Made it into college? Congrats! All your hard work has finally paid off, and now a whole new adventure awaits. There’s a lot to think about, but there’s one thing you should def put serious effort into planning: Your dorm room. Yep — it’s time to decorate your new room with lots of cute dorm room decor.
At home, I shared my room with my sibling, so it wasn’t until college that I actually had a whole space to decorate myself. So, when I tumbled into my dorm, I just wasn’t sure how to make it look aesthetic. As well as this, it took me a really long time to find my own decorating style — but when I did, boy did I fall in love. Hence, y’know, why I got into interiors writing.
If you’re not sure where to start, or just want some gorgeous inspo, I’m here for you. I’ve found a whole load of different dorm room ideas. Oh, and if just don’t know what your style is just yet, that’s all good too — just take a look through and see if anything jumps out to you.
Ready to get started? Keep on scrolling for dreamy dorm decor…
Zhuzh up your dorm room with these chic and clever ideas
FYI: As well as finding pics and vids, I’ve also picked out some matching buys, so you can get the look if ya like.
The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.
1. Grow a plant or two
One of the thing that I missed most at college was greenery. I totally took for granted my family home’s lush backyard, and I was in for a real shock when faced with my gray, concrete campus. I wish I’d thought about putting some plants in my dorm, as I’ve found having them in my rental has been so soothing. BTW, dorm room air can get gross AF, so having a few air purifying plants is totes a good idea, too.
2. Add cozy lighting
When I was in college, I pretty much never bothered with the big light. The one in my dorm was so bright, and just made my skin and my room look so blah. Instead, I opted for dorm lighting like string lights and lamps. This TT shows how much of a difference softer lighting can make to a dorm, with Jordyn going for a range of taller lights and smaller lights to glow up her room.
3. Choose cute storage solutions
In dorms, you just don’t have anywhere to hide your clutter. Ok, well you can hide it, but you’ve just gotta do it a cute way, so you don’t mess up your aesthetic. Storage crates like these Urban Outfitters ones are so cute, and work so well under the bed, on the nightstand, or on the desk. For bigger pieces, woven storage baskets also look fab, and can be topped with a throw to disguise any mess.
4. Make your place picture perfect
If you’re budgeting for college and know you’re gonna need to save them dollars, you might not have a lot of cash to spend on decor. An inexpensive way to make your dorm feel like yours is decorating with pics, as you can look back and remember great memories with your besties and family members. I’m loving Marina’s DIY photo frame, which is such a clever idea. Or, you could also add pics onto fairy lights or in special holders.
5. Don't be afraid to be bougie
Living in college IRL doesn’t have to equal college living like in the movies. AKA, swap the pizza boxes for plenty of stylish touches. I’m so impressed with Rollins’ dorm transformation — she has literally not held back in any area, and the payoff is big. The plush headboards, accent chairs, and the coffee table all add a touch of luxe, both in terms of decor and in terms of adding home comforts. You’ve got a lot of months of living in dorms, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy going to the extra effort.
6. Try thinking pink
You know it, I know it. Barbiecore is here to stay. While you can’t turn your dorm room into the Dreamhouse completely (can you imagine floating to class a la Barbie floating off her house?), you can get pretty close with dreamy pink dorm decor. Add bold splashes of bright pink to add playful character to a room, or try softer pinks for a cozy, dreamy effect.
7. Zone it out with rugs
Let’s be real: Dorms aren’t exactly known for being super spacious. That being said, there’s a whole lot you’ve got to do in there, like sleeping, studying, and styling that ‘fit. Those are completely different activities, peeps! Using dorm rugs to create different zones is one of my fave small spaces hacks, as they easily change up the vibe of even the smallest area. This way, you won’t feel like snoozin’ when you’ve got to cram for finals. If you’re really struggling for space, you could overlay a couple to point to different areas, like TikToker Sofia has.
8. Roll on peel and stick wallpaper
Faced with a whole blank wall that you just don’t know what to do with? Say hey to peel and stick wallpaper, which is such an easy way to switch up the style of your dorm. Go for an accent wall like The Vogue Room has in this boy dorm room makeover, or go all-out and cover ‘em all. For this one, be sure to check your dorm contract, as some won’t allow wallpaper of any kind.
9. Hang up wonderful wall decor
One of my fave ways to add personality to a space is by hanging wall art. In fact, it’s the first thing that I did when moving into my current rental. Immediately the space felt like my own, and I was able to decorate around it, too. The same logic goes for dorm wall decor. If you aren’t sure about how to style your room, pick out a piece of artwork that speaks to you, hang it up, and match your dorm bedding and desk pieces to it.
10. And when in doubt, keep it simple
Feelin’ a li’l overwhelmed with the amount of different styles and ideas out there? I don’t blame you. If you just want a simple but chic look, opt for a soft, minimalistic palette. When shopping, you just need to go for furniture and decor pieces in whites, beiges, and creams, and you’ll end up with a cohesive finish. Don’t forget cozy finishing touches, like fluffy pillows and rugs, for a truly vanilla girl finish.