Delightful (and practical) Dorm Decor

Every new adventure comes with a little stress, and higher education has its own special challenges. When choosing how to decorate your dorm room, keep two important things in mind: one, that you have next to no floor space, and two, you are not alone. Because your success and well-being is important to us, here are some ideas to help keep your environment as stress-free as possible. 

Everyone knows how to conserve space in a small, shared environment by using cube shelves or milk crates under loft beds, or under-the-bed totes with lids (a must for dust); so we asked local design expert, Jessa Carreon of 7Threads, to give our readers some fresh, inspiring ideas on college room décor.


  • A colorful or textured rug in the center anchors the room.
  • Removable wallpaper, contact paper, or washi tape can transform the front of an armoire, flat panel doors, or dorm appliances (fridge only – not stove/oven).  Cut the wallpaper pieces into squares or triangles or strips to make geometric patterns on the wall.
  • Cover bathroom countertops in need of a makeover with contact paper.
  • Hang dry erase surfaces or cork board in frames over the door for organizing/schedules/calendar/pics.


  • Rearrange the furniture to create an open space in the center of the room.
  • Clip lights to top of shelves.
  • Run remote control, dimmable LED string lights around the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling (use small, removable hooks).
  • If your view is less than inspiring, use removable frosted window film to block the unwanted sight but still allow light through (contact paper may work if not in direct sun). 
  • Place an over-the-door hanging mirror opposite window to bounce light around.


  • Use scarves, twin sheets, or colorful tablecloths as curtains. If you get a new set of sheets for the bed, put the fitted one on the bed, and use the flat sheet for a curtain panel. 
  • To hang the curtains, use removable hooks and a dowel rod (found at a hardware store). For the tieback, pair a hook with a necklace, ribbon, or leather string to make a creative yet functional accessory. 


  • Stack decorative bins on shelves.
  • Anchor a small bookshelf to the top of your desk for more shelf space.
  • Conserve closet space with over the door hooks
    for towels/robe/jackets.
  • Instead of a comforter, use soft blankets that are easily washed with sheets – NOT bulky.
    Bonus: If you get cozy fleece blankets, don’t use fabric softener on them; it makes them pill up and lose their softness. Add baking soda to the wash water instead.
  • Keep cosmetics/bathroom supplies in the travel bags you use to carry them in—closed and controlled when not in use so they don’t take over the bathroom (easier to clean the bathroom that way, too).

Make It Your Space

  • Get stuff off the floor – hang a laundry bag on the back the of the bathroom door. 
  • Bring items you love from home, but nothing precious. Shop at a thrift store for an extra chair or fun/funky plates/dishes/cups in your colors. 
  • Use color AND texture, 2-4 colors, and textures you actually enjoy touching (nothing harsh or fake). And use them everywhere. Just refrain from getting so much STUFF that you fill every nook and cranny. Consider including soft, comfortable pillows, preferably with removable covers that can be cleaned. 
  • If you can keep it alive, add an oxygen-boosting plant or two (small). No fake plants—they just collect dust.

And there you have it!  Some simple ways to add a touch of hominess and a splash of modern while freeing up a little more space for your new environment.

As you move forward in this next adventure, stay centered, stay true, stay focused.

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