How much are you willing to spend on a dorm room?

Good Morning America took a look at blinged out dorm rooms this week, and I wanted to share the video with you. ( I am having to embed the AOL report on it because I can’t embed the GMA video. Here’s the link to the full video if you want to see it.) The suite mates add drapes, a chandelier, and custom monograms. They have coordinated linens and a cute little couch.

From AOL.com:

“Good Morning America” reports on one St. Louis family that spent $2,500 on decorating their daughter’s dorm room. The daughter explained why saying, “The more comfortable the environment, the more comfortable you’re going to be.” The family used Decor2UrDoor, a website where students can find things like shag rugs, couches, wall art, monograms and even chandeliers for their dorm room. “GMA” reports these tricked out dorms are becoming a nationwide trend.

I lived in the dorm all four years. (Make fun if you must but it was stumbling distance to the journalism school and inexpensive.) We had double lofts for our beds and had an old couch and carpet down below. We had TV, and I think a microwave (maybe it was a toaster oven). We didn’t change the desks, except with photos. We didn’t have any drapes. We didn’t have air condition but I thought it was quite comfortable. Could I have been a better student with matching linens? Probably not.

How much are you willing to spend on your college student’s dorm room? What are essentials? What are luxuries? What is ridiculous?

60 comments Add your comment

Ralph

September 4th, 2012
4:29 am

In my dorm room, 1969-73, I had a bedspread, cheap metal bookcases, a stereo on which to play my favorite LP’s, eventually a castoff rug, and posters that eventually boiled down from 10 (variety of hippie images some in da-glo) to 1 (Desiderata). My senior year I had a rich roommate who brought in a 12″ color TV and a small refrigerator. Everything else came with the room. Occasionally, I was able to sneak my girlfriend up to my room. I did not feel deprived.

homeschooler

September 4th, 2012
6:33 am

Wow. I’m sure I’d go all out decorating and buying little things to make the room fun and comfortable but I’d be shopping at the Goodwill and Target not hiring an interior decorator. Sorry, that’s a little over the top to me.
But then again, after these parents spend 3000 dollars on senior prom why not another 2 grand on a dorm room? Wonder how many of these kids and parents are actually paying for college or are they taking out loans and then spending a couple thousand for dorm decor.

becky

September 4th, 2012
6:40 am

In the late 70’s – red, white and blue shag carpet I bought at Roses. I had a tv and stereo – my roommate brought the fridge and toaster over. We did have air conditioning and the walls had lots of posters. My parents did put a private phone in my room but I think that was for their benfit more than mine.
My nephew was in the suites at Georgia State. One of the boys parents sent their maid over weekly to clean for them. I just hope they paid her enouugh to clean a dorm room with 4 boys living there.

catlady

September 4th, 2012
6:49 am

I was in the dorm for 3 years only (because I graduated after 3 years) but I did get a new set of sheets (extra long) to bring. I also got a study lamp, and I was allowed to bring my stereo . Total cost: less than $30 (1970)

First daughter, 1995, spent ALL SUMMER shopping for the perfect stuff. Spent about $100.

Son, 1999, had to be stopped as he went down the driveway by his sister to come back and get sheets and towels. He had his guitars and sleeping bag, and thought that was all he needed.

Younger daughter, 2003, shopped for a few weeks. Spent about $100 on room items (now, clothes were another matter)

Dennis

September 4th, 2012
8:16 am

Another example of kids assuming their PARENTS’ lifestyle is THEIR lifestyle and living standard.

Same reason why most kids out of college are carrying hundreds of dollars a month in expenses for mobile phone and cable television.

I slowly accumulated college stuff over four years – I bought a 13″ TV my second year, small frig one year, and so on. We lived with a lot of used couches and wal-mart furniture.

Mayhem

September 4th, 2012
8:26 am

We didn’t have anything fancy in our dorm rooms. Our beds were like Murphy beds, we could put them up in the wall to creat more space. We had closets and a desk and that was it. They supplied sheets, and every Wednesday we lined up at the laundry and swapped out our sheets.

My oldest went away 3 years ago to college. She spent her entire summer before babysitting, and therefore paid for everything herself to decorate her dorm. She took great care of everything, and now she is using most of that stuff to decorate her first apartment. So proud!!!!

