How to Outfit a Dorm for Less Than $500

Posted on 08/13/2013

The cost of college is skyrocketing and so is the expense of outfitting a dorm room. This year parents can expect to pay about $907 on average to stock a student's dorm. For parents hoping to do this on a budget check out these ideas for outfitting a dorm for less than $500.

Seating: $72
Bean bag chairs are a great option for dorm rooms. They're lightweight, durable and comfy. Pick up two Big Joe Dorm Chairs, on sale for $35.99 each at They even include a spot for stashing the remote control and a bottle of water.

Fridge: $100
A Midea compact fridge is on sale for $97.98 at, plus shipping is free. Reversible door hinges can be fastened on the right or left for customized use.

Microwave: $55
No dorm is complete without a microwave. How else will your college student heat up Hot Pockets at 2am? The Haier .7 cubic foot stainless steel microwave is only $55 at

Decor: $30
Naps are once again en vogue in college which means light-blocking curtains are essential. Pick up a pair of Xhilaration ruffled curtains, on sale for $20. Buy a coordinating clip light for late-night study sessions.

Rug: $50
Most dorm rooms are cold, stark places. Warm it up with the right rug like the Aura of Flora rectangle rug, $50 at Plus, save 15 percent on every College Shop purchase at with code BACK2CASA, and get free 1-2 day shipping on orders over $35.

Bedding: $60
Help your college co-ed create a comfy place to crash with a new set of bedding. Complete collections are on sale at JCPenney. For instance a Twin XL jcp home ensemble is only $59.99, regularly $120 and includes a reversible comforter, shams, sheets and pillowcases.

Bath and Laundry: $55
Don't forget the all-important shower caddy and laundry hamper. A basic Hygiene Kit at is $54.99 and includes both of these key items plus a set of towels.

Storage: $70
A storage ottoman is a great option for a dorm room with tight quarters. The Chevron Storage Ottoman at is on sale for $49.99 and comes in four color choices. Stock up on a couple of closet organizers to keep this small space clean-- at least when parents come to visit.

By Alison Storm

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