College decor can be just as sophisticated and stylish as ‘grown up’ decor and you can do it all with affordable dorm room art.

Your college dorm room is your home away from home, and a space where you should still be able to express your personality, despite having to share, scale down and live in the smallest space you’ll most likely ever cohabitate in again.

One of the most effective ways to transform a bland, standard-issue, building-grade dorm room into a cozy and inviting space, is through art that uplifts your spirit. I think you’re going to need it in times of genuine homesickness, stress or possible illness (like a 48 hour bug perhaps).

While many students assume that decorating– especially with having to invest in art – comes with a hefty price tag they’d be better off swapping out for other essentials, I’m going to explain exactly how it’s entirely possible to do so.

In this blog post, we explore where to buy affordable art, how to choose the I best art for your college dorm room and how to decorate with it.

Before you read on, make you get 5% OFF when you buy digital downloads. Subscribe below if you haven’t already at the pop-up. When you sign up, you’ll get a discount code emailed to you immediately for you to apply at checkout.

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The Importance of Art in Your Dorm Room

Art has the ability to set the tone and mood of any space, be that a your parents home, your dorm room or a people-centric public space.

Rich, colourful artwork can turn a plain, cookie-cutter dorm room into a personalized and inviting environment, which is spot on for a creating a home within a room.

Here’s why you should decorate with dorm room art:

1. Express Your Identity through art

Your dorm room is a canvas for self-expression because it allows you to showcase your interests, values, and personality.

In a remote or unfamiliar environment, art can serve as a way to express your identity and sense of place.

It’s wonderful to be surrounded by images that evoke feelings of belonging even when you are embarking on a journey where your sense of that is being challenged.

To counter this, you can use visuals to create a feeling of reassurance and stability. This can help ease you into establishing a new sense of belonging by reminding you of where you come from.

Make a list of affordable art that capture those feelings and also think of ways you can frame meaningful photos of your family, friendships or romantic life.

Collect images that serve to keep you feeling grounded, loved and put a smile on your face when you see it.

Now, create a gallery wall from that!

2. Counterbalance the challenges of shared, small space living

Certain types of art can have a calming and soothing effect.

The right art can help reduce stress and make your dorm room a comfortable place to both study and relax, an important factor when cohabitating.

Small-space living can be a real challenge , even when it’s just you. Ask any first-time apartment-dweller, especially the big-city type.

So, it’s important that you focus your art collection on including artworks that bring calm and clarity into your world.

Calm to be interpreted as art that provides soothing colour and easy-on-the-eye content. In the other words, steer clear of ‘loud’, provocative or overly contrived artworks that can make you feel mentally stressed or easily provoked.

Clarity can be interpreted as artworks that bring you a sense of release and promote wellbeing, and give you a sense of focus.

3. Enhance your aesthetic in your home away from home

Well-chosen art can elevate the overall aesthetic of your space, making it feel more sophisticated and stylish.

You don’t have to choose art purely based on practical or therapeutic reasons. Remember, that being yourself – expressing your desires – are just as therapeutic as choosing art that evokes a sense of calm.

Living within budget constraints as a student is practical and smart! You don’t need to go into debt to buy art.

If you’re considering borrowing money from parents or relatives in order to make an art investment – with the intention that of possibly growing your wealth – you should read this article. It teaches you the pros and cons of doing so in order to help you decide if it’s a good thing for you or not.

I personally love creating luxury on a budget. And it not so much the money as it is about the challenge of creating something beautiful while being challenged. It’s a process that forces you to think outside of the box and this is when we are at our most creative!

You can absolutely create a luxury dorm room with art, without even buying furniture or decor items. Check out this board for ideas for luxury dorm room art.

And what’s more , you scan save money by creating an art collection based purely on printable art. Check out our collection of digital downloads at a great affordable price here.

4. Art can be the conversation starter of a new friendship

Whether you choose art that is bold and colourful or chilled, and meditative, it can help you connect with roommates and visitors.

Yes, it is a wonderful t conversation starter and in between, be a little provocative too. But, thankfully, you do have a bit of control over that. And I say that because art is so subjective and even that is stating the obvious. You can’t please everyone and you shouldn’t have to. You should always be yourself and express yourself the way you need to.

