TODAY   |  August 25, 2011

Deck out a dorm room for $300

TODAY’s consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman and Elizabeth Mayhew, of Woman’s Day magazine, share fun and frugal tips for helping college kids decorate their dorm rooms without breaking the bank.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> dorm room makeovers. the year is getting under way. we asked janice lieberman to find a way for college students to spruce up their digs without breaking their parents' bank accounts . good morning.

>> that's the key. we thought it would be fun to hook up two freshmen girls from hofstra university in new york with two interior designers and offer a challenge. decorate their room in one day. the budget, $300. it's a dorm room decorating showdown. our contestants. incoming freshmen. miesha and lucy.

>> you ready to meet your designers.

>> we had interior designers elaine griffin from better homes and gardens and jeff wade from miami.

>> ground rules. you have $300 each. there will be no curtains, no fire hazards , no poles into the wall. and you must include all of their stuff that they have brought with them.

>> are you ready?

>> yes.

>> time to check out the dorm rooms.

>> oh! this is your pal lace. what do you think?

>> it's nice.

>> i'm excited.

>> this is going to be social central, work central.

>> entertainment, study area, everything.

>> yes.

>> studying is part of it, you know?

>> yeah.

>> tip number one -- have a plan.

>> you never want to do dorm decorating -- number one, your floor plan and your shopping list .

>> you like? because then we can put these in front of your bet and they serve as storage but they also serve as places to sit down.

>> tip two, the sales --

>> what is college without a beanbag chair.

>> on sale.

>> $20 on sale.

>> didn't take long before the competition started to get dirty.

>> here we go. dorm room makeover.

>> i know.

>> not a garden makeover.

>> really?

>> we can't afford it.

>> $72 with tax.

>> back at the dorm, it was time to get to work. five hours later, the rooms were in order and ready for show.

>> we did it.

>> we did it.

>> just in time for our judge, "today's" life style contributor, elizabeth.

>> everybody has smiles.

>> now for the big reveal. first, lucy's room.

>> oh, it is charming.

>> oh, how cute.

>> we tried to do something to create a little bed nook area here.

>> how is this on the wall -- a piece of velcro?

>> a piece of velcro?

>> what about storage?

>> storage. these are all storage bins. these are storage bins.

>> they came in at $270.

>> next -- miesh a's room.

>> welcome to miesh a's room.

>> so you've put up a curtain.

>> wall pops. they're repositional and they never stick.

>> tons of storage. at the same time, they're seating.

>> social central. the living room , it's --

>> your kitchen. it's your study hall , it's your closet. we accommodated for each of the funks.

>> their total, $299.80. after being pretty wowed, it was a tough decision for this judge.

>> elaine wins on storage. you win on design. jack wins on budget. functionality, you were tied. elaine , you won on practicality, because i do think it goes back to storage. when i add up the points, jeff , you win.

>>> well, to save more money, you can call your future roommate in advance and decide who will bring and share the microphone, the refrigerator, the television. that will save a lot of money.

>> the students were the winners in all of that.

>> absolutely.

>> elizabeth mayhew, the aforementioned superjudge. i liked that kind of stance there. the economy is affecting how much we can spend. but you're saying we can do some good stuff even on a short budget.

>> this was case in point. they were creative about what they did. i do judge on things like storage because after all, a lot of time this is is the first time that kids are living in a cramped -- we're used to it in new york city , but to a much smaller space. there are great sales and more dorm stuff than ever. we want to start with the bed. you can get a bed -- this is target, it comes with the shams and the quilt.

>> the bedding?

>> yeah, the bed -- when you get to the dorms, look at the furniture, they asked that you don't bring a lot of furniture. it has to be fire protected. there's a lot of rules to dorm rooms. you want to call before. storage is key. so we put this bed on risers. you can get a set of risers for $15.

>> they're stable.

>> it's the weight of the bed that holds them in. under the bed storage is important.

>> creates opportunity.

>> from lowe 's. you want to take advantage of every single space. more storage. these are some of the things that are use in the actual dorm room , lowe 's, k-mart, bed, bath & beyond, you nape it, you can get it there. ikea, get stuff up off of the floor. they need to be organized. an organized student will be a better performing student.

>> i love what we saw on the walls.

>> here's the stuff that i never would have thought of for a dorm.

>> jeff went to lowe 's and bought this piece of la 'tis and painted it, we mickiced it here. they will cut it. it's cheap. apply it to the wall with a piece of velcro. a book shelf is one piece of furniture you want to have. this is inexpensive from ikea. and there's a huge --

>> all of these.

>> there are many sizes. if you put wallz decals on-line. you get wall pop. this is from target. it was $15. and it gives a little bit of pop to your room. plus it comes off and you can put it on your dorm room next year.

>> it has a little bling.

>> yeah.

>> the jewel.

>> very fun.

>> yeah.

>> you have to be very careful about what you put on your walls. they will not let you put nails. they're not going to let you paint. so we love adhesive -- professional adhesive velcro is going to be your best friend for your walls because it will put things up and won't damage the wall after.

>> you put it for pictures or --

>> things like -- for pictures, you bring pictures, that's how you need to put it up. that is how jeff put up the trellis.

>> you can paint?

>> this is for painting the trellis.

>> jeff used a custom paint. but if you want to go easy, we did this yesterday with spray paint . so it's super easy.

>> so fun.

>> the family can get involved.

>> believe me. you're about to do it. i will.

>> not too much money.

>> thank you so much. you did a great job both