Five Thrift Store Purchases to Dress Up Your Dorm

Whether you’re a freshman with a low budget or a senior looking for simple ways to add personality to your space, decorating dorms can get pricey and overwhelming.

From desks to bins, and dressers, furnishing and decorating a dorm room can quickly become almost as stressful as applying to college. Save time, money, and the planet this back-to-school season by choosing secondhand first.

While not everything can be thrifted all of the time, there are dorm room essentials that can be found at your local thrift shops.

Desks + Chairs

A dorm room is never complete without a desk and chair that will come in handy while you study, do homework, and do the occasional Facebook scroll. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a brand-new set that will likely be donated upon graduating.

Instead, pick up one that was likely used by someone that was once in your shoes (or dorm, in this case). You’ll spend a fraction of the price and feel just as comfortable.


If you’re lucky enough to score a room with a view, then you also have the chore of having to purchase curtains that block the sun and add personality to your dorm. Thrift stores have isles upon isles of curtains that can do just that.

A warm wash and steam will make it dorm ready.

Dressers + Nightstands

Finding space saving yet chic furniture can be difficult. A trick to shopping thrift stores is improvising and working with what’s available. A stool can be easily converted into a nightstand, and nobody has to know that your dresser was originally a pantry organizer.

Make sure to have measurements and ideas before your thrifting adventure.


Give your dorm a homey touch by adding plants. New planters can get expensive. Instead, browse through thrift store home sections and find a planter that speaks to you and your style. Most nurseries will gladly plant flowers or succulents into your own planter for a small fee.

Office Supplies + Stationary

While most of our work is now on our lightweight laptops, office supplies are still must-haves. Most thrift stores are filled with pencil cups, paper trays, and gently used cork boards. Most of the time, a simple cleaning and disinfecting can make all these supplies look as good as new.

Happy decorating!