Techmom

September 4th, 2012
9:10 am

I’m guessing we’ll spend a hundred dollars or so next year when the boy goes off to college. We don’t have any single or twin beds in our house so we’ll have to buy a bedding set at a minimum. I’ll probably send old towels with him and buy new ones for the house though. But I’m guessing we’ll spend some on odds & ends like a lamp and some organizers (not that they will get used).

Mayhem – Murphy beds and linen service are a great idea for dorm rooms.

motherjanegoose

September 4th, 2012
9:22 am

I did not watch the video, as it shows no longer available on my computer.

I had a hand me down beadspread, rug, sheets and towels. When I arrived, my room mates and I discussed curtains. I made them from yellow gingham as it was inexpensive. We had an iron and a box fan. No fridge, microwave or TV. We did have a phone in the room and a popcorn popper.

For my own two, we discussed things with the other room mate and his/her parents. Since we knew they would most likely be living in the dorm for only one year, it was pointless to spend lots of money. We may have spent $300. I am not in favor of providing every whim for your children. I believe they need to step up to the plate and work to provide some of their own things. My own two did. My daughter was just talking about how much her car will be worth when she pays it off this year and what kind of payment she might afford when she sells it to get a new one after college.

Some children only dream of going to college and some parents are sending their kids to college with $2500 worth of dorm accessories? When I finished college and we got married…we had $500 in the bank. We lived in a dump of a trailer with no TV. Husband’s Grandma gave us her old b/w after 6 months. We put it on big empty box, covered with a table cloth. When we had been married a year and saved up our own $$$ we moved into a little duplex that was newer and we were so proud. We bought an old dishwasher that was portable and had to be rolled over to the sink and hooked up….anyone else remember?

Sometimes I think children today miss the important step of doing without and then being proud when they have accomplished a goal to acquire the things they did not have when they statrted their journey.

Whomever marries the girl whose parents provided $2500.00 for their dorm room will have big shoes to fill. Just my opinion.

motherjanegoose

September 4th, 2012
9:24 am

oops…her dorm room….

Bernie

September 4th, 2012
9:37 am

Can you say everything imaginable, that you could find at Home and fit in just a smaller square feet of space.

Berhane G/yesus Habtu

September 4th, 2012
9:44 am

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Techmom

September 4th, 2012
9:50 am

@MJG “Whomever marries the girl whose parents provided $2500.00 for their dorm room will have big shoes to fill.” I couldn’t agree more. My son’s girlfriend gets everything handed to her and I’m quite sure she will be “that girl” when she goes to college. She is being raised by her grandparents and both sets of grandparents give her things to make up for her crappy parental situation. I keep thinking, didn’t they learn their lesson the first go round (with this girls’ mother)??

I told my son that while it’s ok to date her in HS, this is not the type of girl he needs to marry or be with long term unless he wants to take care of her forever. She has no idea what it’s like to work for anything. They give her money for everything she wants whenever she asks – it’s not an allowance that she has to budget. She doesn’t even have any chores around the house.

I told him that unfortunately his example of a wife and mother is me and he will be sorely disappointed if he marries someone who expects him to do everything for her! And I’m not just talking about opening doors and basic chivalry.

motherjanegoose

September 4th, 2012
9:57 am

@ Techmom….for year, I have called this girl a “price tag”. I can spot them a mile away. These are girls that cost lots of money to keep happy. Perhaps the parents or grandparents will kick in money forever but IMHO young marrieds have so much adjusting to do, that they do not need either one to be comfortable with getting whatever they desire and not even thinking about the cost. A recipe for financial war.

My daughter had a HS friend who was this way. After a year at college, she had a job and complained that her income did not match the things she wanted. REALLY? I am raising my hand that I still feel that way and I will be 53 soon. Anyone else?

Becky

September 4th, 2012
11:21 am

I have no experience with this..Yet…When my two head off to college, they will not get $2500.00 spent on decorating rooms..Heck, other than my furniture, I haven’t spent that much on my bedroom..

