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Simple And Inexpensive Back To College Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

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Inexpensive and beautiful back to college dorm room decorating ideas including a DIY lighted canopy.

Back to College Canopy

Welcome. It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost Back to College time and we are ready with these dorm room decorating ideas!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsReady #CollectiveBias 

If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I have a daughter in College.

She is actually the beauty contributor to Our Crafty Mom. Amanda will be a Junior this year and we have always looked forward to shopping for and decorating her dorm room.

This year is even better because we teamed up with Big Lots to give her dorm room an update.

When I tell you Big Lots has everything you need for your College dorm or apartment, I mean everything.  

You can get all of your kitchen supplies right down to small appliances-perfect if your Student is moving into their first apartment.  

They even have mattresses and ready to assemble furniture.  Amanda had already browsed the website to come up with a color scheme and decided on shades of blue for her dorm.

With a plan in place we headed to our local Big Lots to enjoy some Back to College shopping!

We were pleased to find that the bedding Amanda chose online was available in the store, but keep in mind, styles and assortment vary by store.

Big Lots makes it so easy to shop for your Back to College needs as everything is located in the front right section of the store, where all the bedding and curtains are.  

Check out this great display of bedding and matching towels:

Back to College

Having everything already color coordinated for you makes it so simple to put together a beautiful dorm room in no time!

Amanda is really happy to have a single dorm for the first time ever. As most of you know, dorm rooms are so tiny and trying to fit two students and all their belongings into one space is not easy.

As this is our third year getting her ready for College, we have a pretty good idea of what is necessary and we were able to find everything at Big Lots.

As we both work and the move in date is quickly approaching, being able to save time by shopping at one store is a huge plus!  

I was not only impressed with the value and quality, but the selection is completely spot on with current trends.  

We all know how important that is to College students.

Amanda asked me if we (meaning I)  could create some kind of canopy to go over her bed.

I knew that this would be a little tough because her College does not allow you to hang anything from the ceiling.

However, I came up with an option that gives a canopy feel, but is hung from the wall behind the bed and not the ceiling.

I thought the addition of lights would give it a nice, cozy feel at night.  They spend a lot of time in their rooms, so you want to make it comfortable.

This canopy is so easy to create and I wanted to share a quick tutorial so you could make one for your College student.

I bought all of the items for this canopy at Big Lots.

diy lighted canopy dorm room

Back To College Dorm Room Decorating Ideas 

Lighted Canopy Supplies:

  • 2  White Sheer Curtain Panels 84″
  • 4 boxes of string lights
  • Staple Gun

I went with two boxes of clear lights, a box of blue and a box of purple. I thought the purple was so pretty and it would give a little extra pop of color.  

I just used a staple gun to attach the lights across the top of the wall behind the bed. I started with one string light first hanging it vertically.

I just stapled the wire a couple of times to the very top of the wall, letting it hang down.

I then plugged in the second string to the first and hung it an equal distance.

I continued with the remaining two sets of lights, hanging it as evenly across as possible without measuring.

I then attached the curtain panels, stapling it evenly across to give it nice layers.  The good thing about this is it really takes no time to make and leaves no damage as you are not putting holes in the wall.  

We are lucky because Amanda’s dorm has a thin piece of wood running the length of one wall that we can hang this on.

However, if you don’t have this and it is only concrete, like a lot of dorm rooms have, you may be able to use  heavy duty command strips to attach the lights and curtains.

Also, I was thinking a thick, double sided velcro may work as the lights and curtains are not heavy.

My daughter just loves it and plans to use it in her room at home until she is ready to move back next month.

This is an inexpensive way to give warmth to the concrete walls. Here it is at night all lit up:

Dorm Room Lighted Canopy

The bedding she chose is so pretty and is reversible with a pretty light blue on the other side.

This is a beautiful set that included the adorable throw pillows behind the Beyoutiful pillow that I just had to buy her.

Back to College


The colors match perfectly and this is something I have said to her for years.

In fact, here is a sign I made her that she has hung in her dorm for the past two years-how could I not buy that pillow?

Dorm decorating

As we were checking out, Amanda spotted these awesome ceramic bowls by the register and just had to have them!

We are both seahorse lovers and they will make the perfect cereal bowls for her-College students eat a lot of cereal!

The colors also match her bedding and color scheme.



[Tweet “#BigLotsReady #CollectiveBias #OurCraftyMom Back To College @BigLots #sponsored”]

This was such a fun experience for us and as usual Amanda had a few of the store employees laughing with her excitement!  

The staff was extremely helpful and even checked the back for a different color hamper that wasn’t on the floor.  

If you are getting ready for Back to College, I would definitely recommend heading over to Big Lots to check out their great products!  

We are so happy to have all the dorm room shopping done, so we can focus on the rest of the Summer.  Remember to enjoy these moments!  

As a Mom of a Junior and a 25 yo, the time really does fly by! Have a great day!


You may also like these back to school ideas: 

21 Best Back To School Ideas

25 Back To School Ideas

Ultimate Back To School Round Up

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DIY Dorm Room Decor + A Little Bird Told Me Link Party #11 - Pink Tool Girl

Thursday 4th of August 2016

[…] you need retail help for dorm room ideas, then check out Our Crafty Mom for some Big Lot finds that are perfect for a dorm […]


Friday 29th of July 2016

I love the lighting idea and her bedding is adorable! How fun it must be to help your daughter decorate. I'm excited for back to school shopping for my young ones--college seems so far away. #HomeMattersParty

Melissa Vera

Monday 25th of July 2016

I love shopping at Big Lots. You picked out some amazing stuff for your daughter's dorm room. Love having you as a co-host on #HomeMattersParty.


Tuesday 26th of July 2016

We were so thankful to work with Big Lots for this campaign. Amanda loves her new bedding!


Sunday 24th of July 2016

Love all the choices you guys made. When I scrolled down to the ceramic cereal bowls, for a moment I thought you made it with sea horse stencil :) then I read you both love Sea horse so you selected them at big lots. :) #HomeMattersParty

Angie Rose

Saturday 23rd of July 2016

How pretty! Love the lights, so cute :) Thank you for sharing with us at Dishing It & Digging It! Hope to see you back this week!

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