Inspiration for days!
Credit: Evin Photography

Like many college students, Grace Porter moved into a dorm room with neutral-painted walls, standard-issue furniture, and marbled wall-to-wall carpet. But the University of Alabama freshman had one home-team advantage that most college students don’t have: her interior designer-mom, Jenny Reimold. Together, the mother-daughter duo created a coastal-bohemian retreat that’s got us itching to go back to college. Here are their dorm room decorating ideas for an amazing transformation that won't break the bank.

dorm room alabama

It started with an art print that Grace found on Etsy.

“Although we recently moved to Nashville, both of us grew up on the beaches of Florida and appreciate the soft, muted colors of coastal scenery,” says Reimold (@jennyreimold). So when Grace found a print that reminded her of their summers on the Gulf Coast, the pair decided to use the colors in the beach scene as their inspiration for the rest of the room.

| Credit: Evin Photography

They splurged on a headboard and dorm-specific bedding from Room 422 (designed by Atlanta native and University of Alabama alum Frances Lacefield) but filled the rest of the room with affordable accents from IKEA and HomeGoods. The highlight of the small space is the seagrass chandelier, which the designer mom fashioned from a World Market pendant and a battery-operated, remote-controlled puck light from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Credit: Evin Photography

“When creating a room on a budget, find inspiration from a sample photo and then identify similar colors, textures, and pieces that reflect that same look,” says Reimold. “Focus on the overall mood of the room, rather than the exact same bedspread or desk chair.”

Grace (left) and her mother Jenny
| Credit: Evin Photography

It pays to know the ins and outs of a successful trip to HomeGoods too, says Jenny, who is a spokesperson for the brand. “Shop the day after delivery day,” she notes. “Most HomeGoods stores have a minimum of two delivery days per week. Ask an associate when those days are, give the store 12-24 hours to unload the truck, and shop the next morning.” She also recommends looking for red tags, as they denote items that have been significantly marked down due to (often slight) defects. “Is the chip on the edge of a picture frame really noticeable when flanked with a small pot of greenery?”

Credit: Evin Photography

There’s one special touch in the room that’s extra personal: a sweet note Jenny penned on her daughter’s pillowcase in Sharpie. It reads “Good Night Grace! Love, Mom.” Because no matter how cool your dorm room is, there’s just no place like home.

WATCH: Seniors At This Southern College Get Porches & Rocking Chairs

Sit and study a spell!