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Dorm Room Ideas | 15 Unique Ways to Jazz Up Your Dorm

Dorm Room Ideas | 15 Unique Ways to Jazz Up Your Dorm

Looking for unique and cool dorm room ideas? You’re not alone. You’re also in the right place. We get this request a lot, so we rounded up our 15 favorite ideas to spruce up your dorm room. Read on to see our picks.


Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.


Looking for Dorm Room Ideas?

Ah – the excitement of moving on campus for your first year of college! Many of us know it well; it’s your first taste of real freedom, and aside from your bedroom at home, it’s likely the first place you get to decorate to your completely unique style.

But walking into a dorm room for the first time can be a bit of a letdown.

Dorm rooms generally aren’t very pretty and don’t give you much to work with. Don’t get discouraged! We have 15 dorm room ideas to inspire you to create a comfortable, homey, and uniquely you space for your college years to come.

15 Dorm Room Ideas You’ll Love

Looking for some serious inspiration? Check out these pictures and dorm room ideas below!

1. Hang Twinkle Lights 

For a piece on dorm room ideas, a modern and small white dorm room with curtain lights hang from the ceiling

DGLimages/Shutterstock

Sometimes, dorm rooms can seem very dark and lackluster. You can quickly brighten the room by adding a wall of twinkle lights. Twinkle lights aren’t super expensive, and they look great on walls behind beds.

They add a soft glow to any room and make it look homey and chill. They’re also perfect for nighttime activities like watching movies or reading in bed – as opposed to the harsh overhead lights provided in dorms. 

2. Get Creative With Closet Storage 

For a piece on dorm room ideas, a bunch of towels and baskets sit on wooden shelves

Kostikova Natalia/Shutterstock

Dorm rooms aren’t huge, and you’re likely sharing yours with one or two roommates. That being said, storage can be hard to come by. One of the best ideas for your dorm is to get creative with your closet storage.

Whether you’re dealing with a hole-in-the-wall closet or a wardrobe-style situation, you can amplify your storage by using small baskets, bins, and shelving. 

Use cute baskets to store things like towels, sheets, and blankets. Add a small shoe rack at the bottom to keep your footwear in line. And try a hanging closet shelf to add some extra storage for clothing. 

3. Add an Area Rug

Pink fluffy area rug on a hardwood floor for a piece on dorm room ideas

faak/Shutterstock

Your dorm will have one of two types of floor: cold, hard tile, or thin, dull carpet. Either way, a great way to soften your space is to add an area rug. An area rug can easily take your room from industrial to homey.

You can also express your taste through a rug with a fun pattern or a soft, fuzzy material. Pick one that matches the rest of your stuff and toss it next to your bed so your feet land on something inviting every morning. 

4. Blackout Curtains 

A college dorm room idea featuring a plain white room with a bright red blackout curtain

Sonofalerik/Shutterstock

There’s a pretty solid chance that your dorm room will not come with curtains. Instead, you’ll get stuck with flimsy blinds. A great dorm room idea to amp up your space is to bring your own set of curtains. This idea is two for one: 

  • Curtains add style, color, and personality
  • Blackout curtains are great for good shut-eye

You can find super affordable blackout curtains that are sure to contribute to an important college staple: afternoon naps. 

5. Design a Photo Wall 

Dorm room idea to make a photo wall with string and polaroid photos

Irantzu Arbaizagoitia/Shutterstock

One of the hardest things about going away for college is leaving all of your family and friends behind. An easy way to keep them close to your heart is by creating a photo wall in your dorm. Print out a bunch of your family photos and hang them in a collage on your wall.

You can get creative and make them into a fun shape like a heart, or you can hang them from a rope using small clips. Photo walls can also fit into a certain color scheme or theme you’re going for, so consider using beach-themed pics or photos that all have a blue hue to them. 

6. Go With a Color Scheme

Plain white dorm room idea with white bookshelves, desk, and a simple natural wood office chair

SeventyFour/Shutterstock

It’s easy to see tons of adorable stuff in the Target college section and just start grabbing things to throw in the cart, but take a little time to plan things out. One of the best ways to get a cohesive design together is to stick with a color scheme. What’s your favorite color?

Start there and build your room so that everything goes together. Keep in mind, a bright color all over the place can get old very fast. If your favorite color is pink, aim for a soft, pale pink design over hot pink everything. 

7. Utilize Under-Bed Storage

A simple dorm room decoration idea featuring different colored wicker baskets for storage

RacheeLynn/Shutterstock

Some beds in dorm rooms are up high, others sit low. Either way, there’s space underneath that you can use to your advantage. If you have a super-high bed, consider moving your desk underneath.

Not only does this give you a cool, designated study and homework area, but it also frees up extra space in your room.

For lower beds, use sliding bins and baskets to store things like clothing, shoes, and even pantry snacks. The bed hides all of these items nicely, which makes your room look a lot tidier. 

8. Add Some Life With Plants

Dorm room idea with a simple desk and a wall-mounted pegboard with plants on the desk

BongKarnGraphic/Shutterstock

College dorm rooms tend to be very dull with a cookie-cutter approach to appearance. One easy way to brighten up a dull space is to add a nice, potted plant. Be sure to choose a plant that’s easy to take care of and does well in low-light.

