Even if you’re a novice to design, you can make your dorm room feel brand new with a little bit of effort and creativity. Mom and dad don’t make the rules here: you do. But in case you’re clueless as to where to start, here are a few guidelines you’ll do well to follow!
Don’t stick with the given dorm layoutThis advice comes first, because it’s much easier to move around your furniture when nothing is unpacked. But redecorating can happen at any point in the school year!
- Do you want beds separate or bunked?
- Should beds be low to the ground, or on risers (and at what height)
- Which way should your beds and desks should face when entering the room?
- Where do you place your mini fridge, TV, microwave, and other shared appliances?
- If and where you have room for extra furniture not provided by the school (think: a couch, lounge chair, coffee table, computer desks, storage trunks, and other shelving or organizers)
Start with your textilesYour bedding, rug, and curtains will likely cover the most surface space in your small dorm, meaning they’ll draw the eye and set the tone of your whole room. Oftentimes, these textiles can mean the difference between a room that feels cold and sterile, or one that feels comfortable and luxurious. Before you get hung up on little accessories, prioritize these elements!
Be intentional about your design vibeThe more cohesive your décor, the more put together your whole room will feel. Some students have a “look” or aesthetic that they gravitate towards—maybe one of these speaks to you?
If you and your roommate can agree on one style, it will make it easier to shop for items that match your overall design! Another thing you should agree on? Your dorm room’s primary and secondary colors. This will seriously help with cohesion. Plus, it also makes shopping a breeze!
Make your “kitchen” the main attraction, not an after thoughtSpeaking of luxurious, is there anything less cute than a borrowed mini fridge collecting dust in a corner? Promote healthy eating for you and your roomie by being intentional about your “kitchen” space. You may not have much to work with, but you can find little ways to spruce up your snacking station! Consider finding fun magnets for your fridge, creating a mini coffee bar with a personal coffee maker, and having a designated space for your non-perishables
Don’t forget the little things
With your big-ticket items squared off, it’s time to add the finishing touches. A little decoration can go a long way with the right pieces! These minor details add plenty of personality, and are especially fun to shop for. Remember your design vibe and color scheme when perusing different options. Here are some ideas for décor you can add to tie everything together:
Storage – trunks, cubes, and extra shelving not only keep things tidy, but help differentiate your dorm room
Temporary Wallpaper – if you have the OK from your RA, peel-and-stick wallpaper can add a whole other level to your design plans
Wall Art – with approval to hang things on your walls, anything from movie posters and school banners to personal photos, hanging calendars, and motivation boards allow you to express your style and personality
Accent bedding – Decorative pillows and throw blankets keep you warm, and keep your space looking well put together
Hobby items – Whether it’s a musical instrument or sports equipment, put your treasured items on display!
Lighting – table lamps are great for task lighting, while hanging lanterns and string lights set the mood
Pottery, vases, and miscellaneous trinkets – From bowls to photo frames, paperweights and more, these items are relatively cheap but can make a huge impact on your design ideas