I have a coworker that has a daughter (senior in college) and she doesn’t have to work..Her Mom sends her a package every week of clothes, shoes or stuff for her dorm…They spend no less than $500.00 each year on Halloween stuff to decorate her apt. Yep, $500.00..After all, it’s the girls favorite holiday..:)

@Techmom..That girl was my cousin in high school..Daddy gave her everything..Even after she married up until the day her Dad passed away..Needless to say, she’s not a very happy person..

Mayhem

September 4th, 2012
11:23 am

My sister in law is a “Price tag”.

She laid down the law when she married my brother in law. She doesn’t work, she doesn’t cook, nor does she do housework. She has not worked a day in their marriage, She does not cook, they go out every night, her oven has never been used. If he isn’t home from work by 5:30, she will take the kids out, and he’s on his own for dinner. She has a housekeeper. My nieces have never been seen in the same outfit twice. She doesn’t do laundry, just goes and buys new clothes for her and the girls. but never anything for him, again, he’s on his own with clothing.

Now, he’s miserable, stuck with 2 young kids, who are future “price tags”. He works 6 days a week. He comes over to our house OFTEN for a good home cooked meal…..Bless his heart.

campbell's mom

September 4th, 2012
11:29 am

We spent about $300 on the dorm getting my freshman situated. That includes linens, towels, bathroom rug, snacks, and other stuff. My daughter also worked all summer and was able to save money to buy the incidental, or things that I deemed unnecessary.

FYI Parents: If you have a student heading off next year, now is the time to go out shopping for the XL twin sheets. After the initial rush of all parents looking for them for their freshman, they are now on sale. Dillards has several sets left, at 50% off. Also, when looking next year for the “cute” XL Twin comforter set, compare the size of a full size comforter to the XL twin, for some kids using the full size works fine.

PS

September 4th, 2012
11:53 am

Yikes. I think we bought maybe some sheets and a comforter when I headed off to college in ‘97. My roommate and I rented a mini-fridge and a microwave. I took my CD player, and roommate brought in a beat-up futon from her parents’ basement. We eventually inherited an area rug second-hand, but the rest of the room was decorated with concert posters, Christmas lights, etc. Oh, and the obligatory sticky stars on the ceiling. Nowhere near $2500 was spent. Yikes!

motherjanegoose

September 4th, 2012
11:54 am

@campbell’smom…excellent advice! Also…IMHO do not buy all those cute storage bins to lug things into the dorm. Once you get there, you will have to empty them and lug them home as there simply is no room. I suggest going to Costco and picking up the sturdy boxes they discard. They are perfect for hauling things and then you can toss them when finished. You will need some storage containers but not a dozen, if you are in a small dorm room.

@mayhem…they ARE out there, aren’t they?

Sarah

September 4th, 2012
12:06 pm

I despise these types of stories that focus on wealthy people and the things they buy, but pass them off as if they are just “regular kids” from “regular families”. Clearly, MOST people can not afford nor would they care to waste so much money on dorm room decorations that will be vomited on and trashed come Saturday night. MOST people have more common sense.

Besides, I think college should not only be about education, it should also be about stretching yourself and getting out of your element to experience life and who you want to be… not live in the womb that your parents buy for you. I’m sure if Wealthy parents are going to this length to make sure baby girl is comforatable, they are “assisting” her in many other ways and she will never grow up.

Mayhem

September 4th, 2012
12:14 pm

Who says they are “wealthy”? I’ve known numerous people who are not wealthy, and they sacrifice other things for themselves, so their children can have EVERYTHING.

Not me. I was raised with the motto “you will appreciate it more if you buy it yourself”.

Becky

September 4th, 2012
12:29 pm

@Mayhem..Yep. that is my coworker..She moved make home with her Mom after her Dad passed away..The house was paid for..So in order for her daughter to go to college, they took out a second mortgage on it..Yet, as I said before, they are always buying the girl stuff and sending it to her..Then she lost her Hope funding and they remortgaged the house again, so hope that she gets a good job to hope pay all of it back…

Warrior Woman

September 4th, 2012
12:46 pm

We spent about $300 dollars per dorm room last year. Found a deal with mini frig, microwave, and Keurig coffee maker for less than $200, then added bed linens, towels, and snacks. Roommates provided drapes, rug, futon, TV and printer to share, in return for our providing kitchen appliances. Room and board was insanely expensive – moving off campus this year was significantly cheaper for both my kids. No way would we have paid for the overpriced dorm design companies to do the rooms.

motherjanegoose

September 4th, 2012
12:51 pm

@ Warrior…we have found off campus housing to be a much better deal too. Ours both moved out their second year.

