12 Ways to Maximize a Tiny Dorm Room—Without Blowing Your Budget

And all for less than the cost of a college textbook.

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Envision going off to college, filled with curiosity and a thirst for a new chapter. You're probably not thinking about the micro-room that'll be your new home for the next two semesters (and that you'll probably share with another person). As you start unpacking, that 10-by-10 feels more like a cluttered closet than a room. Before you freak out, consider dorm furniture and accessories that maximize space.

With a little savvy and creativity, you can fit everything you need (and want!) in even the tiniest dorm room. We've compiled the best space-saving dorm ideas from decorators and organizers to help you find ways to arrange your dorm room and turn that boring box into a cozy nest (that looks pretty great, too).

Lift-Top Coffee Table

Lift-Top Coffee Table
walmart.com

Want to have coffee while you fire off a term paper, but also need a place to keep extra towels or blankets? The key to small space decorating is finding pieces that do double duty, says James Wheeler of Atlanta-based J. Wheeler Designs. He recommends a lift-top coffee table for its functionality as a workspace and storage unit. It can even serve as a dinner table.

Magazine File

Magazine File
containerstore.com

Deborah Gussoff, certified professional organizer and owner of In Order, Inc., loves the versatile storage options of magazine files. Their vertical format is great for small spaces, and they come in lots of colors.

If your desk hutch has a bookshelf on top, line up a few of them to hide odds and ends. She also recommends putting one by the door for an easy place to drop keys and other small items that would otherwise clutter the room.

Closet Tools

Double Closet Rod
containerstore.com

For many new college students, dorm life comes with a big dose of clothing insecurity—which is why it's comforting to bring as many options as possible. But how do you fit years of carefully curated outfits into that tiny dorm closet?

One dorm space-saver is to hang a closet rod to instantly double the capacity, and then add ultra slim hangers to maximize the number of items to fit in that space. Just like that, you don't have to part with your parents and your beloved overalls at the same time.

Bed Risers

Bed Risers
bedbathandbeyond.com

A typical dorm room bed takes up nearly 7 feet of horizontal space. Just imagine how much you can fit under there if you lift the bed 4 or 5 inches off the ground!

Abbe Fenimore, owner of Studio Ten 25, a Dallas-based interior design firm and ecommerce site, recommends these tech-friendly risers that moonlight as additional outlets and USB chargers as one of her go-to space saving dorm ideas.

Under Bed Cart

http://www.containerstore.com/s/closet/underbed-storage/12?productId=10008372
containerstore.com

Speaking of under bed storage; once you've stowed extra towels, out-of-season clothes, and dirty laundry; you'll have plenty of room for a rolling cart or drawer under the bed. This way, important things (like emergency junk food) are always in reach.

Lifestyle blogger Lauren Gores Ireland recommends a plastic container for its easy cleaning properties; because something will (inevitably) spill. This one's on wheels, comes in a 6-pack, and is transparent, so you don't have to guess what's where.

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer

Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer
bedbathandbeyond.com

Sure, you could fit plenty of footwear into a lightweight organizer like this, but where's the fun in that? Gores suggests you get creative and use it as a hold-all for rolled T-shirts, clutches, and even umbrellas. It's an easy way to free up valuable drawer real estate and maximize dorm space.

Storage Ottoman

Space-Saving Storage Ottoman
Target

Taking double-duty to the next level, ottomans add storage and double as seating. When not in use, Fenimore suggests sliding them under the desk or stacking them in a corner to save floor space. To save even more, top with a similarly sized tray to use as a bedside table.

Room Divider

Room Divider
target.com

Creating different zones in a room makes it feel bigger and more organized, says Wheeler. This tiered shelving unit doubles as a room divider, providing extra storage without blocking light. For antisocial folks or those not overly fond of their roommates, simply fill the cubes with books or fabric bins to create much-needed separation.

Command Hooks

Command Hooks
amazon.com

To maximize dorm space, the right combination of Command hooks can open up a lot of opportunities—beyond simply mounting pictures. For example, attach Command hooks to the ceiling and hang a curtain around the bed to create a private nook. Or add a go-to spot to hang your backpack on the wall, clearing up your (probably messy) floor.

Bed Organizer

PB Teen Footboard Organizer
PB Teen

Getting the top bunk means being far away from your essentials. And who wants to climb every time you need headphones, a tissue, or a snack? This sleek footboard caddy is a great space-saving dorm idea, and convenient even if your bed is on the floor.

Stackable Laundry Basket

Maximize dorm room - stackable laundry hamper (Brabantia)
amazon.com

Instead of a clunky laundry bag taking up space in your floor or closet, choose this laundry basket you can stack and fold up when you're not using it. Win-win!

Organizing Cart

Organizing Cart
sevilleclassics.com

For organizing everyday items—think pencils, makeup, hairbrush, papers—this colorful find is one of the easiest space-saving dorm ideas. Stow it in the corner, move it around to get ready in front of the mirror, and then push it back when you're finished.

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