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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

When you first decide on a school, it can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. First you’re excited to step out into the next phase of your life, but then it can be a little scary realizing that you’ll be on your own for the first time. This is completely normal, and everyone goes through this when they’re embarking on their first year at school. 

Main image courtesy of College Life Made Easy.

What you do want to focus on is being prepared for your new living space. But how are you supposed to know what to bring, and how are you going to make a dorm room look like a cozy living space? Not to worry, because this can be accomplished. All you need is a guide to let you know where (and how) to get started on the dorm decor transformation of your dreams!

In this article, we’re going to list out our 33 must-have items to complete the look of your dorm room this year, so you can concentrate on studying and making new friends in the process. You’ll find ideas relating to:

  • Basic dorm room ideas to consider
  • Dorm room ideas for your bedding
  • Ideas to improve your desk/study area
  • Inspiration to make your dorm room walls pop

Dorm Room Ideas 101

When it comes to finding good dorm room ideas, start here

Start with the basics and determine if you want to have a color scheme, follow a decor trend, or coordinate with your roommate. Image courtesy of She Gave it a Go.

This list of the best dorm room ideas is sure to give you plenty of inspiration for ways to include some amazing items in your dorm space. We thought it might be helpful to start off with a few overarching themes, since dorm room decor might have you feeling a little lost. If you don’t know where to start, sit down and consider these ideas.

1. Do you want a color scheme?

If you’ve been browsing Pinterest, chances are you’ve seen a lot of different types of dorm decor you could incorporate. Do the rooms with coordinating color schemes really make you stop and say, “that’s the room I want?” If so, then you’ll want to consider going with a color scheme for your decor

One of the easiest places to start is to think of what colors are your favorites. Do you like shades of blue, green, or even yellow? Or would you prefer more neutral colors and have pops of bright colors incorporated. Perhaps you’re into patterns like cheetah or zebra. These are all good places to start when working on a color scheme. You can even check out a color wheel to help you decide which colors are complementary to each other and sure to look great together in your dorm room. 

2. Would you like to go with a theme?

In addition to a color scheme, have you always wanted to make your room flow with a certain theme, such as boho, modern, preppy, or indie? If you’re drawn to a certain decor theme, this is your chance to coordinate your dorm room accordingly. If you’ve always liked the sleek look of black and white, and appreciate the shine of chrome or metallic accessories, then you’ll want to base your bedding and wall decor items on this type of modern theme.

Once you can see how you’d like to style your room, it becomes a little easier to make color and decor choices. If you’re going for a boho look, you’d want to incorporate shades of brown and green into your room, as opposed to bright neon pink. 

3. Are you interested in coordinating with your roommate?

The third decor tip to keep in mind when choosing any of the following dorm room ideas on this list, is if you’re planning to coordinate your dorm room with your roommate. A lot of roommates like to discuss how they’d like their room to look, and plan accordingly. When you choose to coordinate your color scheme or room theme with your roommate, you can really make your room stand out.

However, if you’d prefer to go with your style alone, or your roommate isn’t interested in coordinating, that’s okay too! You can still make the decor and style of your side of the room look just like you want it to. And remember, you’ll only need to be in this space for a school year, so you can change it all up the following year.

Now that you’ve decided on some basic dorm styling, it’s time to get into what some of the best dorm ideas you can use to truly transform your dorm to reflect your personality.

Dorm Room Ideas for Your Bedding

These dorm room ideas for your bed are sure to be a hit

Start with the bedding you’ll be using throughout the school year. Image courtesy of My Domaine

4. Comforter, sheets, and pillows

One of the first things you’re going to consider when moving into a dorm is what color comforter and sheets you’d like to get. Again, this goes back to what your overall color scheme is. You can choose a bed set in almost any color, just make sure it’s one that speaks to your sense of style. After all, your bed is one of the first things you and any guests will see in your dorm room.

Make sure to include a good quality comforter and sheets that have a good thread count. It’s also a good idea to get a few pillows to make sure you’re able to get a full night of shut eye.

The Optimist Everything Will Be OK Throw Pillow

5. Throw pillows

In addition to your pillows you’ll use for sleeping, make sure to include a few throw pillows on your bed as well. Not only will they up the cozy factor, they’ll ensure you’re always comfortable, no matter if you’re getting some studying done in bed, catching up on a show, or just listening to music. There are all kinds of pillows with cool messages on them, like this one from OCM, but you can also choose pillows that are textured or extra fuzzy. 

