How to…Decorate a Dorm Room

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Suggested Tools

  • Poster putty
  • Wrapping paper
  • Printer
  • Colorful bed spread
  • Posters
  • Standing lamps
  • Organizational bins

1. Start with your door.

Why limit yourself to just the inside of your bedroom? Before people even enter your dorm room, you can give them a fun impression by covering your door in a printed wallpaper. I did this my sophomore year and all semester people were complementing me. It’s just fun to come home after a long day of classes, work, and meetings and to see a bright blue door, instead of an old scratched up wooden door. Also be sure to use the back of your door for a large hanging mirror, which will make your room seem a little bigger, or a calendar, which will keep you organized.

2. Have a place for everything.

One of the main difficulties of having a small room is that if one or two things are on the ground, then the whole room looks cluttered. To combat this make sure you have  under-bed boxes, standing bins, laundry baskets, over-the-door hangers, etc. Anything that you can put stuff in which keeps it off the floor. You can buy a good sized 3 drawer storage bin from the store and then use the top for putting more items, like your books or your printer. Also think about have a cup on your desk for all of your pens and pencils and highlighters if you like to have those on hand

2. Opt for stylish essential items, like your bedspread

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There are already several items you have in your room. Always. Like your blankets, pillows, bedspread, mirror, and desk. Use these things to your advantage to add some style to your room. Pick a bedspread with your favorite color or design, like houndstooth and match this with your other items, like your mirror. Try decorating the frame of your mirror or paint the frame to match your bedspread for a fun pop of color.

3. Use tall, skinny items like a standing lamp.

Students often overlook lighting in a dorm room. Sure there are lights in the room, but will it be enough at night? A standing lamp is definitely a good idea. Also since it’s tall, it draws the eye up so the room feels a little bigger. If you don’t need need a lamp, you could get a coat rack. Coat racks are great for winter when you’re wearing a lot of layers. It can also multi-task and hold other things like your belts or purses.

4. Put up larger than life artwork.

photo credit

Most universities have stores which sell some great artwork for dorms or apartments, but if you want to make a big impact try making your own poster. The Rasterbator is a free online tool which can take any picture and make it into a giant poster, which you can then print out on multiple pages and piece together yourself. You can even use your own personal pictures, so if you have a great picture of you and your roommate, consider printing a copy. If you have any bare walls in your dorm or apartment, this is a great solution. I’ve already used it once this semester and loved it!

What Do You Think?

What’s your dorm like? How have you made your space your own? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Julie McLaughlin Written by
Category: Featured, Miscellaneous
8 Comments
  1. Alison Alison says:

    I love this article, Julie! Thanks. I love art and made my own keep calm and carry on posters but changed them to keep calm and study hard and keep calm and eat lasagna etc. you can make them online- just google keep calm generator.

  2. Jamie Jamie says:

    For great artwork, check out the Michael’s clearance bins… grab a spool of colorful ribbon, attach it to the poster with double sided tape as a frame, and you can decorate your walls for super cheap – I did a few this year, about $3 each!

  3. Zeyabi Zeyabi says:

    This wall-mounted coat hanger, and the surface is made of natural hardwood and warm. Six heavy-duty pegs are suitable for hanging a large expanse of the jacket.

  4. Robin Robin says:

    For more awesome tips on dorm decor, dorm bedding trends and more…
    check out http://www.decor-2-ur-door.com
    Check out the removable wall collage frames! Too cute!!!

  5. Sarah Sarah says:

    Keep in mind, most dorms will only allow you to cover a certain amount (often up to 10%) of your walls with flammable items, and you WILL get in trouble when the fire marshal inspects if you have giant amounts of paper on the wall!

  6. Marlee Marlee says:

    This was a perfect post! Love the idea of having HUGE artwork, it’s a perfect way to make an impact in a dorm room!

  7. I love that first picture, I wish my room was that cutee

  8. Jessica Jessica says:

    I’m a senior at Illinois State University, and for the past 4 years I’ve been getting all my dorm(for the first two years)/ apartment(for the last two years) decorations and bedding and stuff from wakeupfrankie.com. They’ve always got the CUTEST things. Honestly, I have sworn by them for years. I will admit, they are a BIT expensive, but they are the top quality stuff I want.

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