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Maximize dorm room space and style

  • Story Highlights
  • Dorm beds require twin-XL sheets -- jersey cotton sets are soft, easily washable
  • Create more storage space with bed risers and plastic storage boxes
  • Display necklaces, scarves, belts, and accessories on a men's tie rack
  • Don't bring decorative "frou-frou" pillows and every childhood stuffed animal
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By Riley Tant
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( -- For college-bound students, dorm room success hinges on learning how to maximize space and style on a minimal budget. Check out these great tips from a recent college graduate who learned the hard way.

Keep your shoes off of the dusty closet floor in this over-the-door shoe hanger.

Duvet covers are easy to wash and allow you to change your bedding each year.

Sweet sheets

Many dorm beds require twin-XL sheets, so don't waste money on high thread count sheets you won't be able to use later. Instead, buy inexpensive jersey cotton sheet sets. They are soft, easily washable, and with two sets, they can be switched out between laundry trips.

Tip: Stains will be easier to get rid of on white sheets. Just add some bleach in the next load of whites.

Bright bedding

Don't buy new bedding every year. Instead, invest in a high-quality synthetic down comforter. It's great for all seasons and temperatures and will last all four years (or five for some students) of college. Add color and style with a printed duvet cover. Look for one that's machine-washable with a print that hides spots. Show us your dorm room

Tip: Make the bed every day, even if you just pull the comforter up. It's surprising how much cleaner the room will look. MyHomeIdeas: More bedroom ideas

Store more

Create more storage space with bed risers. Instead of dragging winter clothes back and forth from home each season, keep out-of-season clothes stored in plastic under-the-bed storage boxes. They're stackable and easy to roll out.

Tip: Choose clear ones so you can quickly see what's inside.

Don't Miss

Thrifty bed skirt

Keep those storage containers out of sight with a custom-length bed skirt. If you have a sewing machine and some know-how, you can easily make your own custom bed skirt to match the height of your bed.

Burlap comes in a variety of colors and is a durable, affordable fabric. The rough texture of the weave will add an organic feel to your room.

Tip: When measuring, be sure to include the added height of the bed risers. If you don't know the height, leave on excess fabric and use iron-on hem tape when you move in.

Build a bookcase

With the right tools, an over-the-bed bookcase is much cheaper to make than buying metal shelving. It can easily be painted to match any bedding and is aesthetically pleasing.

Tip: Use beaded board as the backing for the shelf to add visual interest. Before building, make sure to find out the width of the dorm beds. Many universities have these measurements available on their Web sites.

Tie rack, not just for men

Display necklaces, scarves, belts, and accessories on a men's tie rack. This is an easy way to stay organized and save dresser drawer space.

Tip: For quick access, attach the rack to the inside of the closet door with double-sided foam tape.

Hang your heels

Instead of throwing shoes on the closet floor, keep them organized with an over-the-door shoe hanger. Go ahead and invest in a durable canvas shoe hanger because the plastic ones fall apart before the end of the semester.

Tip: Make sure to get in the habit of actually putting shoes away instead of throwing them on the floor. Otherwise, it defeats the whole purpose. Mom's not the maid anymore!

Keep it simple

Resist the urge to fill your bed with too many decorative "frou-frou" pillows and every stuffed animal from your childhood. Keep things simple by using one standard pillow sham and one accent pillow. MyHomeIdeas: Make a better bed

Tech tip

Laptop computers are great space savers for the dorm room desk. They also grant the freedom to study anywhere on campus for those days when you just need some space from your roommates (not that you don't love them!).

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