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Decking Out Dorm Room on a Budget

A lot of young people are heading off to college, where the first assignment will be fixing up their dorm room -- and doing it on a budget.

Back-to-college spending is expected to reach about $30.1 billion, or $612.12 per family, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

So, to show how you can make the most of your money, interior designer Kristan Cunningham shared suggestions on "The Early Show" Wednesday on achieving a stylish, new home-away-from-home without breaking the bank, using functional and fun items.

Cunningham said in recent years, the dorm room has come to represent who students are because it is their first space they get to create on their own. And now, students have a plethora of options available to them, Cunningham said, so they don't have to settle for the old milk crates and cinder blocks. Students are also savvier, according to Cunningham, so they're making smarter choices -- like investing in items that they can see themselves using for the next four years, or even beyond that in their first apartment.

Cunningham said the trick is to shop the big box stores to keep the prices where you want them, but to look beyond the standard back to school merchandise, and investigate items that feel a little more grown up.

Cunningham added a general rule of thumb for decorating small spaces is to avoid crazy patterns.

She said, "They'll just give you a headache in such a small space."

Instead, Cunningham said students should focus on making big, graphic, impactful statements, like a bright yellow framed fabric in front of the charcoal curtains. She added students should try to stick to a fairly neutral base layer to have the option of swapping out an item or two to change the whole look.

But how do you make a space your own without damaging the space with nails or hooks?

Cunningham said most students in dorms are faced with the same problem: cinder block walls that you're not allowed to nail into. She suggested using adhesive gadgets by Command that stick right up and snap back down, leaving no damage to the wall.

Another essential to a dorm room is the storage. Bins, Cunningham said, consolidate and store all of the smaller stuff, which helps keep a space organized. However, keeping bins in matching or coordinating colors helps with the visual chaos.

Another way to create more space in a dorm room is to buy bed raisers, which can free up inches of space for more storage.

Other items, such as ottomans, Cunningham said, can perform double-duty of providing seating and act as a desk, chair or end table. Ottomans, she added, are also a great investment for a first apartment.

For a list of products seen on "The Early Show", go to Page 2.

ITEMS FROM IKEA

MIL white floor lamps - $19.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40138637

FADO table lamps - $14.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70096377

ODDA storage box with casters -$79.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10120554

KAJSASTINA yellow burst fabric for wall art - $5.99 a yard
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60160038

FLÖRT boxes in grey/yellow - $7.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00129970

FIRA mini-chest with 9 drawers - $19.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80073304

FIRA mini-chest with 3 drawers - $14.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60073300

KASSETT magazine file 2 pks - $2.99 per 2 pack
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10159508

GOSA MÅBÄR neckroll inserts (with 2 white covers as well) - $19.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00134617

EKTORP lumbar cushions in SVANBY Grey - $19.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40168436

RITVA curtains with tie-backs in gray - $29.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00111989

TUPPLUR roller blinds in black, size 55" by 77" - $34.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90130691

IKEA PS STOFF throw in dark gray - $19.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70144533

VIKA AMON table tops in white, 39 3/8" x 23 5/8" - $14.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50071170

GALANT A-legs in white (adjustable up to 35") - $10.00
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80134802

KASSETT DVD box in white - $4.99 per 2 pack
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00115464

KASSETT box for paper in white - $5.99 per 2 pack
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00167716

2pks EMU box with lid in silver - $6.99 per set of 2
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/46686200

SUMMERA drawer inserts with 6 compartments - $4.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00137946

ANTONIUS laundry bag with stand in white/silver - $14.99
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79838586

TARGET:

Storage Ottoman- Gray - $69.99 ONLINE and $17.48 IN STORE
http://www.target.com/Storage-Ottoman-Gray/dp/B001HTAJGS/sr=1-1/qid=1250621687/ref=sr_1_1/182-6999215-1824817?ie=UTF8&search-alias=tgt-index&frombrowse=0&pricerange=&index=target&field-browse=1038576&rh=k%3Astorage%20ottoman&page=2

Pedestal Table - Pixilated Dot (WHITE ONE) - $19.99
http://www.target.com/Pedestal-Table-Pixilated-Dot/dp/B0029TL07C/sr=1-10/qid=1250624865/ref=sr_1_10/182-6999215-1824817?ie=UTF8&search-alias=tgt-index&frombrowse=0&index=target&rh=k%3APedestal%20tables&page=1

Pedestal Table - Black Damask (BLACK ONE) - $19.99
http://www.target.com/Pedestal-Table-Black-Damask/dp/B0029TL04U/sr=1-11/qid=1250624865/ref=sr_1_11/182-6999215-1824817?ie=UTF8&search-alias=tgt-index&frombrowse=0&index=target&rh=k%3APedestal%20tables&page=1

Elite Poster Frame - Black (16 x 20) - $5.99
http://www.target.com/Elite-Poster-Frame-Black-16x20/dp/B001RUKOV2/sr=1-2/qid=1250624965/ref=sr_1_2/182-6999215-1824817?ie=UTF8&search-alias=tgt-index&frombrowse=0&index=target&rh=k%3AElite%20Poster%2016x20&page=1

BED BATH & BEYOND

Tall black bed lifts (set of 4)
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=13262713

Wheeled 29" h 3- drawer unit
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=15621516

Laptop Lock
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=15844426

Campus Security Safe
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=116350

ORGANIZE.COM

Frame chalkboard stickers
http://www.organize.com/decor-chalkboard-sticker-large-kikkerland.html

Desktop storage carousel
http://www.organize.com/desktop-storage-carousel.html

Set black plastic flatware
http://www.organize.com/orleans-flatware-12-piece-set.html

DORMBUYS.COM

Pulp bulletin board
http://www.dormbuys.com/shop/product/550