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Your Freshmen Dorm / By Colette Gordon


After deciding on a college, one of the first things that many students consider is their freshman dorm room. Nowadays, teens spend an average of over $900 each year to turn their rooms into luxury spaces (National Retail Foundation). Retailers have noticed this and have created entire departments dedicated to dorm shopping. The U.S. dorm industry spending accounts for $50 billion a year. University of Pennsylvania Residential Life Director Ryan Keytack explained that every student approaches their room differently so costs depend on what they’re willing to spend and what they want.

Despite this, as the costs of college continue to rise, students are looking for ways to cut down on costs. Abby Jakus, a rising freshman at McGill University explained that she was surprised by the costs associated with creating a functional dorm space. Jakus will be living in a single so she is solely responsible for costs that roommates traditionally would share. To avoid unnecessary spending, Jakus explained that she only purchased in advance the essentials like bedding, mini-fridge, cleaning supplies, and other things she couldn’t live without. After a week or two at school, she’ll reassess what she actually needs and go shopping again.

In regards to decorations, Jakus purchased a tapestry to hang on one wall of her room and is taking some of the throw pillows she currently uses at home. It’s important to realize that you don’t need to buy everything new, especially if you like the things you currently have. Finally, she has created photo collages that only cost a total of $10 because she made them herself.


1. Split costs with your roommate(s) - communicate early on about what you need.

2. Ask friends and family if they already have the things you need.

3. Check the web for cheap/ free furniture and decor on your campus.

4. Do your research - find bargains/use coupons.

5. Start early - comparison shop to get the best deals.

6. Only buy what you’ll definitely need before move-in. If a need arises later for an item, buy it then.

7. DIY! Create your own decorations to save major bucks. Making your dorm room feel like the perfect home-away- from-home can be intimidating, especially when you consider the costs involved.

However, this process doesn’t have to be expensive and there are many ways that you can create the perfect space within your budget. By investing a bit more time and creativity into your dorm decorating process, you can have the dorm you can call your home-away- from home.


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