Denise

September 4th, 2012
1:14 pm

@Becky…she’s not paying it all back! If she was the kind of girl to pay it all back she wouldn’t have let them do it in the first place. She would have gotten a job before she told them she lost the HOPE, or at least, tried to apply for a loan. I was very blessed in that I had a full scholarship but trust and know, my parents would not have mortgaged their home (well Daddy’s home since Mama left when I was in college) for me to go to school. 1. I would have had to go to state school and 2. I would have had to live in whatever lifestyle they and I could have afforded. Period. Did they extend themselves (too much?) for my brother when he was in college? I think so but then again I’m bitter because he got a whole bunch of stuff I know I wouldn’t have gotten since my mother felt bad because she divorced Daddy and left him to live with Daddy…like she should have. But that’s beyond the point. LOL!

I have a friend that was a “price tag”/”mortgage note”…her father bought her a big diamond ring and told her not to marry a man who couldn’t give her a ring bigger.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 4th, 2012
1:14 pm

Sorry on the video guys – I am trying to get it fixed. I wrote it a few days ago and I guess the video expired – odd.

homeschooler

September 4th, 2012
1:18 pm

@ Sarah, I have to agree with Mayhem. The wealthy people I know do not buy their kids everything. The people I can see spending thousands of dollars on their high school and college kids for frivolous items are over the limits on their credit cards, have second mortgages and just always seem to find the money until they file for bankruptcy and start all over. All depends on one’s definition of wealth. You don’t have to be wealthy to acquire things.

motherjanegoose

September 4th, 2012
1:53 pm

@homeschooler…we say this all the time to our two: just because it looks like they have things…those things may not be paid for.

We have always tried to live within our means. My daughter is frugal and knows how to budget…not too common for 20 year old girls around here. She also knows how to cook delicious meals…REALLY not common and much appreciated at our house, when she is home. She still has her HOPE scholarship but works part time year round too.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 4th, 2012
1:58 pm

We are having technical problem with our computer system — I will correct the video as soon as I can.

In the meantime here is another blog on decorating a dorm room on a budget from our Budget Shopper —
http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-bargain-hunter/2010/07/28/dorm-room-decorating-on-a-budget/

...

September 4th, 2012
1:59 pm

As with all things, I will spend as much as I deem necessary, next question…

Becky

September 4th, 2012
2:08 pm

@Denise..I know that she won’t be paying it back..Her Mommy doesn’t expect her to..Yes, the girl is 22 and calls her Mom, Mommy…Once the daughter is out of college, she will move back home with her Mommy and Grandmother and they will all live there with the cats and dogs..Funny that she lost the Hope funding, because she only has 2 classes every other day and one class a couple a days per week, plus she’s in band and that’s the reason her Mommy doesn’t want her to work, so that she can spend more time studying..

You would just have to meet them, to understand..I mean, my coworker calls home 3-4 times per day just to talk to the cat..Yes, she calls home and her Mom holds the phone up to the cat and coworker talks to the cat…And good lord help us if the cat gets out of the hosue and into the yard. my coworker goes home to find it..:)

Techmom

September 4th, 2012
2:10 pm

In looking at the rates for dorms, it seems that the actual dorm fees aren’t that bad considering it includes utilities but then you add in a meal plan and it becomes outrageous.

Techmom

September 4th, 2012
2:17 pm

@Becky – does this lady’s boss know she does this? I don’t think I could keep my mouth shut if I heard her talking to her cats on the phone.

Our agreement with our son is that we will help with college IF he keeps HOPE and he has a part-time job. I don’t want him to have to graduate with student loans but I’m not going to hand him everything. We’ve been telling him for years there is no “college fund” b/c we’re spending it on tuition right now.

