The key to furnishing your dorm room is to be very selective about what you will need. The reality is that your dorm room probably is smaller than your bedroom. Plus you have to share it with someone else, and you have to take toiletries, food, and other items that you store elsewhere in your family home. That means that the decision on how to furnish your dorm room is one that you consider carefully.
- Find out the dimensions of your dorm room as soon as one is assigned. If you fill out the paperwork as quickly as possible, most schools will assign you a dorm room in the late spring or early summer. Also see if the school has a record of the size of the furniture and closets in the dorm room. Finding out as much as you can works to your advantage.
- Determine how much you have to spend. Perhaps your parents will give you some money, or you may have to use money you have earned or received as a gift.
- Contact your roommate as soon as possible about joint-use items. Most dorm rooms have space for only one microwave and television. If you're living in a suite, then you may find that you need to decide who will purchase couches and other items. Knowing ahead of time who will get these items will make it much easier to decide where to allocate your money.
- As soon as you know the furnishing you will be responsible for buying, start looking to your relatives. Grandma may be willing to part with that television in the back bedroom that no one ever uses. Uncle Joe may sell his recliner to you cheap because he's planning to get a new one.
- Classifieds in your college town also are a good source of used furniture for your dorm room. If you're like most college students, you don't plan to have this furniture long anyway, so you should search for deals. Also use online classifieds as you may be able to find good deals. Living near where you will attend college is a benefit here because you can take advantage of university advertising. Students often put ads on kiosks for furniture they're selling at rock-bottom prices because they're graduating. If you exhaust the classifieds, then try thrift shops when you get to town or go to discount stores for inexpensive furniture.
- Don't rule out updating the furniture on your own. Sometimes you can purchase a couch for $10-$20 and then make a slipcover for it. Be creative so that you can spend less of your money on your dorm room.