How to decorate your dorm room for under $150
You needn't spend a mint -- though it's certainly possible to do so -- making the room inviting and comfortable. Here's where to spend for maximum impact.
Many retailers -- Target, Wal-Mart, and Ikea, among them -- are now running specials on dorm room gear. Some deals are worthwhile, some aren't. To help you budget wisely we asked several students to specify what they know to be the essentials; we then found promising sources.
Many dorm rooms are stocked with extra-long beds, and our sources caution that twin sheets and blankets from Ikea don't fit. Bed Bath & Beyond has a clearance bin that often contains good quality sheets and comforters at greatly reduced prices, sometimes in the extra-long size.
Plastic storage cubes that look like dairy crates and tinted plastic stacking drawers, both available at The Container Store ($7 and $14, respectively), are attractive and practical; one recent grad moved the drawers from dorm room to college apartment to post-college crib.
Under-bed storage probably sounds like a good idea, but our sources suggest reserving that space for suitcases and duffels. It won't go to waste, though, because you can stow out-of-season items in the luggage.
Peel-and-stick wall decals are tempting elements of dorm room decor, but don't go there, students advise. You're sure to accumulate lots of artwork made by friends in addition to your own creative efforts, and cheap posters and postcards are readily available.
AllPosters.com sometimes offers posters for as little as $2 apiece. You can also upload photos to the site and have them converted into posters; an 18x24 poster-sized picture costs $21.
Most dorms forbid nails or screws in the walls, which makes removable hooks an absolute necessity; Home Depot and many other vendors sell six-packs for less than $10.
You'll definitely need a desk lamp for late night study sessions and Ikea is the best source for this. A colorful LED lamp from Sunnan that converts sunlight into electricity costs just $20. (Tip: Regular bulbs may not fit so buy an extra along with the lamp.)
We had so much extra space that my roomie decided to get a turtle and keep it in a big aquarium on an old table we had scrounged. Those were crazy days.
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