Decor, Home, Money

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget

February 8, 2014

Today’s post is going to be a little bit different…

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

As regular blog readers will know that I study in the UK, but actually come from Austria. This combo alone has led to many challenges when decorating my room. Additionally, I am a collector, which complicates things even more. Over the past four years I moved several times. Twice within the UK, once to Munich and then back to the UK after a summer in Austria. Decorating my room and creating a homely environment has been a challenge every single year. When I travel back and forth I always have a baggage weight limit so it doesn’t permit bringing a ton of things with me.

Nonetheless, over the years I’ve “perfected” the art of decorating {or at least I like to think so}. Not only do I aim not to spend horrendous amounts of money on décor, but I also try to re-use what I already have. At some point in the not too distant future I’ll have the slightly daunting task of transporting all my belongings back home to Austria {I think I’ll need to charter a plane for that!}, which is why I’m particularly cautious of what and how much I buy!

However, I still want my room to be cozy. Here are some of my tips for creating beautiful home décor on a budget, with only limited space available {cause let’s be honest, dorm or hall rooms aren’t necessarily the most spacious of environments}.

But before I show you round my room, I have to mention that I’m not necessarily super tidy. I have a place for everything, but I don’t mind if things aren’t 100% perfect!


{Re-}Use what you have

I will be the first to admit that collecting clutter is one of my fortes. It’s so hard to part from things that I once loved, even when I don’t use them anymore.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

I’m a big fan of jars and use them everywhere around the house. In the kitchen I keep ingredients like oats, flour and sugar in large jars and in the bathroom I store cotton wool and cotton buds in smaller class containers. But I also love them for decorating purposes and often use them as a vase or to showcase store my nail polishes.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

I also collect all of my jewelry boxes and re-use them to hold beauty items. I use a small Kate Spade box to store lip products and a bigger one to hold beauty things like blushes, bronzers and smaller palettes.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

I could just go to Muji and buy a couple of containers, but that would just create an extra unneeded item which needs to be transported home one day.

This may be surprising but I have very little belongings in form of cutlery, plates & mugs. When I first arrived in the UK over 3 years ago I went to Tesco on my first night and bought 4 glasses, 2 mugs, and 4 plates and that’s pretty much all I have in my house {I make up for it by having an insane amount of plates and mugs at home though}. I will occasionally buy a plate that’s really pretty or an item for food photography purposes but that’s more of an exception.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

Instead of buying pencil holders I use a spare mug. I always use the same mug to drink coffee and have another one for tea, which leaves me with an extra one for my pencils and pens. You could also re-use old candle containers to hold things like makeup brushes or beauty supplies.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}


Storage Solutions

As already mentioned, I like storing things in jewelry boxes. But larger boxes are also excellent for storage. I would always keep nice boxes and even beautiful and sturdy bags from boutiques. You can use those all around the house! For instance, I keep all my beauty & makeup samples in a small Chanel shopping bag that I got with a purchase at a beauty counter. I could just throw them into  a drawer somewhere, but having them in a pretty bag is an extra decoration in my room.

This isn’t necessarily décor-related but it’s still worth mentioning: keep small boxes {for instance from Amazon or even foldable shoe boxes} neatly folded away in a closet or somewhere out of sight. I find those come in really handy when I have to send a larger item in the post which won’t fit into a standard envelope. Also, you can use shoe boxes for gifts if you line them with pretty paper!

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}


Divide your room into organized corners

I’ve always loved rearranging furniture and have done so many times in my room at home! Unfortunately in most places I’ve lived so far the furniture is built-in so there’s not much room for individuality. But, I still try to use the minimal space available to create “corners” within my room, each dedicated to a purpose. I have a “beauty corner” for everything from make-up, hair products and other beauty related bits and bobs, I have my work area and most importantly, my “bar”.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

I’ve had my coffee machine for nearly 4 years now and I love it to bits! I know everyone’s taste buds are different, but I find that Nespresso coffee is amongst the best coffee out there.

Dorm Room Décor on a Budget {}

I keep tea, coffee and snacks in close proximity to where I’m working so I can easily grab what I need. I always have a full basket of energy bars on hand. In the mornings I grab one to eat on-the-go, before heading to the gym or to take along to eat during lectures. But a well-stocked “energy bar basket” has come in particularly handy when I’ve had long nights of studying. You could also keep a jar of cookies close by, but I have a separate drawer packed  full of treats.

Room Decor6


And that’s how I try to organize and decorate my small but very cozy room. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve picked up a lot of ideas along the way {mostly from Pinterest} but I find a beautiful home is just so important, even if the home is just temporary!

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  • Reply Emma @ Stripes and Snapshots February 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Really great ideas here, so different from the usual posters and photos people put up as students. I wish I had thought of some of these things when I was a student! Now I’m living on my own and have a bit more freedom with how I decorate, but I’m still on a budget, so I use very similar techniques in my flat!

    • Reply Antonia February 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Emma! I’ve never been into posters that much and when it comes to photos, I much prefer to create a nice-looking collage and frame it. Makes it look so much neater!

  • Reply Kathryn February 12, 2014 at 9:00 am

    This makes me really regret that I didn’t do more with my room when I was at university – some terms I barely even bothered to unpack! It never felt very homely and I wish I’d had this sort of inspiration then!

    • Reply Antonia February 12, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Thanks Kathryn 🙂 Without pinterest my room would not look this way, though.
      I have one suitcase from 2 years ago that I can’t be bothered to unpack {won’t even attempt it} because I know it’s full of stuff I don’t need.

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