Decorating a College Dorm Room


The highlight of the summer before moving into college is finding lots of decorations and fun things to make your room feel like home, even while you’re away from home. Here are some tips to think about when you are making choices for decorating your dorm!

Check with your roommate first to try and coordinate decorations. Living in a space that matches will bring a sense of calmness, compatibility, and organization, even if that is the only neat thing about the room after the first few weeks. At the very least, come up with a color scheme, so that nothing clashes dramatically. One coordinating color ties together a room more than you would expect, so pick your favorite color and then focus on that color as an accent, with neutrals around it for a relaxing and comforting environment.

Think about what things will get dirty and what should be a dark color, so that dirt does not show. Dark rugs are great because you will get busy and all those good intentions to keep your room spotless will fly out the window. Instead of rolling up your fluffy white rug to take home to reuse, you will give up on the hair and dirt ingrained in the once-comfy, clean fibers and toss it in the trash, even after spending hundreds of dollars on it. With a darker color, like gray, it is much easier to hide the inevitable grime. However, the best, and cheapest, place to get a rug is simply Lowe’s, checking their samples for carpet and grabbing a couple of pieces and cutting them down to the size you need in your room.

Depending on the shape of the room, an L-shape configuration for your beds makes the space seem much bigger. And in addition to just moving the beds, don’t feel like you can’t move your furniture around. You might have ideas that work way better than the standard set-up the college goes by.

Bed risers make everything easier. And the ones with outlets for your phone and laptop chargers are a must, because dorm rooms have far fewer outlets than you expect for all the things college students need to plug in. Space underneath your bed is vital for things like shoes, T-shirts, and pajamas, all of which can be placed in under-the-bed storage containers to make space in your small closet or wardrobe.

Lights of any variety are a great way to make your room cozier, but also way more practical. Dorm rooms tend to be cave-like and don’t really have very much light, natural or otherwise. Using light strands add to the ambiance for movie nights with friends or relaxing after a hard week of studying. Command hooks are your best friend for any other wall décor you may choose, including all those cute Polaroids that look perfect dangling from the sparkly lights adorning the ceiling and walls.

Instead of buying an expensive Polaroid camera to take those cute square pictures that hang so well, just print a ton out from CVS or Walgreens, or check out Parabo Press to order pictures detailing your best high school memories to share with new college friends. Both sources make it super easy to get the product you want for that final special detail to really make your dorm your own personal space.

Finally, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Everyone wants that perfect “Insta-ready” picture to show off to all their friends on move-in day, but you have all year to re-decorate, and you will want to add elements of your awesome freshman year, so leave room for aspects of your new life at college!