The easiest way to change the look of your bathroom, but not invest too much $ is to buy a new shower curtain. This will have the biggest impact as it is usually the largest visual in the room. Try and find one that pairs well with your bath towels, tile, fixtures and paint (all of which are more expensive to replace). If you have a little extra money to spend, invest in a new bathmat and guest hand towels. I helped a friend buy a new shower curtain at Target in the college section this past weekend. She picked out a really cute plastic curtain that came with the shower hooks for $8.50 and a liner for $2.34. She wasn't planning on buying anything else, but then we found a matching bath mat for $4.99 and tossed that in too (Target.com does not have these available online, otherwise I would include a link). We looked at the shower curtains in the regular bath section and found that they ranged between $15-$30 and didn't include the shower hooks. So, she spent around $16 to create a coordinated look for her bathroom for the price of one regular shower curtain! I redid my bathroom last year in shades of blue from top to bottom (including towels, sigh, I couldn't resist), but I was still reaaaaally tempted to buy this fun pink flamingo shower curtain and considered even "putting it by" for a future bathroom (i.e. when I move out of DC's hideously expensive housing market and can actually afford better amenities like a second bed/bath, not to mention a dishwasher...and a washer/dryer set up that doesn't run on quarters). But, in light of my previously mentioned ADD decor issues, I decided it was best to put it back...
If you want to redo your living room or bedroom, look for new toss pillows. These can get ridiculously expensive, but there are definitely more options around back to school time. A new throw for the back of the couch or a couple of new lamps can also really brighten up and change a room. Your eyes are naturally drawn to color, so if you put the focus on these objects the old couch gets a fresher look!
Dorm room color schemes also tend to be bright, so you should have a lot of color options that may not be available at other times of the year. To avoid color overload, keep it from being matchy matchy by pairing your brighter colors with lots of neutrals (grey, beige, cream, white, black, navy, etc.). Finally, if you need additional closet storage and don't mind the look of nylon in your closet, there are lots of shoe and sweater solutions as well as some under the bed options at this time of year as well.
Most of these decor items will go on sale at some point and you might be able to save a few more dollars after school has started (usually around Labor Day), but the selection might not be as good. Also, look for deals on shampoo, soap, toothpaste, blankets, shaving cream, deodorants, cleaning supplies, and hangers. Manufacturers are putting out lots of bonus product deals, gift with purchase, or bigger sized products together...mothers will want to send their kids off with plenty of supplies as students may not be home until fall break or Thanksgiving. Check out other retailers like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls as they will also have dorm room sections around this time of year! Here's a few of my favorite picks (You'll have to click on the links to see...Target.com only let's me save some pictures. Most of the time, you need a magnifier to see them):
Wall Shelves: Turquoise, wooden. Set of 2. Regularly $14.99, On Sale for $9.99
Closet Storage: 2 under bed storage containers, shoe rack, and sweater organizer. Price: $39.99
Flower Pillow: Regularly $16.99, On Sale for $12
Green Ceramic Lamp: $19.99! Love, love, love. It also comes in turquoise, pink, and purple.
*Congratulations and good luck to my baby cousin Natalia (she's Briana's baby sister too)!She's off to Georgia Tech this fall to conquer the quad and the boys :)