Settling in at College: 5 Tips for Decorating Your Dorm

Planning on living on campus? Dorm decor doesn't have to be dull! Trick out your space with these fun ideas that'll make you feel right at home.

College dorms are not glamorous living spaces. Many are rather dull, plain, and dated. And unfortunately, you can't change the biggest elements in the room, like the paint, flooring, or beds. However, that doesn't mean your space can't be colorful, fun, and unique. Here are a few ways to decorate your dorm so that it doesn't look drab and boring.

Add color to the space with a fun comforter

While you may not be able to paint your dorm room, you can still add some color and make your living space vibrant. Adding a colorful comforter, pillows, or throw blankets will help you spruce up your dorm to make it feel as if you're at home. Obtaining a comforter that has multiple colors and design patterns will also make the space appear to be larger, which is perfect in a small dorm room.

Place a throw rug on the floor

A throw rug in the middle of the room will add both texture and warmth to your dorm. The space that you're spending the majority of your year in doesn't have to feel cramped and bland. This is your opportunity to figure out your style, if you haven't done so already. Experiment with different colors and patterns to find the look that's best suited for your space. To make your small dorm seem larger, keep in mind that vertical stripes lengthen a room, while horizontal stripes can make it look wider. 

Make sure there is enough light

Not having enough light makes a space look dreary and dull. Bringing in plenty of lighting helps brighten the room and makes it easier to study. Consider playing around with light bulbs that mimic natural light, especially if there aren't many windows in your space. This can make a cold, dreary space sunnier and brighter.

Bring in multi-functional pieces

Bringing in multi-functional furniture—such as cubes that can double as storage and seating—is also a must in small spaces like dorm rooms. You already have a limited amount of space; multi-functional pieces can give you all the function you need while keeping the space from being crowded. Make a list of the different items you'll need in your dorm room, such as a table, desk, storage, and seating. Then head to your favorite store and see what pieces they have that can serve in two or three different ways.

Place high school memorabilia on your wall

Unfortunately you can't paint your dorm room, and typically the walls in these rooms are plain white in color. But that doesn't mean that you can't have any color, design, or texture on the wall. When you graduate from high school, you're often left with memorabilia from high school. While you may be hesitant to place items from your high school days on your walls in college, it can be very comforting. It's common for people to become homesick when they first start college—it's often the first time they're away from home, their friends, and their family. Placing familiar items on your wall helps add character, color, and design to your dorm.

Bringing certain elements into your dorm room such as colorful comforters, a throw rug, plenty of light, multi-functional pieces, and wall decals can help spruce any boring splace up, giving it personality and an identity. Find more dorm room decorating tips in our Student Life section!

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About Rachelle Wilber

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California, area. She graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and media studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on the porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym.

You can follow Rachelle on Twitter.


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