Let me start you off with a story about my first time decorating a dorm room. In the fall of 2016, I was preparing for the first semester of college. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, how big the rooms would be, or what I wanted my decor to look like. I ended up with a grey comforter, grey pillows, grey wall decor, white storage units … you get the picture.
Here’s the thing: I wound up hating it. I was more concerned about keeping things neutral than I was about choosing decor that represented me, or that made me happy. The thing is, decorating your dorm room can seem daunting for many reasons, especially if it’s your first time. The most important thing to focus on is coming up with solutions that work for you. Just like your regular bedroom at home, your dorm room is like an extension of your personality. You should fill it with things that inspire you and make you happy.
Keep reading for a list of 10 tips I learned along the way, and some inspiration that you can use to decorate your own dorm room!
1. Find your inspiration.
This is probably the easiest part of decorating your dorm room. Start by searching online for inspiration. Pinterest is a great place to start if you’re not sure where to look, and a quick Google search will give you tons of ideas. Look for things that inspire you, or that you’re interested in replicating in your dorm room. Don’t be afraid to save a lot of photos, it’s totally OK to plan your dorm room down to the details. After all, it will be your home for a whole year!
2. Come up with a color scheme.
Before you can start deciding on your exact decor, you’ll want to choose a color scheme. My color scheme this year is coral, teal, and gold. You can choose your color scheme before you start shopping, or you can use one of your favorite decor items as the inspiration for your color palette. For example, the first thing I purchased for my dorm room was the comforter, and I matched all of my decor to the colors of my bed.
It can be as simple as one or two colors. Just try to make sure everything is coordinated in some way. This will make your room look so much more cohesive once it’s all done.
3. WALL DECOR IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND.
As we all know, dorm rooms lack space. While you won’t have tons of room for lamps, chairs, and other decorative furniture, you will have plenty of wall space. Hang some photos of family and friends, decorate with a monogram, or even create a fun gallery wall with things you probably have at home. The choices are limitless, so be creative and have fun!
4. MAKE YOUR BED A HAVEN.
The two main pieces of furniture in a dorm room are the bed and the desk. When you’re decorating, put extra thought into your bed so you can transform that bland dorm mattress into your own little haven. I like to add extra throw pillows and fuzzy blankets to make my bed the perfect place for everything from Netflix bingeing to studying for exams. I even followed this tutorial for a fun DIY touch to some of my throw pillows.
5. UTILIZE VERTICAL SPACE.
Dorm rooms are small; it’s a universally known fact. But don’t let the size of your room scare you. There are plenty of ways to keep your room looking chic and cozy without taking up tons of space. Keep decorations mostly along your walls rather than the floor. You can even stack some storage cubes on top of one another to create a fun piece of furniture that won’t take up your much-needed space.
6. USE STORAGE WISELY.
Since dorm rooms don’t come with much furniture, you’ll have to incorporate storage into your decor plans. Use storage racks like this one to store your printer, school supplies, books, or even some more decor. You can also loft your bed to allow for more storage underneath.
7. STAY ORGANIZED.
In order to make it work in a small space, you have to stay organized. Pick up some desktop or drawer organizers to keep things out of the way so you have more room for fun things like photos or plants. The Container Store has tons of organization products that come in almost every color, so you’re sure to find something that fits your style. You can also check out my previous post for some must-have products to keep you organized all semester long.
8. Don’t be afraid to DIY.
Sometimes, the best way to get the exact decor you want is to make it yourself. I’m a huge lover of all things DIY, so I tend to throw in a few DIY projects whenever I decorate. Try your hand at painting or drawing, or even make your own vision board or other wall art. You’ll end up with a unique piece that no one else will have, and you can have the pleasure of saying you made it yourself.
9. don’t forget the accents.
There are so many things to worry about when you’re preparing for college, so it can be easy to forget the little things. Try adding a fluffy area rug, some mini succulents, or even a calendar like the one my roommate and I share to coordinate schedules. It doesn’t have to be super coordinated, either. You can add anything you want, or that you think will make your room feel more like home. Anything from desk lamps to reed diffusers to some fun trinkets will add a personal touch to your room and make it seem complete.
10. Make it your own.
Like I said earlier, your room is an extension of your personality. It should be a place that is comfortable and functional for you! Include some of your favorite things when decorating, even if you don’t think they match your theme. Want to keep your favorite stuffed animal? Toss it on the bed. Have a favorite artist whose work you love? Hang prints as part of a gallery wall. The more you tailor your room to your preferences, the more you’ll love spending time there.
Most Importantly, Have fun!
Even though it requires planning and coordination, decorating your dorm room should be fun. Do your best not to get too caught up in the stress of preparing for college, and remember that this is supposed to be a cool new experience for you.
If you’re looking for more inspiration and tips, check out this article on Furniture.com! It’s got a few more tips and tricks that you can use when you’re prepping your dorm room.