brush

$1.79 Scissors

Total comes out to $17.42 for some worldly decor and some sticky fingers.


7. DIY Chalkboard Banner

decorate your dorm room with a diy chalkboard banner

Image via: Carla Elizabeth


Here’s a handy tip for brightening your dorm room some more – hang a lightweight curtain or a banner over your window. This will draw attention to  natural light and make your college room seem bigger. We love this banner celebrating your academic achievements. You can easily customize your own.


$4.99 Chalkboard Banner Shapes With Twine

$6.99 Chalk Marker

Total comes out to $11.98 for a banner with a constantly evolving message.


8. Macrame Curtain DIY

decorate your dorm room with macrame curtains.

Image via: A Beautiful Mess


Another method of brightening your room is by making your own curtains! Be sure to give yourself plenty of floor space to braid together this simple Macrame Curtain DIY!


$9.99 Rope

$3.49 Wooden Dowel

$2.99 Scotch Tape

It’s a whopping total of $16.47 and a couple of hours for a dreamy curtain that brightens up your college dorm.


So far, I’ve played it safe with soft, muted colors. Sometimes, you want to go big or go home! Since your college dorm is already your home, you have nothing to lose! There’s only one piece of advice – pick a bold color and stick with it. Clashing colors will just make your dorm room look cluttered and snugger than a bug in a rug.


Bright and Colorful DIY Room

Bright and colorful dorm decor makes your room pop

By picking a few bold and bright colors, you can create a cohesive room that shows off your exuberant personality. This chevron comforter pairs well with homemade details like this bohemian pinboard, easy washing tape wall decor, and colorful bean bag. Total cost of this dorm design inspiration board comes out to $98.93, though these dorm DIYs will make it look like you spent a lot more!


9. DIY Bulletin Board

Image via: Landee See Landee Do

Image via: Landee See Landee Do


You can create a piece of wall art that doubles as a nifty bulletin board. The best part about this DIY tutorial is that you can customize it to your desired color scheme.


$7.99  Bulletin Board

$3.99 Painter’s Tape

$0.54 – $2.09 Craft Paint

$5.99 Sponge Brush (set of 25)

Total comes out to $20.06 before you head out and buy some interesting pushpins.


10. DIY Bohemian Pinboards

decorate your dorm room with DIY bohemian pinboards

Image via: Kitten Hood


I love the idea of these floating whiteboards, but it can be a hassle to track down a set of dry erase markers. You can make this alternative set of bulletin boards where you can pin everything from photos, memos, and ticket stubs from last night’s awesome show.


$9.99 Bamboo Hoop Set (set of 3)

$5.00 per Yard of Fabric

$1.99 Sewing Pins

Total comes out to $16.98 for a set of three memo boards in the color of your choice.


11. DIY Flower Lights

Decorate your dorm room with a garland of flowers on your string lights

Image via: Oh Happy Day


After a while, your dorm’s harsh overhead light is going to drive you mad. Flip that switch off and illuminate your room with string lights. They’ll cast a softer light and are perfect for customizing your room! This easy DIY brings a touch of the outdoor into your room.


$8.99 String Lights

$6.62 Cupcake Liners (300 count)

$5.98 Scissors

Total comes out to $21.59 for a colorful garland of flowers that’ll draw the eye upwards.


12. DIY Room Decor

Washi tape is an easy and cheap way to decorate walls

Image via: Brit and Co


Most college rooms don’t let you paint your walls, but don’t let that stop you from making a colorful splash with your dorm decor. Washi tape is the college student’s’ best friend – it comes in many colors, is cheap, and is low tack so it’s easy to remove once the school year ends. Here’s a DIY room decor idea that’ll work great with your room.


$7.99 Washi Tape

Total with just the one item comes out to $7.99! This is the easiest DIY project in this post, put you’ll definitely want to team up with your new Roommate.


13. DIY Bean Bag

Make your dorm room cozy with a diy beanbag

Image via: Archie and the Rug


I may have mentioned this once or twice – definitely twice – but you don’t get a lot of room to work with in a college dorm room. You can’t overload your room with extra seats, otherwise you’ll get a cluttered and small space. This DIY bean bag is the best solution for this! You can make it as flat or stuffed as you want. When you’re not using it, you can just roll it under your bed to save space!


$12.99 Jelly Roll

$15.99 Rotary Cutter

$24.99 Bean Bag filler

Total is $53.97, but you can find long scraps of playful fabrics for as low as $2 in the Goodwill fabric bins!

For more DIY dorm room ideas, check out Dormify!


Link Roundup

Living in Small Spaces

Back in Class Collection


Minimalist Dorm Room

Geometric Duvet Set

Ergonomic Chair

Elegant Wall Shelf

Blackboard/Cork Bulletin Board

DIY Bulletin Board

Clotheslines Picture Holder

String Light Picture Holder

Leather Notebook

Chalkboard Notebook


Wanderlust Dorm Room

Globetrotter Comforter

Multi-panel Photo Frame

DIY Weekly Calendar

Map Wall Decor Letters

DIY Map Letters

Celebratory Banner

DIY Chalkboard Banner

Macrame Curtain DIY


Bright and Colorful Dorm Room

Chevron Comforter

DIY Bulletin Board

Floating Whiteboards

DIY Bohemian Pinboards

DIY Flower Lights

DIY Room Decor

DIY Bean Bag


Interior Design Advice From


Jennifer Adams

Polkadots and Rosebuds

Red Chair Home Interiors