Dorm wall decorating ideas to transform your boring room

Wall to wall

Orange bed with gallery wall art
(Image credit: Dormify)

Congrats! You graduated high school and are off to college. Now you have a lot of important decisions to make. Not about your major — about your dorm room decor, of course! In addition to the whole academic part, college is the start of learning so many things about yourself. Your decorating style can be a part of all of this. So we highly suggest taking full advantage of the opportunity. 

Once you’ve chosen your bedding and considered a few other things you probably are bringing from home, it’s time to work on your walls. After all, it’s what everyone else (including your roommate) will experience as an expression of your personality. 

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here are seven great ways to decorate your dorm room walls with lots of inspiration from influencers, artists, and interior designers. 

Dorm wall decorating ideas

1) Consider a canvas

Canvas wall art of lollipop

(Image credit: Dormify)

You really can’t go wrong with canvas art in your dorm room. After all, canvases are generally less expensive than original art or even prints these days. They’re also more durable than a framed piece of art in glass. Better yet, they’re great for adding color and texture to your walls. 

2) Put up a poster

Three pink and orange posters on white walls

(Image credit: Dormify)

You seriously can’t go wrong with a poster on your dorm room wall. There are millions of posters out there on the market. Whether you want a copy of a famous painting, something stylish and colorful, or perhaps even something funny — there is a poster out there for you. You can even have them framed to elevate the look just a little bit. Or go the easy and cheap route with Command Strips or some putty.  

White room with gallery wall and string lights

(Image credit: @tapestrygirls.)

Art on your dorm room walls is kind of like cookies or chips — it’s impossible to have just one. Fortunately, it’s very easy to create a gallery wall. Whether you want to have ten pieces of art or three, you can arrange and re-arrange a gallery wall in any way you like. When it comes to design, your dorm wall is your oyster. Put up a bunch of pictures and posters and get wild. Or buy a set of frames and insert your favorite photos for a more refined look.  

4) Use a tapestry

Bedroom with colorful tapestry on wall with string lights

(Image credit: @tapestrygirls)

There’s nothing that screams dorm life quite like a tapestry does. We love the way one student put up her tapestry — on both walls. It makes for one cozy corner. Tapestries can also be put up where a headboard would normally be or on a side wall. It’s certainly less expensive than buying a headboard for your dorm room. No matter what you do, it’s a classic look that’s ideal for small spaces. 

5) Design a custom monogram

Want your dorm room to look just a little bit bougie? Why not create a custom monogram? Jenny Reimold created a gorgeous custom monogram for her daughter’s dorm room, giving it a true feeling of home. 

“A monogram anchors the space with a personalized touch and provided a central focus to a bedroom," says Reimold. "Lightweight and relatively inexpensive, these trending dorm accents are popular ways to add color and customization to any small space.”  

6) Install a mirror

Your dorm room might not come with a mirror, which means you’re going to need one. Fortunately, mirrors aren’t just decorative, they’re truly useful. Just be sure yours is installed properly so it doesn’t fall and hurt anyone. It also looks a bit more sophisticated than typical dorm decor. 

7) Level it up with a neon sign

Neon signs have been in style for a while now. There’s a good reason for this. They’re fun, and modern and also make a great gift for a recent high school grad who is off to college at the end up of the summer. They can even be used to add a little extra light in darker dorm rooms. Much like a custom monogram, a neon sign also makes a thoughtful gift. 

Amanda Lauren

Hi, I’m Amanda Lauren. I’m a design expert and interior stylist who writes for Real Homes, Forbes, Real Simple among other publications. I live in Los Angeles in the historic neighborhood of Hancock Park with my husband, and two dogs, Lulu and Milo. We also have a baby coming in spring 2023. I’m a big believer in finding beautiful things at all price points. There are so many places to find affordable things, you just have to look for them. If you don't find it at first, look harder!