How to deck the (residence) hall on a budget

It's the most wonderful time of the year

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to get festive! Hanukkah is in just a few days, Christmas is in less than a month, Kwanzaa comes just a day after that...the season is here!

You may want to decorate your dorm or apartment to make it merry and bright, but we assume you're on a budget (who isn't??). Here are some tips to beautify your space without dropping big dollar$.


It's really cheap to buy a spool of ribbon, and one spool will go a long way. Doing something simple, like making your door look like a present, simply requires ribbon (and probably some tape), but does a great job brightening things up!

Fairy lights

If your dorm allows it, fairy lights are a great way to be festive during the holidays. What's even better is that you can buy them very cheap, and they look great all year round! It'll be money well spent, and they'll make your room feel merry and (literally) bright.

Mini tree

I have a fake mini Christmas tree that I reuse each year. It probably cost me $15, at it's at least 8 years old at this point! Bringing it to your dorm (if it's allowed) is a perfect way to bring the holidays to you. If you want to go DIY, just pick up a foam base and stick little pine tree branches in it to look like a mini tree.

Flameless candles

You can get flameless candles at most dollar stores super cheap. They're great because they last forever, aren't a fire hazard, and look real from the side! To get your room to smell nice, picking up a candle warmer (they're cheap!) is a great way to burn real candles without using a flame. It also makes them last longer!

Mini stockings

Mini stockings would be cheap to grab at any dollar store, or easy to DIY with some felt. It would be cute for you and your roomies to put each person's name on them and hang them on the walls, just like a family would.

Decorate a mug

Getting plain white mugs and decorating them is both fun and cheap to do! You only need to use Sharpie, and you can make them as festive as you want. Then either drink out of them, or put them on display either holding candy or just on their own.


Plastic ornaments come really cheap in sets of, like, 20, so you could hang them up all over the place if you want! Ornaments are also really easy to DIY with things like paint or Sharpie, so you could make them look however you want. I love the idea of hanging them around off of windows and staircases and doorknobs!

Candy bowls

My mom ALWAYS has little bowls of candy out around the holidays, whether it's red and green M&Ms, red and green Hershey's Kisses, or candy canes. It's a great way to look festive without spending much money. They're cheap, can be in ANY bowl you already have, and also will come in handy around finals time when you start to stress-crave chocolate. The only hard part will be making them last!

DIY paper snowflakes

Ahh, an old classic. Paper snowflakes aren't hard to make, all they need is paper, tape, and scissors (and we ALL know the library has enough paper to go around), and they can be recycled so they don't take up space after the holidays. Plus, wouldn't you like to relive your childhood a little bit and do some arts and crafts?!

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