The typical dorm room is small and nondescript. The standard furniture and bland color palette isn’t exactly inspiring, so it’s tempting to go all-out with traditional home décor ideas after your new college student moves in.
Unfortunately, easy home design fixes such as paint, wallpaper, and large artwork aren’t allowed on most college campuses. Thankfully, we have the inside scoop on easy ways you can transform your son or daughter’s dorm room without them getting a warning notice from their resident assistant. We want their room to be the coolest and coziest in the dorm, so I’m sharing 15 amazing college dorm room ideas that won’t break the rules!
Worried about how much a customized dorm room is going to cost? Check out these 10 dorm decorating ideas on a budget — plus some great dorm room inspiration!
1. Add a vinyl calendar to your door
Source: Pottery Barn Teen
College schedules can become overwhelmingly busy between class deadlines and social engagements, but a traditional wall calendar can take up valuable space on your walls. Consider using a vinyl calendar on the back of your door to stay on schedule without sacrificing wall space.
2. Decorate with washi tape
Source: A Beautiful Mess
Most on-campus buildings have fairly strict rules about causing damage to the walls with nails, and wallpaper isn’t allowed to due to fire safety rules. Thankfully, you can still add color to your doorways with washi tape! The colorful designs can easily be peeled off at the end of the semester.
3. Add a backsplash to your desk
Source: Southern Crate & Co.
While everyone in dorm housing will have the same standard desk, it’s easy to add personality to your room’s office by adding a backsplash behind yours. Simply cover a poster board with wrapping paper and secure to the wall with tape or thumbtacks!
4. Personalize your desk with photos
Source: I Heart Organizing
Another way to add character to your desk is to add photos of your family and friends. Simply purchase a glass or acrylic desk topper at an affordable home décor store and place your photos underneath this layer for an instant desk makeover.
5. Add homey details to your room
While you may have to share your space with a roommate, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a homey environment. Add cozy details like a soft blanket, colored ottoman, or items from your childhood room to make your new apartment feel like a home away from home.
Many stores will feature fun dorm furniture and accessories in their back to school sales, so be sure to keep an eye out for great back to school deals!
6. Add a simple headboard
Source: Stars for Streetlights
If you’re not feeling the uniform dorm beds, add a touch of elegance with a simple DIY headboard. This tutorial shows you an easy and affordable way to create a headboard for your bed with cardboard.
7. Use multi-purpose decor items
Source: The Freelancer’s FashionBlog
Dorm rooms are notoriously tiny, so you’ll need to be creative when it comes to buying additional furniture pieces or dorm room decor. Look for products that add storage and function to your room. This IKEA cart provides multiple shelves of storage space and doubles as a nightstand.
IKEA is a great place to find dorm storage items. Be sure to read through our guide to shopping at IKEA to get the most out of your trip!
8. Add a pop of color with bright storage pieces
Source: Prep in Your Step
Bookshelves are an easy way to maximize your storage space. Add a bold pop of color to your bookshelf by purchasing colorful boxes or bins to store your items in style.
9. Showcase your pictures with a photo garland
Source: Homey Oh My!
As the school year goes by, you’ll create beautiful memories with your new friends. Showcase your college adventures and add a whimsical touch to your room with this unique photo garland tutorial.
10. Make your closet a work of art
Source: Oh Joy!
Every inch of space has to be utilized to its full capacity in a dorm room. Maintaining a neat and tidy closet will help you stay organized, but it can also add to the décor of your room. Purchase organizational items that match your room’s color palette to transform your closet into a work of art!
Keeping your dorm room organized is a great way to make your décor choices pop. For some organizing strategies, check out our 19 tips for organizing your bedroom!
11. Store your makeup in style
Creating a magnetic makeup board for your bathroom can keep your makeup organized and add color to your room.
12. Hide your clutter with a fabric drape
Source: Décor 2 Ur Door
Cramped room dorms can get messy very quickly. If you store items underneath your bed, keep your room looking neat by hiding your clutter with a fabric drape!
13. Create a beautiful pin board
Keep your photos, documents, and memorabilia in place with this beautiful DIY pin board. You’ll only need cork board and washi tape to create this gorgeous and functional design piece.
14. Add color and character with DIY storage jars
Source: Ashley Brooke
Makeup, office supplies, and kitchen utensils can all be stored in style with this easy DIY storage jar tutorial. You can easily mimic the look of expensive distressed mason jars with paint and sandpaper.
15. Make a statement with your bedding
Source: Décor 2 Ur Door
The first and last thing someone will notice about your room is your bedding. Make a statement with your duvet cover and pillows! Choose a bold color palette and don’t be afraid to mix patterns.
Your turn! Do you have any smart storage or dorm room decor ideas to share? Post your tips and dorm room ideas in the comments below!
Now that you’ve learned 15 dorm room decoration ideas, get more ideas for college in the slideshow below!