Denise

September 4th, 2012
2:22 pm

Calling home to talk to CATS? That is the weirdest thing I’ve heard all day. I thought you were going to say she called her daughter several times a day. My relationship with my mother doesn’t allow for that but some people have that kind of connection. (In a way I’m jealous.) But cats? Negative.

Mayhem

September 4th, 2012
2:36 pm

I talk to my mother twice a week. She would kill me if I called her numerous times a day, every day. But then again, she raised me to be independent, not co-dependent…my neighbor talks to her mom at least 5 times a day.

My sister in law calls her daughter, who is in college, at least 4 times a day, every day.

Ralph

September 4th, 2012
2:47 pm

Wimps.

I had no air conditioning.
No phone except one pay phone (to call my parents once a week) and one campus phone (to nervously call the girls’ dorms) in phone booths down the hall.
En suite bathroom? Not a chance. There was a gang shower in the bathroom down the hall, with the cold wind blowing though open outside doors when I went out with my towel and soap before dawn on frosty winter mornings.

We didn’t know to expect more.

And I doubt there has ever been a happier time in my life.

Belle

September 4th, 2012
2:51 pm

When I moved out my parents were 6 hours away so yeah I called them several times a day, almost everyday for years. I really miss those calls now that they are gone.
I never lived in a dorm but I paid for pretty much everything in my apartment. I worked and went to school. Still, my parents sent me lots of things or stored them up for my visits home. It was just what they did.

mystery poster

September 4th, 2012
2:55 pm

I can’t remember exactly how much I spent to outfit my kids’ dorms. They both had suites with full kitchens, so pots and pans and dishes, etc needed to be bought. I started about a year before they went and bought stuff on sale, my son’s dishes cost $6 a set. I bought a set of pots and pans for my daughter at Penney’s for $40 after the rebate, and she is still using them 4 years after graduation. Drapes and stuff – NO WAY!

They also had bathrooms (his was private, hers was shared with 1 other), so we needed shower curtains, etc. $5 from Ross.

I bought my son the ugliest striped towels for $3 each at a closeout store. I figured that since they were so distinctive that they wouldn’t get mixed up with the roommates’ stuff.

I sent them each off with a homemade quilt for that extra little hug from mom.

Becky

September 4th, 2012
3:01 pm

@Techmom..Oh yes, our boss does know that..The boss will come in with paperwork and my coworker will be talking on her cell phone..So the boss will stand there and wait..Not only that, but we have had lots of customers tell the owner that she talks to them like they are babies, she says no, but when she’s on the phone with her Mom, don or daughter, she is always talking baby talk..

@Techmom, Denise and Mayhen..She does talk to her daughter about 6-7 times per day..Between talking to her Mom, son and daughter, she receives/calls about 15-20 calls per day..Her daughter calls her any time a guy walks by and says hi, or anytime a guy holds a door open for her, or to tell her Mommy what color shirt she’s wearing each morning..The daughter is 4 hrs away in college and every time that she comes home, she has to call her Mommy every 2nd exit so that Mommy knows that she is safe..When she makes a bathroom stop, she has to call her Mommy and tell her what exit number she gets off at and what type of gas station it is, just in case she is missing..If she stops to eat, she has to give detailed info on what she ate, like what type of bread, did you have mayo on it? What song are you listening to? On and on..Yes, it’s enough to drive a person crazy..

Techmom

September 4th, 2012
3:08 pm

Becky, I don’t know how to stay sane in that job.

KoolAid House

September 4th, 2012
3:32 pm

Sent my only child off to college on 8/17. Her dorm room must have set me back about $375 (including her tv). I don’t understand he needed to lavish those rooms with all the comforts if they were home. College life is the beginning to learn how to fend for yourself with a little help from your parents. Life is not cushy. You want a plush dorm room, go make the money and make it happen. My child’s dorm room is a pretty red, white and black complete with full size bed, lamp, garbage can, pictures, cork board, calendar, nice desk all the things needed for dorm living.

Becky

September 4th, 2012
3:40 pm

Mayhem

September 4th, 2012
3:42 pm

Becky – in my office, our bookkeeper and the boss are too busy with their personal lives to focus on the work place. Each one is constantly on their cell on personal conversations. The bookkeeper is running her nieghborhood HOA out of our office, she is the treasurer. the boss is busy with his extra-cirricular activites also…..he uses the speaker phone in his office, so our entire office can hear his PERSONAL conversations. No he is not the owner, but a division “manager”.

