Decorating your dorm room... on a budget


Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Child Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

4 November 2019

I knew I wanted my university room to look and feel as homely as possible, but how much could I achieve on a student budget? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Here's how I did it.

My experience of creating and designing my space at university was a rollercoaster so I have created an easy plan that everyone can follow.

1. Inspiration

What colours do you want your theme to be? Blue and silver? Peach and white?

What style are you going for? Modern, classic, unique?

The way I found my perfect theme was through the app Pinterest. All I searched was ‘dorm room ideas’, and I found lots of ideas and inspiration for my uni room.

This may take time, so don’t rush!

Screengrab of the Pinterest website showing interior decor

Image credit: Pinterest

2. What do I actually need?

In this step, think of the things you have at home already and new things you will need (remember we're just sticking with the bedroom).

Here’s my example.

Already got:

  • duvet
  • rug
  • files and folders

Possibly need:

  • tablecloth
  • duvet set
  • throw
  • pencil pot.

So, make your very own version!

3. Planning in style

So now that you have the list of what you need and what you have, search for those bargains.

I specifically wanted my whole room to correlate and match, so I searched for the things that I needed in the same style as my original idea.

Example: I searched in stores and on the internet for double duvet sets that were either pink, white or grey. Then I researched tablecloths for my desk (to protect it and make it look pretty), and found a marble one on eBay.

Budgeting is a huge part of university life for many, so make sure you find those coupons and discount codes (hello Unidays) and search in sales.

4. Keep on track of what you buy

Make sure you have the essentials before moving on to extra décor items.

Example: duvet, duvet cover, mattress sheet, pillows, etc.

Tip: a double duvet is a really good idea as it hangs over the bed and hides the drawer underneath.

5. Have fun!

Planning and prepping for university shouldn’t be stressful (unless you leave it to the last minute); it should be fun and exciting!

Here are my tips for a stress-free experience.

  • Don’t plan to do all of your shopping in one day. Start earlier and pack as you go along.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself: look around, get those bargains.
  • eBay and Depop are amazing apps for second-hand goodies.
  • Pound shops are great for stationery.
  • TK Maxx and home sense are amazing shops for room décor.


Be unique, be you and have fun!

Desk containing laptop, book and mirror
Room in university accommodation - decorated by student in shades of pink, grey and white
Room in university accommodation

Hollie is studying nursing at ARU in Chelmsford. If you're interested in following in her footsteps, browse undergraduate degree courses or come and have a look around: book your place at an Open Day.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.