However, there is a way – within the college dorm room context – of circumventing any unnecessary drama by choosing art that promotes harmony while being interesting, and thought provoking at the same time. In that way, you’re off the people-pleasing track.

You can do this by collecting art from a variety of different genres and aesthetics. Better yet, choose art created by different age groups as well, so you get a more varied collection.

Also, choose art that doesn’t feel too serious. Maintain your sense of humour about the whole art collecting thing especially when you’re in college, there’s plenty of time for you to get serious with art investment later on.

Types of affordable art for a dorm room:

Now, let’s dive into how you can find affordable art that doesn’t compromise on sophistication.

1. Prints and Posters

Prints and posters are excellent options for budget-conscious college students. There is a wide range of choices available, from classic art reproductions to contemporary designs. Thanks to the rise and popularity of printables, buying affordable art for DIY printing has never been made easier.

Here’s how to maximise the use of prints and posters:

Digital Downloads

– Affordable Classics

Try to source prints of famous artworks like Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Monet’s “Water Lilies.” These are timeless and can lend sophistication to your space.

– Unique and Personalized Posters

Find print-on-demand sites that offer customizable posters. You can create unique designs that reflect your interests, such as quotes from your favorite books or lyrics from your best loved songs. Again, think outside of the box.

– Frame It Up

Invest in inexpensive frames to elevate the look of your posters. Simple black or white frames can add a touch of sophistication. I love thin, natural wooden frames and these are quite affordable considering you can just reuse them in years to come as your art aesthetic evolves.

2. Canvas Prints

Canvas prints are an excellent way to add an another physical dimension to your dorm room, especially if it’s wide depth block. They offer a more substantial and artistic feel compared to posters. Consider these tips when choosing canvas prints:

They offer a more substantial and artistic feel compared to posters. Consider these tips when choosing canvas prints:

– Select Personal Favorites

Choose canvas prints of artworks or photographs that hold personal significance. Whether it’s a photo from a memorable trip or an artwork you created back in school that still resonates with you, these pieces will make your space feel more like home.

Opt for wrapped canvas prints, where the image wraps around the edges of the canvas. This provides a more finished and polished look that doesn’t require framing.

– Proportion of the canvas to your dorm room

Pay attention to the size of your canvas. A single large canvas can make a bold statement and you only need one. On the other hand, a series of smaller canvases can make the space feel bigger than it is, as long as the canvases are low-depth blocks. Thicker ones might make the space feel claustrophobic.

3. DIY Art

If you’re feeling creative, consider making your own art. Not only is this a budget-friendly option, but it also allows you to create something unique.

Here are some DIY art ideas:

Abstract Paintings

Create abstract paintings using acrylic or watercolor paints. Experiment with colors and textures to achieve the desired look.


These are always fun to do and totally in the spirit of DIY!

Collect magazine clippings, photos, or postcards and arrange them into a collage. This can be a great way to capture your interests and memories.

What about a collage of your best moments with friends or someone special? Or that first trip overseas!

Typographic Art

Design your own typographic art with inspirational quotes or phrases. You can easily create these using design software or even by hand, although a program like Canva is probably your best bet.

If you’re still waiting on the arrival of your first laptop, you can download the Canva mobile app and start designing on your smart phone right away, it’s totally free.


If you have a camera or a smartphone, consider printing and framing your own photographs. You can capture beautiful moments or intriguing subjects around your campus.

You can also use Canva to import your photos to and create art with it.

4. Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

One person’s trash can be another’s treasure, and thrift stores and flea markets are treasure troves of affordable art.

This is great way to source unique frames, vintage posters, or even original artworks.

Here are some tips for thrift store art hunting:

– Check for Quality

Examine the condition of the art and the frame. Sometimes, a simple frame upgrade – with a ding and painting – can turn a mediocre piece into something special.

– Embrace Vintage Vibes

Vintage and retro art pieces can add character to your dorm room.

Search for old movie posters, vintage ad campaigns , or nostalgic artwork from bygone eras.

– Try for a discount

Don’t be afraid to haggle at flea markets or negotiate prices at thrift stores. You might score a better deal than you expect.

