How to Decorate a Dorm with Thrift Shop Finds


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Bloggers discuss decorating dorm rooms with thrift store finds. Here is one result from the "Shanty Insanity" blog. Photo:

Bloggers discuss decorating dorm rooms with thrift store finds. Here is one result from the “Shanty Insanity” blog. Photo:

Any college student knows how hard it can be to bring personality and comfort to a cramped dorm room, especially on a student-sized budget. We asked Krrb member Krista Byers, who doles out budget and thrift advice on her blog Goodwill Glam for a few thrift store shopping tips.

“If you’re in a college town, chances are there are some thrift stores around,” Krista says. “Frequent thrift stores often because they could become your favorite place to hang out.”

So take notes, co-eds decorating your linoleum collegiate dwellings. With just a few of Krista’s suggestions, you’ll be on your way to personalizing your space without dipping into student loans. And remember, the hunt is part of the fun.

Spot The Best Lighting


You’ll want to have task lighting in addition to the dorm-standard fluorescent overheads. Search for desk lighting, a lamp near the bed and floor lamps for additional luminescence.

“Most likely you’ll be burning the midnight oil cramming for an exam or two,” Krista says. “I spotted this great desk lamp at my local Goodwill last week. While most of the time this style can set you back about two hundred dollars, this option was available for $4.99.”

Cover Those Walls


Consider picking up various wall coverings, posters and pictures on a budget. A common dorm conundrum: You want color over cinderblocks, but you aren’t allowed to paint and you only want to spend a few bucks. Build a collage of photos and magazine cutouts on the wall. Recruit your new floor neighbors and you’ll start making friends while personalizing each of your rooms.

“A gallery wall is a great way to display pictures of family and friends from back home as well as your personal style,” Krista says. Find a variety of cheap frames and invite your new hall mates over for a little paint project. Keep an eye out for Look for prints you like that are already in frames.


“Incorporate some various frames and paint them all the same color,” Krista advises. “You can fill a wall for about $20.”

more photos

“How great are those two colorful prints at the bottom?” Krista says. “You could certainly brighten up a room with those.”

Caffeine Source

french press

You’re going to need copious amounts of caffeine to keep those midnight study sessions going. And bring your own pot (that doesn’t require electricity!) and you’ll be the most popular kid on the hall.

“Thrift stores always have a myriad of coffee pots,” Krista says. “I prefer a French press and was able to pick up this one for just $6.”

Focus on Textiles



Moving away from home for the first time is a big step. Make your bed a comforting and relaxing place. While some people shy away from linens from thrift stores, purchase a few clean and bright pillows, give them a steam clean, and make your bed your plush sanctuary. Ask your family for a special quilt or that favorite old throw blanket. It’s ok to have a few of those reminders of home.

Be sure to check out Krista’s corner for a selection of vintage desks, an office chair and a pair of fresh brass bookends for classing up those piles of textbooks.

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