Top College Dorm Room Ideas

I will share some of my top suggestions (along with some undisclosed insights) on transforming your college dorm room into a cozy living space rather than a dismal confinement.

Before you start shopping for college dorm essentials, visiting the residence life section on the college website with your mom is important. Here, you can find the rules and list of items not allowed in the dorms. Additionally, gather information about the size of your room and check if the campus housing provides any furniture.

Additionally, it is advisable to have a conversation with your roommate to discuss if you wish to collaborate on decorating the dorm room and to decide who will contribute any shared large items such as a rug, curtains, mini-fridge, coffee maker, and so on.

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Best dorm room ideas

Dorm lighting

The room’s lighting is unquestionably crucial. Many dormitories have limited access to sunlight and unappealing overhead lights with fluorescent bulbs that instantly diminish the room’s welcoming atmosphere.

String lights are a popular choice for lighting in college, particularly if permitted by the institution. I tend to avoid wire lights as I struggle to find suitable areas to wrap them around. However, many of my friends manage to devise creative solutions to use them effectively. One entertaining way to utilize string lights is to create a visually appealing decoration or ambiance. One way to create a DIY lamp is by placing wire lights in layers in a large Mason jar.

My favorite are globe-string slights. Two sets will probably suffice to completely cover your room’s perimeter. This will give the impression of natural, cozy illumination emanating from every angle.

A  lightbox can also be enjoyable; you can alter the letters to showcase inspiring messages or simply amusing phrases.

Dorm room decorating: decor ideas

Wall art

A practice that many students commonly do. The room’s color scheme and ambiance were made darker while still showcasing excellent movies and TV shows.

Nowadays, I make an effort to adorn my living space by incorporating various forms of artwork, prints, and photographs sourced from independent enterprises I come across on online platforms such as Etsy. Society6, which contains a vast collection of one-of-a-kind art prints created by artists from all over the world.

This company aims to provide affordable artwork, and I have discovered some excellent prints on their website before. Similarly, art stores such as Michael’s offer distinctive posters and maps.

Photos

Avoid using the shiny pictures you print at the photo counter of a drugstore, and instead, explore websites such as Social Print Studio and  Artifact Uprising (a bit more expensive). Both websites provide square (and large-sized) matte prints that can be sourced from Facebook, Instagram, or your photo collection. These square prints can be arranged in a grid and displayed using clothespins on a string or within the frames offered by both websites.

A regular basis. I enjoy collecting pictures of artwork that I find visually appealing from various online sources such as Tumblr or Google Images. Then, I print them out. With Social Print Studio, I can blend my photos with more artistic images using this feature. You can utilize these websites’ wider range of choices to make your posters or prints.

If you possess small-sized photos or postcards, you can opt to utilize a pinboard or a lightweight board to display them. An example of a photo hanger is the one adorned with string lights., to make a wall display of collages that can be conveniently modified.

Additionally, one alternative that I have discovered only after experiencing (and designing) multiple college rooms is that simplicity is better. Having the walls filled with photographs, posters, tapestries, and such may be enjoyable. Still, a minimalist approach can occasionally give the room a more grown-up, refined appearance that one might have towards the end of one’s college years.

Tapestries

To create a unique look for my wall hangings, I prefer pareos, Turkish towels, beach blankets, and tablecloths instead of the commonly busy tapestries sold by most companies. However, I also believe that a statement tapestry can be a stunning centerpiece for a room. If you display a statement tapestry, I recommend keeping the rest of the decor minimal and using neutral bedding to complement it.

Pottery Barn Teen tapestries: The tapestries I have seen are exceptionally beautiful. Before hanging them in your college, make sure to check if there are any rules regarding this. Usually, people use Command Strips for wall hangings, so be sure to get those along with Command hooks if permitted.

Finally, there are options for wallpaper and decals that can be easily removed. Dormify offers many options that could serve as a beautiful accent wall.

Dorm room essentials

Dorm desks and organization

I purchased a desk bookshelf. I have been using the item that some dorm rooms provide (make sure to confirm before getting one) since my junior year of high school, and it has been used every year since then.

This long-term investment serves the purposes of organization, storage, and decoration. I place my beloved books on the cabinet and utilize the inner shelves to store my textbooks, notebooks, and binders. When it comes to my desk, I strive to keep it free of clutter by minimizing the number of items on it.

A good desk lamp It is necessary to have a place to store pencils and other office supplies, which will be used regularly. This item includes a charger for my phone located on the base of the lamp and various lighting options.

