For most Elizabethtown College students, spending money is definitely a luxury: we can only hope that the $23 left in our bank account will make it to the end of the week. When we finally do earn some money, it’s generally used to buy food, books, that precious Xbox game or the most adorable shirt that would look perfect with those brown boots. Decorating our 16×10 ft. box, otherwise known as a dorm room, is just not a priority. So many of us are left with naked white—or the dreadful baby pink—walls, with the only additions being Christmas lights, pictures or sticky note reminders. So begins the mission: decorating dorm rooms on a budget.
Before searching the World Wide Web for some decorating ideas, I took a look at some dorm rooms around Etown’s campus and got some students’ perspectives. Kaitlyn Anastasi, a sophomore resident of Schlosser, has her bedroom and study room packed to the brim with posters, pictures, tapestries and more. In addition to these items, everything matches, following the theme of purple and pink. Her futon cover matches the pink and purple pillows that lie on it, which is also complemented by a flower framed in pink and sparkly pink curtains.
“We just really like decorating, so we like going over the top. We spent a really long time planning the pink zebra print for the futon,” Anastasi said. The blanket, which is pink on one side and white with black music notes on the other, represents all three roommates who are all music majors. The music therapy articles hanging from their walls also add some personal flare. She and her two roommates managed a reasonable budget by making their own blanket instead of buying one. They maintained a reasonable budget in other ways too. “We’ve kind of gathered this stuff. Sarah [Radzieski] and I lived together last year, so we came in with a lot of this stuff last year. We printed out all of our pictures, bought the posters on sale and made the blanket. We take our decorating pretty seriously,” Anastasi said. Overall, Anastasi and her two roommates managed to decorate their room within their budget and were still able to add their own personalities in doing so.
First-year Andrew Blank of Myer doesn’t have many embellishments in his room. When asked how his room was decorated, he said, “Well not much. No pictures, no lights, no posters.” However, he and his roommate plan to add some more decorations here and there, such as “an eight foot pair of cardboard sunglasses,” which were given to him by a friend. “I don’t think I’ve spend much money at all on decorating,” Blank said.
In Founders, first-year Samantha Hicks didn’t spend much money on decorating either. But she also doesn’t have many decorations. “How is our room decorated? One string of Christmas lights, a ton of pictures of friends all over the place. For every holiday Taylor Hicks’ [Samantha’s roommate] mom sends us stuff to decorate our door and room with. I have a jersey, and that’s hung on my wall,” Hicks said. I took a peek into her room and found her description to be very accurate. Pictures flood the walls, from above her desk, to next to her bed, even near the water cooler; the pictures are everywhere. The jersey hangs from her pink curtains and little holiday trinkets are placed randomly throughout the room.
After doing some research on Etown’s campus, I decided it was time to venture to the Internet, ask around and come up with some creative ideas of my own. I Googled “cheap ways to decorate in your dorm room” and started perusing the options. The website onlineclasses.org suggests using a laundry line to hang photos from dorm walls. The line can be strung from one wall to the other or just along one wall. The website also explains how to make your own disco ball from a hanger and plastic cups.
I’ve been in plenty of dorm rooms and have found a common thread. Many rooms have some sort of flag. My own suggestion for decorating is to incorporate flags. Your dorm could have flags of places you’ve been, places you’d like to be or things that represent you, such as an Etown flag.
Senior Chelsea Benson, advertising manager of the Etownian, mentioned she knew some friends who took paint chips from stores such as Home Depot or Walmart and line the walls with them. The paint chips are free and add color to a dorm room. I decided to implement this strategy in my own room. Walmart provided me with about one hundred paint squares and I returned to Schlosser to begin decorating. The only challenging part was getting the chips to stick well. Packaging tape didn’t hold for very long but tack did seem to do the job. So there you have it, a room decorated and not even a penny spent!