6. Headboard

Because your bed is going to be one of the main places you hang out on, why not make it as inviting as possible? A headboard can really tie the rest of your bed together, not to mention you can find them in a lot of nice, neutral colors that are sure to complement any color scheme. When you have a headboard and are relaxing or studying in bed, it can also act as a soft buffer between you and the hard dorm room wall. 

7. Mattress pad

In case you aren’t aware yet, chances are your dorm room bed is not going to be the most comfortable bed you’ve ever had. They are designed to be economical, so you will have to provide the extra comfort you deserve. Getting a mattress pad is the easiest way to ensure you’re going to wake up each day on the right side of the bed. They come in all kinds of thicknesses, and you can even get them in a variety of materials.

We suggest choosing one that offers enough support but will still be able to fit underneath your sheet set.

8. Backrest pillow

Because you just can’t go wrong with too many pillows. A backrest pillow will come in handy if you’re one of those students who like to study in other places besides their desk. A backrest pillow can easily make your bed a good place to study, or you can take it with you wherever you prefer to get a little studying done.

9. Extra blanket

Whether you attend school with cold winters, or your dorm is a little drafty, you can’t go wrong with an extra blanket on your bed. If you have a solid color comforter, consider getting an extra blanket with a pattern or design on it. The same is true if you have a patterned comforter, you’ll want to opt for a solid color extra blanket. While you may not always need the extra warmth, nothing beats being able to snuggle up in your bed or while working at your desk.

10. Bedside organizer

If your bed is lofted or lifted, chances are you don’t have a nightstand right next to your bed. Because you’re living in a smaller space, you’ll need to take advantage of some good storage options, and a bedside organizer could be just what you need. Bedside organizers are designed to drape over the side of your bed and give you a safe and secure place to put your phone, tablet, or book before you get some sleep.

11. Box storage

One of the easiest ways to make more space is to keep items you don’t use everyday in storage. Cubes or box storage units can easily fit under your bed or in your closet, making the most out of your space. 

12. Cube storage ottoman

Speaking of amazing ways to save space, this cube unit can hold your items, plus it turns into an extra seat when the lid is on. If you need an easy way to work in bed or on the couch, you can also unfold the lid and it turns into a lap desk. Talk about a great space saver.

13. Extra lighting

Don’t strain your eyes trying to read or study in bed without the help of an additional light. There are plenty of clip on lights out there that you can angle while you’re in bed to ensure you have plenty of light.

Favorite Dorm Room Ideas for Your Desk/Study Area

Transform your study area from bland to fancy in no time!

50-Light LED String Lights

14. Desk light

While you’re thinking about additional lighting, it’s a must to have an extra light on your desk. Dorm rooms typically come with overhead fluorescent lighting, which isn’t much help if you’re studying under your lofted bed. You also may need to do some studying at night while your roommate is asleep. A good desk lamp can help you out with that. 

15. Rolling cart

Another must-have dorm room idea to have near your desk area is a rolling cart. These can fit all the supplies you need to accomplish your studying, without them taking up precious space on your desk. 

16. Charging station

You’ve got to make sure all your devices are charged, which is why we recommend getting a good charging station. Here you’ll have room to charge your phone and your tablet, with a few extra areas to store pens or paper clips. When your devices are all organized and charging in the same place, you’ll never have to worry about low batteries again.

17. Corner riser

Because dorm room desks are only so big, it might be helpful to get a corner riser to increase the surface area of your workspace. You might be surprised at how fast you can fill up the space of your desk with necessary items. By getting a little creative with your space, you’ll have all your studying supplies at arm’s reach.

Franklin Corner Riser

18. Message board/calendar

Although they might seem old school, a dry erase message board and calendar never seems to go out of style. You can easily jot down important information, due dates, and keep track of your schedule. Having all your information near your study area will make organizing your classes a breeze. 

19. Desk hutch

If you have the space in your dorm, consider adding a desk hutch to create even more options for storage. These are easy to find, or you can even DIY it, and they really elevate the decor of your dorm. 

20. Trash bin

Although this item may not be at the top of your list, you’ve got to make sure you have a trash can near your desk! Where else will you throw out candy wrappers or other late night study snacks?

