The Top 31 Dorm Room Ideas
“A dorm room is a completely blank slate. A small, plain, concrete-walled blank slate that you must magically transform into home.” – Anonymous
Whether you’re decorating your freshman dorm room or starting your last year of college, planning your dorm room ideas ahead of time is always helpful. Not only must you choose your bedding, you will need decor elements that make your space feel like the home you left behind.
The world is full of gorgeous decorating concepts, but dorm room ideas must also be functional and comfortable. Additionally, anything you choose has to conform with the school’s rules for what you can and cannot bring. Look through our amazing gallery of dorm room ideas and you’ll find plenty of inspiration for making your home-away-from-home as cozy and useful as possible.
Your bed is usually the focal point of the dorm room, so choose your bedding carefully. It will form the foundation of your room’s color scheme and the inspiration for your wall decor.
Neutrals are always a good idea because it’s easy to switch out a throw pillow collection and create a totally different look if you tire of your original decor.
Consider the climate when choosing what to put on your bed. Perhaps bring a set of percale sheets for late summer and spring, and another set of flannel sheets for the colder months.
Bring an extra blanket or two in case your room is cold in the wintertime. Mixing and matching the fabrics on your duvet, throw blankets, and pillows is a great way to add a dash of charm and texture.
Bohemian decor is perfect for a dorm room, as its global inspiration and warmth instantly makes a room feel homey. A mixture of wood, textiles, green plants, and colorful accessories are the foundation of boho decorating ideas. Pom pom fringe is a fun boho accent on your pillow, rug, and curtains.
Create a faux headboard out of an oversized macrame wall hanging or a large Indian sari. You can also cut a headboard shape out of removable wallpaper and mount it over your bed. Wall tapestry panels are fitting wall art over a boho bed, especially if they feature mandalas or floral designs.
When it comes to interior design, chic equals anything trendy, fashionable, and fresh. It may take a little skill to transform a plain dorm bed into something described as chic, but it absolutely can be done.
A chic dorm room could include a mixture of new and vintage pieces—whatever it takes to reflect your personality.
Choose stylish storage options, such as baskets instead of plastic bins. Create an accent wall behind your bed with temporary wallpaper that includes your chic design elements. Shabby chic decor is a subcategory of chic design and showcases soft florals, lace, and other feminine touches.
In most cases, you cannot remove furniture that’s already inside your dorm room. You might not be allowed to add any pieces, either. Be sure to find out exactly what your college allows and prohibits before you go shopping for cute dorm room accessories.
If furniture is allowed but your budget is limited, refresh an old desk chair with spray paint and a new seat cushion. Use decorative washi tape to personalize a desk lamp and pencil holder. Show your new team spirit by including wall decals or other accents that reflect your school’s mascot and colors.
Cute dorm room ideas lose their charm quickly if they aren’t also comfy. Like at home, comfort is key when planning your bed and desk ideas.
Buy the best-quality bedding your budget allows, but make sure it’s easy to wash in the dorm’s machines. Make sure your desk chair has a soft cushion—something you’ll appreciate during those all-nighters.
A plush rug does wonders to soften the edges of a plain dorm room and is invaluable beneath your feet on cold winter mornings.
Even if your window has blinds, consider hanging blackout curtains (on a tension rod) so you can comfortably nap during the day when needed. Remember a small electric fan and a night light to make your evenings more comfortable.
If you’re drawn to traditional girly colors, such as pink, purple, and peach, feel free to include them in your dorm room decor. Temporary wallpaper in a floral pattern is a great way to add a girly element to a bland dorm space.
If fairy lights are allowed in your building, hang them over the bed and wherever else you want to enjoy the magic of twinkle lights.
Plush fabrics also add a feminine softness to the room. Add a chenille duvet to your bed and top it with velvet and fur-covered throw pillows. Create a gallery wall with snaps of your family and friends back home, to gaze at when you’re feeling homesick.
A loft bed is one of the best things that ever happened to college dorms. They essentially double your closet space by allowing you to store belongings beneath your bed. Some loft bed designs are tall enough to walk under, providing room for your desk and storage containers.
If you don’t have a lofted bed, you might be allowed to elevate the bed to create more storage space. If so, don’t use cinder blocks or other makeshift items to make your bed taller. Buy bed risers designed for this purpose.
8. Ole Miss
The University of Mississippi—or Ole Miss—is known for many things, including being one of the nation’s top party schools. The spirit of fun radiates through the campus and includes a tradition of students turning plain dorm rooms into luxuriously stylish living quarters.
College students anywhere can mimic these design ideas by looking for similar bedding and decor options. Although the end result of these beautifully coordinated Ole Miss dorms is quite elegant, most are decorated within the confines of a strict budget.
A single dorm room can feel like a gift from heaven, especially if you’re an introvert. Not only will you enjoy peaceful solitude when you need it, you have the freedom to decorate exactly how you choose.
If you’re lucky enough to have a single dorm room, enjoy the flexibility you have with your room decor. For example, there may be space to make a mini kitchen on top of your dresser or on a bookshelf.
Usually, only a small microwave is allowed in a college dorm room, but you may be allowed to have a mini-fridge. If so, place your microwave on top and store your cups, plates, and utensils on top of it.
10. Small Space
Even in a small dorm room, you’ll have enough space for the essentials: a bed, desk, and dresser. Always get the exact dimensions of your room before narrowing down your dorm room decor ideas. Also find out what’s included in the room besides your dorm bed and desk.
If you discover that your room is truly tiny, try to avoid bringing more than you need. Bedding, a soft rug, some wall decals and framed photos may be enough for a small room. If extra storage is a must, mount lightweight floating shelves above your desk and tuck storage bins under your bed.
The dictionary defines “stylish” as something that is fashionably elegant and sophisticated. Few dorm rooms fit this description in their bare state, but it only takes a few great design ideas to turn simple into stylish. Take the time to look at current design trends and choose the ones that you find appealing.
Attempt to get in touch with your roommate before move-in day. You can talk about which items you plan to bring and what color scheme you prefer, remembering that “stylish” is in the eye of the beholder. By communicating about your dorm room design ahead of time, you can coordinate your dorm room ideas so they’re acceptable to you both.
White has always been a favorite color for making a small room appear lighter and more spacious. Because many dorm rooms are rather small and dark, decorating with copious amounts of white can bring a bright airiness to your home-away-from-home.
Farmhouse style has helped to revive white’s popularity as a base color. Pair it with touches of black and warm wood tones to achieve a farmhouse-inspired dorm room. Brass or copper metal accents can help warm up the space, or stick to galvanized steel or wrought iron to maintain a more neutral farmhouse palette.
Dorm Room FAQs
While the meaning of “dorm room essential” will vary by individual, there are a few items that every college student needs in their dorm. When planning your dorm decor, include the following:
- Sheets, blankets, and your favorite pillow.
- Bath towels, washcloths, hand towels, and bathmats.
- Trash can.
- Desk lamp.
- Clothes hangers.
- Adhesive hooks.
- Storage bins.
- Laundry hamper or bag.
Every school will have somewhat different rules when it comes to dorm room decor. Some allow electric string lights, while others forbid them. Most prohibit candles, toasters, space heaters, and anything else that poses a fire risk.
If you plan to hang curtains or artwork, bring adhesive hooks that can be easily removed when you move out. Most college dorm rules exclude mounting things to the wall with bolts or screws.