5. Online Marketplaces and Art Sales

The online or virtual art world has made it easier than ever to find affordable art. Online marketplaces, art sales, virtual rooms and discount art websites offer a wide variety of options.

Keep these tips in mind when shopping online:

– Look for Student Discounts

Most art websites offer student discounts, so be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

– Invest in Local Artists

Look for local artists who may offer their work at lower prices. Supporting local talent can be both rewarding and budget-friendly.

– Look for Art Sales

Many online art retailers have regular sales and promotions. Subscribe to their newsletters or follow them on social media to stay updated on current and future discounts.

6. Temporary Dorm Room Art

If you’re concerned about damaging your dorm room walls, then use temporary wall art solutions.

These installation options are budget-friendly and dorm-room friendly:

– Dorm Room Wall Decals

Wall decals are removable stickers that can add flair to your walls without leaving a mark. They come in various designs and can be easily applied and removed.

– Washi Tape Art

Get creative with washi tape, a decorative adhesive tape available in countless colors and patterns. You can actually use it to create geometric designs, frames, or even your own abstract art directly on the wall.

– Adhesive and temporary hooks

Use Command Strips or hooks to hang lightweight art and frames without nails or screws. They are easy to remove without damaging the walls.

7. DIY Matting and Framing

Framing and matting can influence the appearance of your art. While custom framing can be costly, you can achieve a similar effect by doing the framing yourself. And if you’re living in a dorm room, I encourage it.

Here’s how:

– Affordable Frames

Purchase affordable frames from craft stores, thrift shops, or discount retailers. Look for standard sizes to make it easier and more budget-friendly.

– Matting Alternatives

Instead of custom matting, use colored poster board or foam board as a cost-effective alternative. Cut it to size and use it to frame your art.

– Online Customisation

Some online frame shops offer customization at a fraction of the cost of traditional custom framing. Explore these options for a more polished look.

8. Keep your dorm room art fresh

Lastly, bear in mind that you don’t need to stick with the same art throughout your college years.

Rotate and refresh your dorm room art as you evolve to keep things interesting. It should reflect you, and your evolving tastes and experiences. This approach will allow you to continue exploring affordable art options and maintain a dynamic, sophisticated dorm room living space.


Creating a stylish and sophisticated dorm room with art is completely achievable even on a tight budget.

From prints and posters, to printables and block-framed canvas art. And don’t forget photography!

Think of creative layouts of multiples of family photos or romantic pics of special moments in your life, the possibilities are endless and all you have to do is think outside of the box.

If you’re overwhelmed with choice right now, start by purchasing one of our super affordable art, digital downloads.

Here’s 3 reasons why printing your own art is worth every penny:

  • It’s very affordable.
  • There’s now buyers’ remorse. The investment risk is low. So, if you don’t like it anymore you haven’t spent a small fortune on art.
  • Included in this purchase are multiple, popular print sizes for which you can easily get low cost (but equally attractive and good quality) frames. That makes it very easy for you to decorate with and built a gallery wall if you prefer.

Digital download or printables, give you flexibility. Meaning, you can print it on any type of paper – at a really affordable art price.

If you liked this blog post, you’ll love this one about more feel-good art loaded with colour therapy.

And here’s a FREEBIE that has loads of value if you’re building up an art collection as a collector or gallery wall at home.

Download this FREE Art Care and Preservation Guide.

This guide will teach you how to take care of art you’ve invested in or plan to in future. It applies not only to expensive artworks, but to lesser costly ones too.

The point is, all your artwork, whether framed or block mounted canvas, deserve to be looked after because it’s all your money spent and invested. You need to protect the ones that still need to grow your wealth in future.

Make sure you download this one – it’ll come in handy during times of moving house when you need to make sure that no artworks get damaged during an already stressful process.

a thumbnail image of the cover of the free ebook How-to guide with the title 'Art Care and Preservation Guide, available for download on the blog; this guide is valuable to readers who are interested in this image shows one way of 20 wall decor ideas and need to know how to take care of the art they purchase

FREE Guide

Download this FREE guide. You’ll learn how to preserve and maintain the individual artworks in your collection.

Learn how to protect your investment now.

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