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Dorm Decorating 101: Tackling decor on a budget

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/04/10/31/19vAxj.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - Bed Bath and Beyond
    Bed Bath and Beyond’s “Handy Folding Storage Ottoman” is great for both seating and storage. Interior storage includes two outside pockets to keep essentials within easy reach. Measures 15.5" L x 15.5" W x 15.5" H
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/31/17/18/8D4Tp.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - Courtesy of LeighDeux Dorm
    Bunk box at Charlotte’s LeighDeux Dorm provides much-needed bedside storage space. Price: $99.

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  • Designer tips

    •  Start with the bed. Leigh Goodwyn, co-founder of Charlotte-based Leigh Deux Dorm, says the bed is the first thing anyone will see, and students spend most of their time on their beds while in their dorms, whether studying or sleeping. “Having a great-looking, comfortable bed will ease that transition from home to dorms,” Goodwyn said.

    •  Save furniture purchases until move-in day. Raleigh designer Alison Roane said she sees too many families buying large furniture items before moving day only to find that they do not fit.

    •  Look through catalogs before shopping. Save time and look through store catalogs before heading out to buy your decor, Roane said.

    •  Brighten up your space. Dorm rooms tend to be poorly lit, Roane said. She suggests bringing a desk lamp and a floor lamp into your new space.



For incoming college freshmen, a lot of questions surround outfitting a small dorm room.

But as challenging as decorating a new space can be, the process doesn’t have to empty your bank account.

Retail stores such as Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Walmart are making it easier for parents to find cheap, reliable and stylish products for dorm rooms.

Interior designer Alison Crawford-Roane said she always starts decorating by choosing a fabric color or a pillow she loves and building from there.

Because dorm rooms have minimal lighting, Roane likes to go heavy with lighting fixtures and fabrics in bright colors when decorating to create a homey feel. “It’s a bedroom more than it is a dorm room,” she said.

Roane starts at places such as Home Goods and the online site Mama Cheaps before going to Target or IKEA – even though she likes their products, too. Home Goods and Mama Cheaps have the highest quality products at the cheapest price, she said.

Here are nine cost-efficient decor suggestions for adding personality and utility to your dorm room this fall.

Room Essentials Bed In A Bag (Twin XL), Target, $47.49. This bed set includes one flat sheet, a comforter, one fitted sheet, a pillowcase and shams. Available in navy blue, gray, striped, and other varieties.

Room Essentials Mattress Top (Twin XL), Target, $12.74. Dorm mattresses are not comfortable. Invest in this 1.5-inch mattress topper for more comfort.

Sunbeam Digital Microwave Oven, Target , $38. A microwave is perfect for late-night snacking. This 700-watt microwave has nine pre-programmed settings. Some schools have restrictions on appliances, so check with yours first.

Foldable Storage Ottoman , Bed Bath and Beyond, $19.99. Dorm rooms are small and space is limited. A storage ottoman works as both a storage unit and a place to sit. (15.5 inches long by 15.5 inches wide by 15.5 inches high.)

Bunk Box , LeighDeux Dorm (a Charlotte company), $99. This bedside cubby attaches to the side of a bed, providing a space for phones, glasses, etc. (30 inches long by 5 inches wide by 3 inches high)

Round Chevron Crunch Can , Container Store, $14.99. Serving as both laundry hamper and laundry carrier, it’s a great space saver.

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Switch Coffee Maker , Walmart, $16.09. Get through late-night study sessions with the Mr. Coffee by your side. It doesn’t have a timer, but it does include a pause-and-serve feature.

Z Drawer Carts By Studio 3B – 3 Drawers , Bed Bath and Beyond, $39.99. This cart on wheels provides extra storage space.

Studio 3B Outlet/USB Desk Lamp , Bed Bath and Beyond, $14.99-$19.99. Sharp desk lamp features USB charger on the base.

Sabin: 704-358-6194; Twitter: @samsabin923

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