Save Money on Dorm Room Furnishings
Your college student will, of course, need to make some purchases to make her dorm room home. Decorating that first “home away from home” is part of the college experience. However, there are some ways in which your student can save on the costs of the decorating process. Here are a few suggestions to discuss with your student as you both prepare for the beginning of the college adventure.
Four important overall principles
- Find out what the school allows and doesn’t allow in dorm rooms before you do any planning or make a single purchase. You don’t want to buy something and then need to take it right back home again.
- Think organization. Dorm rooms are generally relatively small and compact. Anything that your student can bring to keep belongings, papers, books, etc. organized, will be appreciated by everyone in the space.
- Your student should talk to his roommate before buying anything for the room. There isn’t enough space in either the typical dorm room or the typical college student budget for duplication. Coordinating efforts can significantly cut costs.
- Set up a realistic starting budget. It’s easy to get carried away thinking that your student needs everything. Work with your student to decide on a spending limit and try to stick to that.
Some saving suggestions
- When in doubt, less is more. If your student isn’t sure he’ll need something, leave it at home. There will be opportunities to add more later as the need arises.
- Rather than buy furnishings and decorations initially, give your student gift cards to be used at local stores. Your student can make purchases through that first semester as she discovers what she needs.
- Plan to shop locally on Move-in Day after you’ve seen the actual room. Once your student sees his space, he’ll be better able to visualize what he needs.
- Encourage your student to be creative. Storage cubes can become bedside tables. Scarves or fabric remnants can become curtains. Bricks and planks still make an interesting bookcase.
- If your student is at all crafty, encourage her to create things for her room. They will give it a distinctive sense of style to set it apart from all of the other “store bought” accessories in other rooms.
- Help your student look around home for things that can be used rather than buying new. Taking some items from home will not only save money, but will give your student that comfortable feeling of the familiar.
You student might want to explore second hand stores or yard sales in the neighborhood of the college throughout the fall. This can be an interesting way to spend some weekend time while away at school and a great lesson in adventure shopping.
Once you and your student begin to think creatively about room furnishings, he may find that he not only saves money, but has a room that expresses a unique sense of style and comfort. Your student and your budget will both be happier.