Organization system. This will keep your desk clutter-free and make it easier to find what you need when using those items—an organizer tray like on Amazon.

I also love that The Container Store provides a variety of organizational choices. , especially this desktop organizer. The above paragraph can be paraphrased as It ensures that pens, highlighters, and planners are easily accessible, along with an identification lanyard and key card. Additionally, you can enjoy a 25% discount at The Container Store if you register here.

I like  Miquelrius notebooks. Despite not being as stylish as Moleskins, they are still popular due to their durability and comfortable page layout.

Corkboard. These things held sentimental value to me, and I wanted to display them visibly and organized. I placed the bulletin board upright against the wall behind my desk, providing a pleasant view while I was working. Additionally, it served as an ongoing project that I kept enhancing throughout the year.

And, if you have room, a  makeup mirror. It is a good suggestion to have a mirror in the dorm because the mirrors available there are typically not suitable for proper preparation. This mirror has two sides – one with a regular view and the other offering 5X magnification, perfect for applying eye makeup. Additionally, it is lightweight and can easily complement any style of decoration.

I also recommend a  jewelry box. Since it can be time-consuming and easy to misplace items, I appreciate the stacker system available at The Container Store for keeping my dorm organized. This system provides various shelf options that I find beneficial.

Remember, surge protectors have multiple outlets and USB ports. In dorm rooms, it is often difficult to find sufficient electrical outlets, so having a long cord at hand would be highly advantageous.

Rugs

Although the dorm room offers carpets, adding area rugs can greatly enhance the ambiance by making the space warmer and introducing additional lighting to enhance colors. Opting for a neutral color instead of pure white is recommended to account for potential spills common in dorm life.

In previous years, I bought a single large rug that covers most of the room or opted for two smaller rugs. The choice is yours. Make sure to look for a rug that doesn’t curl up at the edges, as that can become bothersome. A blue carpet with a gradient color effect. is a great contemporary look.

Dorm furniture

The amount of space in a room determines what furniture will be provided. Generally, students can expect to find a Twin XL bed, a desk, and either a built-in closet or an armoire.

A  dish chair This item is suitable for most dorm rooms and can be switched out annually if it is covered with various tapestries or comforters. I opted for a vibrant rainbow beach blanket to hide the chair’s original color that I didn’t fancy, but feel free to use any alternative. Even an old bed sheet would suffice.

Other seating ideas include floor pillows, bean bags, or other similar pieces.

Consider storage ottomans that provide seating and additional storage space. They can be small and solve miscellaneous items that would otherwise add to the mess. The Container Store offers durable options, such as storage ottomans in four colors.

In a particular year, I turned over an unused dresser and combined it with a pool chair cushion, throw pillows, and blankets to create a makeshift daybed.

If you have enough room, a compact sofa with built-in storage cubes is another excellent choice. Having a lounger that can serve as a place to keep your shoes, food, or clothes is always beneficial.

I utilized a couch that belonged to my brother, originally from Pottery Barn Teen. I covered it with a tablecloth and bought storage cubes from the same retailer’s website. In addition, futons are another option that can provide comfort and convenient extra seating as long as adequate space is available.

Dorm Kitchen

It is important to determine which appliances are permitted in your dormitory before considering the setup of your college kitchen. Although having a mini-fridge, microwave, and electric kettle would be ideal, it is crucial to note that each dormitory and college may have specific regulations.

A fridge cart is ideal for providing extra storage in tight areas. This product from The Container Store is highly resilient and has drawers for items or snacks.

Dorm closet

In my observation, some people are fortunate to have ample closet space while others are not. However, if you are among the latter group, you can utilize a double rod extender to create two rows on the closet bar, allowing you to hang items such as skirts and pants. It is important to remember to bring this extender with you—thin hangers to maximize space.

To use a shoe rack in the closet, but if it doesn’t fit, I suggest using bins or a cube as an alternative. Stackable, transparent drawers are available at The Container Store. Due to their transparency, it is ideal for convenient accessibility. They provide options for both drawers and open-faced compartments that can be pulled out.

I also recommend a  drying rack. This product is designed to safeguard leggings, sweaters, and delicate garments, all while reducing the time required for doing laundry. When not in use, it conveniently collapses and can be stored effortlessly in a closet or corner. It features durable aluminum rods and 18 feet of drying space, clips for smaller items, and straps for securing clothing.

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