21. Locked trunk

Consider picking up a trunk for additional storage, and a great place to put your textbooks while you’re studying at your desk. Trunks make it easy (and stylish) to store items out of the way. Plus, they offer an extra seat or an ideal place to put your school bag full of books.

22. Rug under your desk

If you have tile or linoleum floors in your dorm, you know how cold those can be on your feet. When you’re studying you want to be comfortable, so choose a stylish (and color-coordinated) rug to keep your feet warm under your desk.

23. Wall mounted phone storage

We can all use extra places to safely store away our phone when you’re trying to get some work done. However, sometimes you just can’t find a convenient wall plug to charge your phone. With this handy wall mount, you can make any outlet an easy and safe spot to charge your phone. 

Dorm Room Inspiration for Your Walls

Create the dorm room of your dreams with the right wall decor

Fill up those dorm room walls with some stylish decor options. Some of the most popular wall decor includes posters, mirrors, and photos. Image courtesy of Refined Rooms.

24. Use posters

Now that you have the right dorm items for your bed and desk areas, it’s time to make your room as unique as you are! One of the best ways to do this is with wall decor. Posters are one the most popular ways to make your dorm space all yours. Whether there are certain bands you follow, or like the work of a particular artist, you can find a poster for that. 

Choose a theme or go eclectic with your poster choices. Try to cover as much of those bland walls as possible, and don’t forget to decorate your dorm room door as well!

25. Include removable wallpaper

You can really transform a dorm room wall with a little bit of removable wallpaper. Most of the time dorm walls are white and plain, which means they’re the perfect empty canvas for you to enhance any way you’d like! Removable wallpaper is a great option because you can choose to do one accent wall, or find a cool pattern and do all four walls. Some popular options include subway tile, brick, and chevrons, so choose a type of pattern that speaks to the color scheme and theme you’re working with. 

26. Have a photo wall

Create a photo wall that includes your family, pets from home, and the new friends you’ve made in college. You can choose to tape them to your wall, or use handy clips. If they’re framed photos, you can attach them with 3M attachments. Some of the greatest friendships are made during the four years of college, so take the time to create a wall of your favorite memories

27. Hang string lights

You can’t go wrong with the soft light and cozy vibes of string lights. There’s a reason why so many college students include them in their dorm room decor—they create such a great ambiance! Whether you want a calming light to relax and unwind to, or need a little extra lighting near your bed for reading, string lights are always the way to go.

28. Include a tapestry

If you’ve always liked the chill style of boho, then having a tapestry hang up is a must. Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to hanging it on a wall either. You can also hang a tapestry over your bed, or create the perfect study nook by hanging on the side of your lofted bed. Whether you choose a mandala design, a Celtic knot, or bright tie dyed, tapestries really elevate the look of your room. 

Lisa Argyropoulos Marble Mandala Twist III Tapestry

29. Have a collage wall

Another easy way to add some decor to your dorm walls is with a collage wall. This means you use pictures and posters of all sizes and create a collage on your wall. They can be framed or unframed, all that matters is the collage means something to you!

30. Hang mirrors

Since dorms are small on space, try including mirrors on your walls to make your room look bigger. Mirrors are easy to attach safely to your walls, and you can find them in almost any shape and size. Try putting a few together, or putting a full size one of the back of your door. Mirrors also make good additions to your collage wall!

31. Over the door organizer

You can never have enough storage options that keep your dorm looking organized and put together. An over the door organizer allows you to store accessories or items such as shoes and makeup without taking up too much space. You can choose to put it over your main dorm door, or your closet door. Either way, you’ve got a stylish way to keep your items in their place.

32. Show some school spirit

If you’re going to a school that has a lot of school spirit, consider adding a decal or a poster of your school to your wall. If you’re a big fan of the football, basketball, hockey, etc. teams, you’ll definitely want to make room to show off a little school spirit. 

33. Include plants 

And finally, one of the best ways to add a little bit of the natural world into your dorm is with plants. You can include them on your shelves, your desk hutch, or on your windowsill. There are a variety of plants that thrive in lower light situations, and do not require too much care. Plants can clean the air of your space, not to mention they always look great no matter what kind of decor you have!

There you have it, our 33 dorm decor ideas for your dorm room. Consider picking up a few of these items and enjoy your new, personalized living space