The bookkeeper takes a 2 hour lunch EVERY DAY. She is supposed to be here at 9, but strolls in 9:15 yakking on her cell….you go to her office to get some company information, and she puts her hand up to have YOU wait, while she yaks to a friend.

I firmly believe that cells phones are the major contibutor of rudeness in our society. I was in her office the other day, and I was in mid-sentence when she held her hand up to stop me, so she could answer her cell. MID SENTENCE……..

Becky

September 4th, 2012
3:42 pm

@Techmom..I have been with this job for over 25 years..If it gets to bad, I walk away..Most of the time, I just turn the radio up louder..:)

Stacey

September 4th, 2012
3:56 pm

I can’t remember how much I spent when I went away to college because it’s been 25 years but I didn’t spend $2500 to furnish my first apartment. My mother and older sisters created a “hope chest” for me so they had bought my sheets, bedspread and towels for me. Everything was packed in a footlocker which I also needed for school (it was also my coffee table in my first apartment). The dorms had twin beds and built in desks and night stands. Freshmen dorms weren’t air conditioned so I bought a box fan for the window, desk lamp, iron and a little refrigerator. My aunt gave me the 13in TV she had in her kitchen. We weren’t allowed to have microwaves or hot plates but there was a microwave in the commons area of the dorm . I was always filthy so I pretty much just used it to heat water for my instant coffee.

KoolAid House

September 4th, 2012
4:03 pm

I’m just glad my child has her own room…2 bedrooms on one side sharing a bathroom and 2 on the other side sharing a bathroom with a full kitchen (stove and all).

Denise

September 4th, 2012
4:04 pm

My dorm room was pretty decent and didn’t cost my parents much. We could have a TV and my roomie brought that. You had to have a medical reason to have a fridge and neither of us had one so no fridge. Couldn’t have microwaves or any kind of cooking device except for coffee pot. Used the one down the hall. There was a stove at the end of most halls and small fridges. Had a phone line – we split that bill and cable. Had a word processor (remember those!) for us to use to type our papers. I brought that. We put or desks back to back for privacy. Room was so small that we didn’t have privacy anyway but it was an allusion. We had sheets, towels, and a comforter. Room had blinds so no need for drapes. Don’t think we could have hung any anyway. Don’t remember a rug. Pretty sparce but comfy enough. Looked like everyone else’s. Didn’t have space for couches, futons, chandeliers (good grief), etc. The people that came from money just had better comforters and sheets than the rest of us. :-)

Sorry, Denise...

September 4th, 2012
4:16 pm

…but there is ALWAYS room for a futon (unless the beds are stationary) – you just have to be creative, and handy…my kids just built the beds on stilts and put the futon underneath one of them…

Sarah

September 4th, 2012
4:24 pm

ahhh yes… I guess I didn’t account for the morons of society who are mortgaged to the hilt with thousands in credit card debt but with such a huge inferiority complex that they are still willing to spend big bucks so baby girl can have a cutesy bedspread in her dorm room… then just file bankruptcy later. THIS phenomena annoys me more than the “making rich people sound normal” ever did.

KoolAid House

September 4th, 2012
5:02 pm

I’m not going broke so my child’s dorm room can be decorated to the hilt. The young lady next to my daughter has her room packed with all types of stuff. Her room can definitely be in a catalog. Her mother was in there, her grandmother and two sister friends decorating that room from ceiling to floor. It’s really nice looking, but that room is full of unnecessary design and wall treatments. Bet that room was decorated more to suit the mom instead of the daughter.

Robert

September 4th, 2012
5:04 pm

Mercer in Macon 1984-1988, Shorter Dorm 5th floor, no air conditioning, no elavator, pay phone in center of the hall, two communal bathrooms. Room size 10 by 12, two small open closets. Metal desks, old school chairs and beds that looked like we made for an army bunker. No TV, no cable. Took a new Smith Corona typewritter with self correcting ribbon, thought I had it made and I did.