Dorm room lamp and mirror
Photo: Dormco
As you read this article, hundreds of thousands of bright-eyed teens—possibly your own—are heading off to college for their very first "outer-home" living experience. Whether your child is an excited freshman or a seasoned senior, the transition from leaving the nest to flying solo can sometimes be an emotional and trying journey. So what can a brave and design-savvy parent do?

My advice: Help your kids create a dorm room or on-campus apartment that, at best, is a mini home away from home.

This year alone, college students—or, more likely, their parents—will spend approximately $4 billion on decorating their dorm rooms, which on average are about 200 square feet.

But you don't have to break your bank account to give your child the luxuries of home. Dorm room designing on a dime doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style for function. Rather, it's about finding a budget-friendly compromise for both and giving it a personal touch.

Top tips for dorm room design:

Get Frank's dorm room design tips for adding maximum color to the minimal space