While you can always put your plant by the window, there’s no guarantee your roommate won’t be shutting those blackout curtains often! Plants like succulents, aloe, and spiders are some of the easiest indoor plants to take care of and do great in small spaces.   

9. Use Throw Pillows 

Various colored pillows sitting on a silk pink bedsheet for a piece on dorm room ideas

Golden Hour 999/Shutterstock

There’s a reason why decorative throw pillows are so popular, and that’s because they truly work to cozy up a room. You may be stuck with the college dorm bed frame, but you don’t have to stick with the boring look.

Toss some colorful throw pillows on your bed to give your dorm a cozy, welcoming, and cute appearance. 

Match these pillows to your room’s color scheme and go for a variety of textures and materials. You’ll be so happy to see them after a long, hard day of term papers and long-winded professors. 

10. Collaborate With Your Roommate

student's bunk bed with study area in dorm room of Sanya University

Shuang Li/Shutterstock

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to get our own dorm room, so you’ll likely have a roommate living on the other side of your room. Try coordinating with them in terms of your dorm’s style. 

Together, the two of you can choose a central color and theme and build it out from there. You can plan to generally match, or go all out and buy the same of everything. 

Collaborating with your roommate allows your dorm to have a comprehensive theme, rather than two themes split down the middle. Plus, it’s a fabulous way to get to know your new living partner. 

 11. Add a Pin Board

Dorm room idea to add a pinboard to the wall

Maria Symchych/Shutterstock

Pinboards are so useful in so many ways. You can pin up fun things like pictures and quotes as well as helpful things like notes to your roommate and grocery lists. You can also use pinboards as décor, featuring fun ways to hang things like colorful string and patterned clothespins. 

Some pinboards come with dry erase calendars attached, too, which can be a great way to keep track of your and your roommate’s class schedules and activities. Stay organized and look cute doing it! 

12. Choose a Totally-You Comforter 

Unique comforter sitting on a dorm room bed for a piece on dorm ideas

WorldWide/Shutterstock

Your bed will essentially be the focal point of your college dorm, so it’s important to get yourself a cute and cozy comforter. Stick with something that’s inviting and fluffy, yet easy to wash. One quick solution is to buy a duvet and a duvet cover.

It’s much easier to take your duvet cover down to the washing machines than it is to lug a huge comforter. Plus, you can always switch out your duvet cover if it gets dirty or you want to change up the look of your room in an instant.  

And as a money-saving tip, try to find an all-in-one set – something that includes a comforter, sheets, and pillowcases. This will get you the most bang for your buck. 

13. Invest in a Good Lamp

Dorm room idea to invest in a good lamp showing a desk (sans student) utilized at night

SeventyFour/Shutterstock

A dorm room typically comes with one form of light: a ceiling light. And in most cases, this light is a harsh color that poorly illuminates your room. If you want your room to feel more like home, we suggest investing in a high-quality floor lamp.

A popular option for dorm rooms is a multi-bulb floor lamp that has multiple lighting settings.

You can set it to be extra-bright, or keep it dim for those late-night study sessions when your roommate wants to sleep. Other options include cute desk lamps or small lamps that clip to your bed frame. 

14. Use Mirrors

Dorm room mirror on the wall next to a small twin bed

Toyakisphoto/Shutterstock

One of the best ways to make a space look bigger and brighter is by placing mirrors around the room. We’re not talking about a creepy house of mirrors kind of deal, but rather using one of two stylish mirrors to reflect natural light and add a homey touch to your dorm. 

Start by grabbing a full-length mirror to sit on the floor.

Amp it up by placing a small rug in front of it, draping string lights around it, and putting a cute little ottoman next to it. You can also get a group of three or four small mirrors to hang in a pattern on the wall. Try different shapes for a unique twist on an everyday item. 

15. Hang Inspiration

Inspiration showing how to spruce up a dorm room with plants and hanging floating shelves

Julia Karo/Shutterstock

College is a huge change from high school, and it can be easy to get down about making friends, getting good grades, and finding your place. So, make your dorm an inspirational place.

Hang some framed inspirational quotes on your walls that cheer you up and encourage you. You can often find these framed images in stores, but you can also print your own and fill empty frames with them as an easy DIY project. 

Things to Consider

Woman hanging a picture frame on the wall of a bare college dorm

SeventyFour/Shutterstock

When you’re decorating your dorm room this year, be sure to keep some of these dos and don’ts in mind:

  • DON’T leave permanent marks on your walls
  • DO choose colors that make the room pop
  • DON’T spend beyond your budget to decorate
  • DO use temporary hanging tools like velcro strips and sticky tack 
  • DO keep it simple 
  • DON’T over-clutter your space
  • DO use things you can reuse 
  • DO communicate with your roommate about items you’re bringing 
  • DON’T buy everything until you know what your dorm looks like
  • DO have fun – this is your living space for the next four years!

If you keep the considerations above in mind, you’re sure to create a fun and happy space to spend your college years. 

What’s Your Favorite Dorm Room Idea?

You’ll spend a lot of time in your dorm room during college, so it’s important to have a space that’s welcoming but also allows you to focus on your studies. Were you inspired by our list of dorm room ideas? Consider using a few of them in your dorm this school year!

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