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Dorm Decorating 101: Making Your Room as Stylish as Your Wardrobe


Decorated Dorm Room
Photo Credit

It’s official: fall semester has begun. Most of us have been getting back into the swing of things with classes, extracurriculars and jobs.

You girls living on-campus are probably all settled into your new dorm room, which is hopefully well-organized. However, if you feel like your room looks a bit bland, that’s where dorm room decorating comes in. The right decorations will make your place feel like a home-away-from-home.

Stumped for ideas to spice up your dorm? Here are some items to get the creative juices flowing:

For Your Bed:

Dorm Room Bedding

Product Information: Damsel in Damask Duvet, Canopy Bird Toss Pillow, Madison Quilt, Lucas Pillow, Bazaar Pillow, Marimekko Sheets, Throw Blanket

Your bed is the centerpiece of your dorm, so make sure you have a comforter that you’ll enjoy looking at every day. Your bed is also a great place to play with different colors, fabrics and textures.

Above, I included two comforters as well as a sheet set to showcase the many stylish options out there for dorms. Pillows come in tons of styles and sizes and are a fun way to decorate your bed– you can never have too many! Finally, because most dorms are freezing, buy a soft throw blanket in a pretty color that you can use on your bed or for when friends visit.

Lighting & Flooring:

Dorm Flooring & Lighting

Product Information: Table Lamp, Floor Lamp, Wall Lights, Flameless Candles, Floral Rug, Striped Rug, Carpet Tiles- (1, 2, 3)

It’s easy to overlook these two aspects of dorm decorating, but don’t! Adding a stylish rug or lamp can change the way your entire room looks.

The florescent overhead lighting in dorms is often harsh, but adding a table or floor lamp will give your room softer lighting. Wall lights are another fun way to add lighting to dorms, and they come in lots of fun styles. If you’re a girl who loves candles, try some of the flameless variety, because, as you know, open flames are banned in most dorms.

A throw rug will create a homey feel and will look great in any dorm room. Carpet tiles are another flooring option, which are inexpensive and easy to install.

Wall Decorations:

Wall Decor for Dorms

Product Information: Marilyn Monroe Poster, Andy Warhol Poster, Tree Print, Frames, Photo Holder, Chandelier Wall Decal, Rhino Bust

Dorm room walls are notoriously bland and are therefore a huge blank slate for decorating. Walls are the perfect place to try out lots of fun and unique designs and styles.

Posters are always a popular wall decor choice, but instead of slapping some on the wall with Sticky Tack, try framing them for a unique look. For more easy wall decor, place photos of friends and family in structural holders for an artistic look, or try reusable wall decals to add a chandelier to your room! You can even go for something fun and unexpected like this rhino bust.

Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!

Dorm Room Accessories

Product Information: Owl Bank, Buddha Statue, Mirror, Jewelry Stand, Clock, Vases

This is probably the most important part of interior decorating– adding accessories! We all know that when it comes to fashion, accessories make the outfit , and it’s really no different with decorating. Accessories can make (or break) any room’s decor.

The accessories I chose above are ones that reflect my personal style, to give you some ideas, however the accessories you choose for your room should reflect your style. Look for new and interesting items that you love or bring a few trinkets from your old room at home. Most of all, be sure to express yourself!

More Tips for Decorating Your Dorm:

  • You and your roommate don’t need to have matching decor. If you want to buy identical floral pink comforters, by all means go for it, but I find that girls who decorate in colors and patterns that complement each other often have the best-looking rooms.
  • With that in mind, be sure that you show off your individual style. It’s what makes you unique that will make your dorm feel like you.
  • I said it above and I’ll say it again, read up on your school’s dorm policies. It’s better to know what is and isn’t allowed than to be hit with a hefty fine from an RA because you made a hole in your wall to hang a picture. (If that’s the case, Command Hooks are amazing!)
  • Learn to get creative with your decorations. For example, try framing some pretty wrapping paper or fabric for a DIY look that is sure to get compliments.
  • Look in unexpected places to find one-of-a-kind pieces. Take trips to thrift stores, flea markets and even check websites like Etsy to find unique items for your dorm. Even take a look in your parents’ or grandparents’ garage– you might find the perfect vase or lamp for your space.
  • Not sure where to start? Find inspiration online. A simple Google search for ‘stylish dorm rooms’ can lead you to tons of decorating ideas. Or if you’re a fan of Gossip Girl, you can check out Calli’s post on creating a Blair Waldorf-inspired dorm room.

What do you think?

What do you think of these decorations? Did you find any inspiration for your dorm? Any advice you’d like to share about your own experiences? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Posted on on September 12, 2010 / Filed Under: Dorm Room / Tags: , , ,

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10 Responses to “Dorm Decorating 101: Making Your Room as Stylish as Your Wardrobe”

  1. 1
    September 12th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Whenever I re-decorate my room (guilty of changing my room every year!) I usually always buy sets at Target, but now I think I’ll start making it a bit more unique. Thanks, Ashley!

  2. 2
    September 12th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    This is a fabulous article! Great tips and I love the items you chose, especially the wall decorations. That glitter-encrusted rhino bust and the chandelier decal are ah-may-zing!

  3. 3
    September 12th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Great post! I own the Marilyn poster featured in the ‘Wall Decorations’ portion and actually bought it at a poster sale my freshman year on campus. I bought a Vogue one there as well. I definitely recommend checking out the poster sales they have on campus at the beginning of the year. Posters and your bedspread really help define your room.

  4. 4
    September 12th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    if you have a roomate who is as enthusiastic about having a fun-looking room as you are, then go all out. and talk about it…i roomed with my roomate for 2 years in a row, and our freshman year, our room was all bright colors. my side was all green/blue and hers was pink/orange. during the middle of the year we realized how cool it would be for our room to be black and white… so sophomore year our entire room was black/white/silver. totally different but great because it was definitely a new room from the previous year. we even printed out pictures in black and white to go along with it.

    another area that can really add a lot to a room: curtains! seriously! get pretty ones, they make so much of a difference!

  5. 5
    September 13th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Ooh, I love all your picks! These all are very inspirational pieces to get started with!

  6. 6
    September 14th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I think it’s weird to put Ganesh on a throw pillow. It’s appropriating a culture. After all, I don’t know anyone who would have Jesus or Moses on throw pillows.

    Anyway, the other stuff is cute. I especially like the flameless candles–most dorms don’t allow candles, etc. so this is a way to make the room more romantic without setting your sheets on fire.

  7. 7
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Great innovative ideas on dorm room decorating. Make the most of your small room space with risers.. creating more room for storage under the bed.
    Design a dorm room filled with the things you love and that inspire you!

  8. 8
    March 12th, 2012 at 1:01 am

    There’s this great IDEA of how to decorate your room to make it feel spunky and fun, but dark. Something like a Aria Montgomery style. You collect as many poker cards as you can depending how big your window size. Aferwards, you punch holes on each four corners and attach them with a string that can hold. You attach all of them together thrugh the holes working your way from the top to the bottom and at the ends, create loops. Put thumb-tacks on the top corners of your windows or drill nails for stronger hold. It acts as a window curtains

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