Dorm Room Décor

Posted on: August 05, 2013
Dorm Room Décor

Congratulations to all of our recent graduates! This is an unprecedented and entirely exciting time in your life. I am so thrilled thinking about all of the wonderful things you will accomplish during your education and beyond…but first, let’s get down to the serious stuff— dorm room décor.   My student affairs colleagues would now politely remind me that the correct term is residence hall room, or simply room (love y’all, shout out!).

Your room at school is likely your first little home away from home, so it is important that you make it all your own. Whenever I get the urge to decorate a space, I like to find one thing that I just absolutely adore and use it as a reference point. It could be a swatch of fabric, a color combination you found on Pinterest, a pillow sham, a lamp shade—anything! Whatever it is, use it as your home base and continue to refer back to it.

dorm Dorm Room Décor{Source}

Bedding. The first thing you probably have your mind on is bedding, as it is the focal point of the room and likely the largest piece of furniture (and who doesn’t love sleeping?). Quilts, duvets, coverlets, shams, sheets, throw pillows and blankets—oh my! I like the idea of buying a somewhat neutral or solid comforter, because it allows to me play with different accent accessories as my style changes. White is always classic, but if you select a color you feel will transcend time, go for it! A solid or neutral base means you can get a fun patterned sheet and throw pillows. Be sure to ask your housing office if the beds are a traditional twin or a twin extra long. Also, you will not regret getting a mattress pad (a simple egg crate will do) and two sets of sheets (for when the laundry room is just too far away).

Bedding Dorm Room Décor{Source}

Window treatments. It’s amazing what a good set of curtains can do for an otherwise stark white residence hall room. Be sure that you get enough panels to fit the window properly—a typical two pane window will require four panels of curtains, so that when closed they are not pulled completely taut. Some institutions may have a policy about how close things may be hung to the ceiling (due to fire code), but if permissible, hang the curtains higher than the actual window to make the dorm appear more spacious.

dorm room Dorm Room Décor{Source}

Lamps. Harsh florescent lighting doesn’t always make for a nice ambiance, so consider bringing at least one lamp that can sit on your desk or bedside table. This will come in handy when you want to kick back and relax, watch TV/read a magazine, or for late-night study sessions when your roommate is sleeping.

Lamps Dorm Room Décor{Similar Gold Lamp | Paris Lamp | Rock Lamp}

Wall hangings. This is completely doable, even with cinder block walls. You will just need to select hangings that are not too heavy, as you will need to use double sided padded adhesive to secure them in place. A small mirror, framed pictures of loved ones, a canvas painting of your own creation, a corkboard calendar (complete with fashion thumb tacks), and of course your monogram are all possibilities. Be prepared to use goo-be-gone at the end of the year to remove the remaining adhesive off the walls at check-out (no biggie!).

Monograms Dorm Room Décor{Monogram | Chevron Monogram | Quatrefoil Monogram}

Towels. Bring at least two sets of towels with you. Make a trip to the embroiderer before the semester to monogram your towels—it will settle any confusion of whose is whose with your roommate, and I would bet you have already had those towels monogrammed anyway!

monogrammed towels Dorm Room Décor{Source}

Oversized Bed Skirt. This will mimic a traditional bed skirt, but will be long enough to suit the height of a typical residence hall bed to hide items stored underneath. Do some measuring while you are on campus for orientation! If unable to do so, make a call to the housing office, or play it safe and make it longer than you may need and simply pull the excess up under the mattress. Large Rubbermaid totes or drawers will be a great source of extra storage that can be easily stowed under the bed. When I was in college, my roommate and I even hid the mini-fridge and the microwave under there.

Bed Skirt Orange Dorm Room Décor{Source}

Headboard. Oh how I wish this idea had surfaced while I was in school! You can keep it as simple as stapling padding and your choice of fabric over particle board. Add embellishments or keep it simple– pick whatever works best with the décor style you have selected and get crafting! The headboard can sit between the mattress and the existing bed, if need be. Check out our DIY Upholstered Headboard tutorial here.

headboard Dorm Room Décor{Source}

Encouraging Quotes. Find somewhere in the room where you can display a quote or multiple quotes that will keep you going through studying and homework craziness. I did this in my own room by framing a chalkboard and now write on it with either classic or liquid chalk. A couple of my current favorites are “Chin up, buttercup,” and “She climbed until she saw.”

Encouragement Dorm Room Décor{Chin Up Buttercup | Dream Big | Do What You Love}

Mini-succulent garden. Okay, so maybe this isn’t essential, but I love the idea of having something green in the room. My favorite succulents are the ones that grow in a rosette shape.  It’s fun to name and nurture them! My friend just picked one up for her apartment (I’m now an aunt) and picking out the pottery for it was the best part.

DIY Succulent Pots FCS Dorm Room Décor{DIY: Mini Succulant Pots}

Check  out Part 2 of this post next week to see my favorite color combinations to brighten up your dorm room!

XO, Bethany

P. S. Share your dorm décor, DIY projects, and room progress/completed pics with us this fall!  Tag our handle @forchicsake and hashtag #forchicdormsake on Twitter or Instagram.  I am excited to see all of your new little homes!

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(3) Comments

  1. I am really impressed with these chic little “rooms” that you’ve found. My first dorm room definitely wasn’t as cohesive as these talented ladies’ were! Wish I could do it all again…

    • I felt the same way Nicole! I was like “I want to go back and decorate a dorm room all over again!”

  2. I have never wanted to move into a tiny room so much in my life! :) Great post Bethany!

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