DIY dorm decorations to help settle into your space

The paint chip decoration may take some time but will be a low-budget project. The color swaths are free at the paint store, so the only supplies needed is tape. (Claire Galvin/Daily Campus)

The long-awaited day is here. After lugging your bedding, clothing and school supplies up two flights of stairs, awkwardly saying goodbye to your crying parents and eating dinner with a group of eight or more floor mates, the time has arrived to decorate your room. Those white, dirty, scratched walls desperately need attention.

Small dorm rooms can look like jail cells before your personalize and decorate. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to make your half of the room your own. Here are a few tips to make the most of your home for the next nine months, without taking out even more loans.

The most common dorm decoration is pictures of friends or family. It’s easy, inexpensive and a great touch for when you start to miss home. Ask your mom if she has any recent or old family photos you can have. Print out a few selfies of you and your friends with your brand new printer. You can tape photos on your wall, or buy a few cheap frames from the dollar store. Shutterfly, Walmart and CVS are all good stores to print your photos on quality photo paper.

Your printer is your best friend while decorating your room. You can print out inspirational quotes, photos of your favorite celebrities, beautiful landscape and nature pictures, logos of your favorite teams, movies, or TV shows, the list goes on and on. Try printing in black and white and then borrowing a friend’s colored pencils to match your current color theme. You can even print out photos onto fabric sheets. Iron them onto a plain pillowcase and you’ll have a personalized decorative pillow.

For those who are a bit craftier, Pinterest has great dorm decorating ideas. There are tons of boards of DIY projects to make curtains, wall art, carpets and such.  The list is endless.

Grab a stack of old magazines and cut full sized pages into letter shapes. For example, you can spell out “UConn 2020,” “Live, Laugh, Love,” or you and your roommates names.

My toughest DIY decoration was a wall full of colored paint chips arranged into a rainbow. It took a while, but it was relatively inexpensive since I only had to buy tape and the paint chips were free.

Try Michaels or Kohl’s, which are both just down the road, for easy ready-made decorations. Don’t overlook your hometown Savers or Goodwill. These are the best stores for inexpensive frames, small furniture, kitchen supplies and decorations. Last summer I found a brand new package of coffee-themed wall stickers for my kitchen for just $1.

In the first week of school, booths open up on Fairfield way that sell tons of posters, lights and even plants. It’s a good place to buy that last decoration.

If all else fails, the classic string of Christmas lights is foolproof.


Claire Galvin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.