Dorm life is an exciting adventure, but unadorned dorm rooms aren’t exactly charming. With the right decor, you can help your student liven up their living space in ways that are both unique and useful, whether they’re studying hard or lounging around.
These simple and inexpensive DIY room decor gifts will take a dorm room from drab to delightful — and you’ll have fun making them. Send them to your college student as a dorm-warming gift — or just to say “I love you!” Better yet, make them together before they leave for school to create decorative, treasured memories of time spent together.
1. Tassel Garland
A whimsical tassel garland is the perfect way to add color and character to a blank space. It’s easy to make in any color and to any length, and it can be hung on a headboard, above a desk, or against any wall.
- Yarn in colors of your choosing
- Yarn, twine, or cord to hang the tassels on, cut to your desired garland length
- Yarn needle
- Scrap piece of cardboard, approximately 4 inches wide
- Wrap yarn around the piece of cardboard until you have the desired thickness for your tassel. You may want to count the number of times you wrap it around so you can make all the tassels the same. Our tassels were wrapped 50 times.
- When done, cut the end of the wrapped yarn and string a new, long piece of yarn onto the needle.
- Pull the threaded yarn through the wrapped yarn and hold it toward the top, but don’t knot it yet.
- Cut the yarn free from the cardboard at the end opposite of the threaded yarn, making sure to keep hold of your yarn and the cardboard.
- Center the threaded yarn in the middle of your tassel threads, then knot it tightly while keeping the needle threaded.
- Trim the tassel ends so they’re roughly the same length.
- Take the needle and pull it through the top of the tassel. Wrap it a few times to form a round top, knot it, and pull the loose end through, hiding the knot.
- Repeat steps 1-7 to make as many tassels as you need.
- Thread a long piece of yarn, cord, or twine onto the needle. String the tassels onto it. Depending on the texture of the yarn you’re using, you might not need to knot it in order to keep them in place, but you can if you like. Make sure they’re evenly spaced.
- Hang it up and enjoy!
2. Desk Organizers
Help a studying student stay organized with chic and practical desk decor. Spray-paint jars of various shapes and sizes, then embellish them however you like with yarn, twine, leather, paint, or other materials and adhere them to a board.
3. Hanging Laundry Hamper
Source: Pretty Prudent
Doing your own laundry is a college right of passage. To help keep it off the floor and out of the way, make this charming hamper out of an old pillowcase and an embroidery hoop.
4. Piñata Lights
Source: Brit + Co
Fancified string lights are an easy way to upgrade a lifeless windowsill. These are simply made with paper and scissors, and the helpful tutorial includes ideas for nine other string light DIY projects.
5. Mini Corkboards
Source: Trashy Crafter
The blank space above a desk should be filled with something colorful and handy, and these little corkboards fit the bill. To make, paint wooden disks or coasters in bright colors, then glue small round corkboards onto them.
6. T-Shirt Rug
Source: My Poppet Makes
This adorable rug will add a bit of warmth and a pop of color to their bedside floor — and it can be made out of old T-shirts! The construction requires lots of braiding, but is well worth the effort for the awesome outcome.
7. Animal Bookends
Source: Hi Sugarplum!
Help keep textbooks in place with these fresh and fun bookends. They’re made from painted plastic animal figurines and are weighted down by tape-covered blocks.
8. Pom-Pom Pillows
Source: Honestly WTF
Throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to liven up any living space. Make these boho chic ones with vintage fabrics and embellish them with yarn pom-poms.
9. Floor Pillow
Source: Wanderer’s Palace
Every college student needs a comfy place to lounge — or just additional seating space. These stylish floor pillows are cool, comfy, and easy enough that you could make a few.
10. Electric Candle Votives
Source: Fellow Fellow
Since most college dorms won’t allow real candles, make these pretty votives for electric tealights instead. Simply decoupage fabric onto a jar, allow it to dry, and let them glow.
11. Painted Storage Basket
Source: This Little Street
Small spaces need lots of storage options to avoid clutter. Painting a large basket helps avoid a cluttered floor and functions as eye-catching decor.
12. Contemporary Wall Art
Source: Dream Green DIY
Make any room more inviting with contemporary wall art. Simply paint shapes onto a board base using stencils and bright colors of your choosing.
13. Bunting Lantern
Source: Bonjour Quilts
Beat that harsh florescent lighting by covering a ceiling lamp with this atmospheric lampshade. You can personalize any plain paper lantern by adding fabric bunting, tissue paper decoupage, or painted motifs.
14. Colorful Wall Hooks
Source: Apartment Therapy
You don’t want to take up precious floor space with a coat rack, but dorm room closet capacity can be limited. Students can keep clothing and accessories, as well as important notices and tickets, all on this nifty entryway hanging.
Nothing makes a generic room feel more like home than a touch of something homemade. Give the college student in your life one of these charming, easy, and inexpensive DIY gifts and they’ll be thinking of you fondly all school year long.
Whether they’re college-age or still in preschool, our back to school guides, tips, and sales are sure to lend a helping hand!