How To Decorate A Dorm Room

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Whether you have your dorm room all to yourself, or you’re sharing the space with roommates, you will want to decorate it with its many functions in mind. Your dorm room will serve as your bedroom, meeting space, study hall and much more during your time in the dorms. Making the space a place you’ll want to go to will make the semester go by that much faster. Read on for tips on how to decorate a dorm room.

How To Decorate A Dorm Room

If you will be sharing the space with a roommate, reach out to him or her early. Compare notes and make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to color schemes and who’s bringing what (microwave, toaster, etc.). You will also want to check your college’s housing manual to see what you are and aren’t allowed to bring with you. Many colleges don’t allow screws or nails to be used to secure anything to the wall, so check on this as well.

Dorm Room Bedding Ideas

The first, and most important task will be choosing your bedding. This will set the color scheme and decorating theme for the room. Try to limit yourself to just three or fewer colors, so as not to overwhelm the small space. While you can choose any theme you desire, going with a solid color or simple pattern will make it easier to change your décor later on. Just change some pillows and your rug and you have a brand new look. Check out bedding set selections online or at major retailers such as Target, Walmart or Ikea.

Dorm Room Lighting Ideas

A typical dorm room has a singular overhead fluorescent light. Not only is the light less than flattering, but it also doesn’t offer enough light to save your eyes during those late-night study sessions. Save yourself from eye-strain by bringing in some more lights. Think about where you will want extra light. The study desk is an obvious choice, but you won’t always be studying or reading at your desk. Place a lamp by your bed and around any common areas if you have room for it. If you have a lofted bed, consider a small lamp with a clamp that allows it to bed attached to your bed frame. This way you can turn the lamp on and off without leaving your bed, and the light will be close enough to you that it likely won’t disrupt a sleeping roommate.

how to decorate a dorm room how to decorate a dorm room

Dorm Curtains Ideas

Curtains in dorm rooms serve many more purposes than just to cover windows. Many dorm rooms do not have doors on the closets. Students use either window curtains or shower curtains to cover up the closet’s contents. If you want to match your bedding exactly, many bedding lines also include window curtains. A shower curtain can be used if you want to complement, but not match your bedding exactly. If your college allows curtains to be used on the window, you may want to consider getting some that will block out the outside light. After a long night of studying, you may need to sleep in without the morning sun waking you up.

Dorm Room Walls Ideas

Decorate your walls with posters, mirrors and a bulletin board or dry erase board. The board will allow you to keep track of your schedule and assignments. You can also look into plastic decals. These removable wall hangings come in many designs and won’t damage the walls.

Dorm Room Décor Ideas

Décor is where you can really let your personality shine through. Luckily, you won’t need to splurge on any of your decorations if you don’t want to. Your tastes will likely change often and you will want your dorm room to reflect that. If you have room, consider buying a comfy chair. Not only will it give you an alternative place to study, but it will also allow you to have more seating for when friends come over. Consider adding a few easy-care plants. Not only will they add to your room’s décor, but the extra oxygen they emit will be beneficial. If you left a beloved pet at home, you may find it helpful to add a fish in a bowl. Finish your look with throw pillows that complement your bedding and a blanket or two.

Dorm Room Organizing Tips

Space is tight in a dorm room, especially if you have roommates. Make sure everyone has room to store their personal belongings while still maintaining an aesthetically pleasing space by following these organizing tips:

  • Only bring what you absolutely need. If your school is in a more temperate climate and you plan on going home over the winter holidays, consider leaving your winter clothes at home until you come home over the break.
  • Leave plenty of money in your decorating budget to invest in storage containers. Use them to store food, shoes, books, magazines and anything else. This will allow you to keep your area neat and tidy.
  • Closet organizers will allow you to maximize your limited space, and keep shoes and clothes from piling up on the floor.
  • Don’t let the area under your bed go unused. Purchase smaller clear plastic containers or containers specially designed to go under beds. Use this space to store items you won’t need on a regular basis.

Have fun decorating your dorm room. Remember, a plain dorm room is a boring dorm room. By following these tips, not only will you have a cool room, but it will be functional as well. And you can do it without spending a lot of money.

Last Updated: April 17, 2012
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About Jennifer Maxwell Jennifer Maxwell has numerous years of experience as a writer with an emphasis on food, travel and entertainment. Jenn obtained her B.A. in Media Studies (TV/Film Writing) with a minor in English from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. An avid traveler and native North Carolinian, Jenn enjoys writing about places she has visited and the meals she has eaten. In addition to various freelance assignments, she is currently the National Justified Examiner and regularly contributes to online publications. Her website is

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