Who says you can’t achieve great design on a budget? For college bound students, incorporating a bit of personal style and design on a shoestring budget is a fact of life. As I recover from my foot surgery and watch as we get ready to send our students back to school, I thought I’d share some fun ideas on ways to personalize that epitome of unpersonalized space, the dorm room. Limited space + small budget = design challenges that you can still overcome. Don’t believe me? Check out some of my ideas below!

A Restful Sleep

Typically the most dominant furniture in a dorm room are the beds. What a perfect place to play up your personality with your bedding! I love the mix and match styles and colors out there that help you to achieve a peaceful sleep and study area while letting you play up the fun part of your personality by working in fun patterns and textures to complete the look.

Stow Away!

It’s important o have a place where you can safely store your valuables within arms reach and a perfect solution for that is lockable storage in the form of a trunk. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors and I love putting one or two in a room either at the foot of the bed or near the wall then throwing some pillows on top to create additional seating for studying or when friends visit. Kick it up a notch and decorate with cool decals and stickers of your favorite bands, or check out the vintage travel stickers from Trunk Outlet by clicking the picture above and looking at their trunk accessories.

No Shoe Left Behind!

Shoe lovers can rejoice because here is the perfect solution to bringing your favorite pairs of shoes AND having plenty of space to store them in your dorm without having to shove them underneath the bed (that space is better for underbed storage boxes for clothes anyway, right?).

Not Allowed to Paint? No Problem!

Most dorms have rules against painting the walls but never fear, the age of removable decals is here which means you can choose from tons of ready-made (or custom if you have artistic skills) wall decals that are easy to install and remove at the end of the school year without leaving a mark on your walls. Problem solved, start customizing those walls people!

Score an A+ on Your Lighting

Study time is key to making the grade and the lighting in your room can make a big difference when it’s time to get serious and crack open the books. A floor lamp next to the bed takes up little space and provides plenty of light for late night reading while a table or desk lamp can illuminate your work or desk area.

Grab a Seat

With lots of options for colorful seating under $100, stores like Target have a surprising amount of dorm-friendly furniture and accessories to cover just about any dorm related need. I thought these were really fun and could be a great way to create practical lounge space on a shoestring budget.

Even with the limited space of a dorm room which you often have to share with others, it’s still possible to stamp your space with a bit of your personal style to create a little bit of home away from home when you go off to school. With just a few inexpensive accessories and some thought behind the colors and patterns you choose, you can create a fantastic space to call your very own. Depending on how much room you have, you may even be able to incorporate a bookshelf or two and if your budget allows, a soft and comfortable rug can help ward off the chill of the winter months and keep your toes happy! I want to wish all of our students a fantastic start to the school year, especially those of you who are studying interior design. It’s a topic that is especially near and dear to my heart. Would love to hear from you on how you decorated your dorm space if you feel like speaking up. You can find me here or on Facebook or Twitter. Hope to hear from you soon!

Click on the photos to visit the websites of these fine folks: JC Penney, Trunk Outlet, Rakku, Dali Decals, Nova Lighting, and Target.