No one ever called a college dorm room a palace, but it needn't be a dump either, or cost a bundle to decorate.

Retailers, including Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) , Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , Target Corp. (TGT) and Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY)  , have made it easier to dress up the joint without messing with your budget by lowering prices on basic items, during the key back-to-school months (August and September).

We looked at those retailers' offerings and found that Walmart is the cheapest of the four. For a bed pillow, desk chair and lamp, comforter, stick vacuum and throw rug, the tally was $57.02 at Walmart, beating Amazon's $68.79, Target's $71.62 and Bed, Bath & Beyond's $139.94.

Plus, all the retailers offer perks. Walmart increased its back-to-school items this year through its Online Grocery Pickup and Pickup Today (same-day in-store pickup) services. Amazon, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond post lists curated by schools, both for grammar and higher education, of the items required for students. Bed, Bath & Beyond also allows college students to send their online orders to a store near their schools for pickup.

Yet, it comes down to the money, one analyst said in a recent research note. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, customers "favor value," RBC Capital Markets Brian Tunick wrote on Aug. 16, citing recent survey results. "Amazon is a force to be reckoned with, but the customer values off-price." 

Here are particulars on three of the items:

Desk chair. Just in case Junior actually sits down to study, this furniture is a must. TheStreet found the lowest-price desk chair at Walmart for $19.84; at Amazon, $19.99; at Target, $22.49, and at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $46.99.

Desk lamp. Again, if any studying is done, a lamp, roughly 22 inches high, is key. At Amazon, one will set you back a mere $3.60; at Walmart, $4.59; at Target, $5.99, and at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $9.99.

Throw rug. Enter the two-by-three-foot rug to keep your kid's toes toasty when bounding out of bed. At Amazon, it was $4.99; at Bed, Bath & Beyond, $7.99; at Walmart, $9.21, and at Target, $10.39.

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