Whether you want to show your roommate how cool you are or just personalize your space, decorating is a must when it comes to #dormlife. Being welcomed by a room designed exactly the way you want should make you feel better after stressing through a group project or an 8 a.m. lecture. And who doesn’t dream about having a Martha Stewart dorm room worthy of being pinned on everyone’s Pinterest board.
1. A cozy bed
Spending a lot of time in your bed is a given since you probably won’t have a room with a couch to lounge on and you schedule daily naps. To instantly get that Pinterest vibe, go for solid, neutral colors or boho prints for the bedspread and a super soft throw blanket. Pillows can fall within the same color scheme or be that bold, pop of color. Either way, make sure they’re comfy and you can’t feel that awful bedspring.
2. Wall art
Walls in dorm rooms usually resemble some weird off-white prison walls. While terrifying at first, don’t be afraid to cover them in all kinds of wall art. Tapestries cover large amounts of wall space, and there are hundreds of different designs for all personality types. Hanging up maps of your favorite places, dream catchers and framed inspirational quotes might motivate you to keep reaching for your goals. And you’ll thank yourself for having something to look at other than cinder blocks after long study sessions.
A lot of dorm rooms have really crappy lighting, but luckily you can find outlets all over the place. String lights scream Pinterest, and turning off everything but the lights in the evening creates a calm atmosphere. Plus, you can literally hang them anywhere. Delicately place them around your bed, hang them from the ceiling, around mirrors and even around your desk for added ambiance. Consider a cool desk lamp if the room is still too dark. An extra light that’s not too bright comes in clutch when one roommate needs to stay up late or wake up early.
Curtains can make or break a dorm room. Invest in a curtain rod and find someone who knows how to install it (like that cute guy down the hall), or do what lots of people do and just tack the curtain to the wall above the window. Curtains block out light so you’re not bothered by outside lights or the rising sun when you’re trying to sleep in. They also create a more homey feel on those nights when you just wish you were hanging with mom and dad.
5. Photo display
Displaying all of your favorite photos is a great way to personalize your dorm. Arrange photos on a string (perhaps the string lights) with colored clothes pins, on the wall in the shape of a heart (or any shape you want) or randomly around your desk. Seeing pictures from back home serve as great conversation starters for new friends you invite over. Plus, you can totally hang up a picture of your dog that you miss like crazy.
Plants liven up any dorm room. Get creative with the pots you choose and put them wherever you want. Check out which plants need more sun so you know what to buy (and so you won’t feel bad when one dies). Name them, talk to them, read them books and don’t forget to water them.
Whiteboards are out, and chalkboards are in. Put one outside your door so people can leave you messages (it’s a great way to meet people in your hall) or inside so you can make notes or reminders about that upcoming exam you haven’t been studying for. Get different colored chalk and let your artsy friend draw cute stuff on it. There’s no way you’ll regret it.
Despite having carpet or tile, a rug automatically relieves you of walking on the gross dorm floor. Rugs are also nice to put by your bed so you have something soft to step on when getting up in the morning. Avoid white if you can since it’s bound to get dirty faster.
The size of dorm rooms varies, so you might not have room for a chair for every one of your friends (because you obvi have a lot of friends). Bean bag chairs feel great when you sit on them, and you can put them just about anywhere. You could also try one of those plush fold-up chairs or a rolling chair for your desk. Sitting on something other than your bed might feel good every now and then.
If you have a lofted bed, then this doesn’t really apply to you. But if you’re closer to the ground, a unique nightstand can add that organized but chic Pinterest effect to your room. Look for pieces that are out of the ordinary and match the theme you’re going for. Use it for that cute lamp, little succulent or that bottle of water you need before bed for easy access.