Listen up: Here’s how to throw the ultimate dorm party

Dance the night away ✨

A pink disco ball on a colorful background
(Image credit: Future)

In my opinion, there are two really great things about college. One, the studying. Don’t yawn at me — that’s your future right there. Then two, the memory creating. That means meeting new people and having the most fun time. One of the best ways to do that? Throwing the ultimate dorm room party, baby.

Of course, you can’t plan the memories, but you can set things up for people to have a really good time. As a former college student who has been to and thrown her fair share of parties, I know what works and what doesn’t.

As well as nailing the core basics, there are a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Thoughtful touches and fun activities all make such a difference and will get people fully into the mood. If you want your party to be the one that everyone talks about months (and maybe even years!) later, scroll down for my top tips on throwing the best party…

1. Make sure there’s plenty of seating

You don’t want people to feel uncomfortable standing around awkwardly, as this kills the vibe. Instead, make sure you utilize all the seating you have. Throw some accent pillows onto the floor in a li’l circle for a cute place to chat. Put plenty of chairs around your table, so there’s lots of room for people to play games. Then, make sure your couch looks extra inviting by throwing pillows and blankets on it. By doing all this, there will be lots of places for people to join in conversations.

2.  Lay out plenty of snacks

One thing that college students love? Free food. You don’t need to spend a lot of dollar on this either. A few bags of chips and jars of dips go a long way, trust me. Shake the chips out into a big bowl, so people feel welcome to dive in. For those with a sweet tooth, go for boxes of mini muffins and brownie bites. If you’re feeling generous, pizzas (either from the store or takeout) also always go down well. Oh, and be sure to have a few beverages around too — especially mixers like lemonade and cola, as these are often overlooked!

3. Go for fun lighting 

It’s amazing how much lighting can change a room. First things first: the big light is not the one to go for when you want to create a party atmosphere. Instead, go for lots of smaller lights instead. These could include colorful fairy lights (these Minetom ones are Amazon’s Choice), or if you want to go all-out, go for a light machine like this Luditek sound activated one. Before the party starts, make sure to turn these on and check everywhere in your dorm is still visible — we don’t want anyone to be tripping, peeps.

4. Decorate the space

We don’t need to go all kids birthday party — just a few cute pieces will do here. Paper lanterns, glittery ribbons, and even balloons will subtly lift the space and make it feel a bit more special. I like creating an "obvious" spot for people to take pics, such as hanging up a curtain wall (this KatchOn Amazon bestseller is really pretty). You could also give the party a theme and ask people to dress up, then decorate the space around that.

5. Have a few games ready

Look, I love a good Monopoly board as much as the next gal. But for a college party? That’s a hard pass, sis. Instead, have a few different games dotted around the room. They don’t have to be super complex — for example, this could literally be a pack of cards, for card games like poker and blackjack. Additionally, have a few in the back of your head to roll out, such as truth or dare or never have I ever. Don’t want to run out of questions too quickly? Over 5,000 Amazon shoppers rate this question box. These are both really fun ice breakers and are a good way to get to know people.  

6. Get the music playing

Whenever anyone asks me to play my fave music at a party, I literally cringe inside, as my music taste is very random. That’s why I always roll out Spotify instead! I tend to search up chart music and cheesy crowd pleasers (hands up fellow ABBA fans), put them all in a playlist, and hit shuffle. If you’re really organized and have a party group chat going, you could always put a shareable link to the playlist in there, so people can put in their fave tunes. Then, make sure you have a speaker to play them on — something like this Anker portable speaker on Amazon would be perfect. 

7. Let your RA/neighbors know

The last thing you want when you’re partying is to have a knock on the door and your whole party shut down. Instead, let your RA and any neighboring dorms know that you’re having a bsha, and ask them if there are any rules that need to be followed. Check your dorm contract too for anything like curfew stipulations. Then, on the night, make sure to keep the noise down and the music at a reasonable level, so you don’t get any complaints.

Now you’re ready to throw the ultimate dorm party! Have the best time living it up and have fun making new friends.

Up next: I'm a former college student, and these are my top tips for making your dorm room cozier

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses.