5 Tips & Tricks for Decorating a Single Dorm Room

Living solo presents its own set of decorating challenges.

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Single dorm room

For many, living in a tiny space with another person is part of the college experience, but that doesn’t mean everyone goes through it. Some students choose to have single rooms, share suites, or get apartments during their college years based on personal preference and need.

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If you have a single room, then decorating it becomes a little bit like putting together a studio apartment. Without the addition of a second bed, and a second person, you have more flexibility when it comes to how much to bring and what you do with those things.

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Not sure where to start? Here are 5 ways to decorate the space efficiently, without sacrificing style.

PS – These tips also work if you’re living in a studio apartment or an equally small space alone!

1. A headboard will instantly transform that standard dorm bed.


When you have two, or more, beds in a room, placing your bed in the corner is the only option. But when you live alone, you have the luxury of moving the bed around and even having it in centered along the wall.

Depending on your bed, you can decorate with a headboard for a more “homey” vibe. You can either DIY one (try pictures arranged in a rectangular shape for a unique look) or buy a traditional headboard, based on your style and budget. As long as they can be hung up with Command Strips or propped against the wall, the sky is the limit.

Stylish headboards can be found online at places like IKEA, Dormify, Pottery Barn, and Urban Outfitters.

2. You can (and should) invest in a couch.


A couch might seem like an insane purchase if you’re living in the dorms, but hear me out. At my school, when you lose the extra bed, you lose a place for people sit when they come over.

Many people I know buy inexpensive couches, like this one from Urban Outfitters, although you can also find cheaper couches, loveseats, and futons at IKEA. Or, see if any family members have an old, gently used couch they no longer want and would be willing to part with for little to no $$$.

The couch gives any friends spending the night a place to sleep, and makes movie nights easier when you’re not trying to cram people onto your bed.

3. Get a clothes rack so you can bring ALL your clothes with you.


Many of my friends who are RAs only have one wardrobe, but more than one wardrobe worth of clothes. Enter the clothes rack. The one above is from Pottery Barn, but you can also find an inexpensive clothes rack at IKEA. Local clothing boutiques might also have some they are wanting to get rid of too, especially if they are moving or selling lots of stock.

This is a perfect way to showcase your of-the-moment wardrobe, while also having a place to put everything. If you decorate it with fairy lights, or place pictures above it, then you have a little boutique moment right in your dorm.

Bonus: Having clothes on a rack makes it feel like you’re shopping whenever you’re searching for an outfit. Hopefully, you’ll never have another “I have no clothes” moment! 

4. Storage, storage, and more storage.


Storage in dorm rooms (and in apartments) is always at a premium, but you can’t exactly drill holes into the wall to create shelves. An open cube storage set, like this option from Target, can balance showing off your frames, travel trinkets, or collections, with slide out “drawers” to store things like cables, blankets, or other bulky and not-pretty-necessities.

A shelf set like this also creates a perfect place for a TV, set across from your bed (and/or couch!) for cozy movie nights with your friends.

5. Buy a multipurpose bar cart.


Bar carts are some of the cutest pieces to style. I have one in my room and it holds my tea, French press, and coffee bits and bobs. If you are of drinking age, you can show of your mixing materials, but for most of us who aren’t, they serve as a place for our coffee obsessions, or even just a place to stash your prettier, harder-to-store items.

IKEA again comes to our rescue with loads of inexpensive bar carts, like this cute $30 option. Its teal hue will bring a pretty pop of color to your space.

What do you think?

I hope these ideas were helpful. How do you plan to decorate your single room? Do you know of any good storage or design tips that I missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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