How Do You Turn Your Dorm Room into Your Own Personal Space

Anxious about heading off to college and living away from home for the first time ever? We’re going to show you how to turn your dorm room into your own personal space with these decorating tips.

Dorm Room Decor

We’ll covering the benefits of dorm room decorating, what to do and what to avoid, and show you some benchmarks when it comes to proper decorations and making use of space.

Why Decorating Your Dorm Room Is Important

Your dorm is basically your first home away from home. And with the stress that sometimes surrounds one’s academic studies, it’s important to have a space where you feel comfortable.

Decorating your dorm room can bring so much value and happiness on different levels. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you need to give your dorm room that unique touch.

Why Decorating Your Dorm Room Is Important
Image from Sara Bates

1. It showcases your personality

While you may not physically have ownership of your dorm room, you may emotionally own it by personalizing it.

Chances are you don’t want to return home each day to a drab, generic room. Decorating your space enables you to express your individuality. One fantastic approach to truly “mark” your room with your initials is to practically hang them with a creative wall monogram.

2. You create a comfortable space

Decorations provide a purpose other than to fill empty space. They generate an atmosphere that might range from whimsical to peaceful and calming. Give your space a sense of personality with the correct decor by adding LED ambient lights or aromatherapy diffusers.

Consider the fact that you’ll be spending quite some time inside the dorm room. So choose furnishings that will keep you warm and snug while you nestle in to compose a paper or catch up on sleep before a big test.

3. You’re likely to get more visitors

Making wonderful friends is one of the most enjoyable aspects of college. Transform your dorm room into a social hub with entertaining decor and cool furnishings.

4. It might cure homesickness

During your first days of college, experiencing some homesickness is totally normal. Leave nothing behind. Decorate your room with personal memorabilia from your bedroom. Such as several photographs of relatives and friends who are surely proud that you decided to pursue higher education.

DOs and DON’Ts of Decorating Your Dorm Room

Pink Decorating Your Dorm Room
Image from @jjdesigngroup

Even if decorating a room is a matter of personal taste, there are a few things that are recommended. And others which, when put in application, might be terrible ideas.

Do: Invest in affordable bedding items

In a dorm room, the bed serves as a temporary desk, couch, sleeping surface, and even dining table. Needless to say, by the end of the year, it will be covered in stains and smudges.

That is why we recommend purchasing a budget-friendly bedding set that comes with everything from pillowcases to mattress protector.

An all-in-one set is less expensive than purchasing each item individually, and it is already color coordinated. There are numerous online retailers that sell super-cute bedding sets for under $50.

Maintain this price threshold and you won’t be as distraught as you might be if a greasy pizza piece falls directly on your sheets.

Don’t: Rush the process

There are plenty of things to consider when you’re decorating your dorm room, so it’s always best to wait and see what the layout of the room is before you make any purchases. Whatever you see and think is worth buying can definitely wait a couple of weeks until you can be absolutely sure you need it.

To be honest, you won’t know exactly what kind of storage and other little goods you’ll need until you’ve spent a few weeks at your dorm. Therefore, bring your essentials, but reserve judgment on the non-essentials. You’re likely to wind yourself purchasing additional goods and discarding others, which is perfectly acceptable.

Do: Check whatever furniture the room has

The majority of dorm rooms include a dresser, a desk, a bed, and a tiny closet. Occasionally, furnishings can be tucked beneath your bed if desired.

This is a significant space saver, but keep in mind that if it’s going beneath your bed, you’re unlikely to have all the attractive décor on your dresser. In short, if the school provides you with something, there is no reason for you to bring it as well.

Don’t: Buy too much storage items

While dorm room layouts vary from one college to another, one thing is constant: there is never enough storage. That’s why it is vital to invest in organizing items for your desk area, closet, and even the space beneath your bed. While there are stores dedicated to organization, we recommend going with the low-cost option.

Big box retailers sell all of the essential storage you’ll ever need at rock-bottom pricing. We’re also big admirers of the storage options available in Target’s Dollar Spot department, though selection varies by location. Additionally, if you have an IKEA store nearby, it is a haven for sleek, sophisticated, and insanely affordable organization products.

Do: Invest in a good desk chair and lamp

The majority of dorm rooms will offer you a conventional wooden desk, lamp, and chair, however the chairs will be unpleasant and cumbersome, similar to those seen in an elementary school library.

Instead of breaking your back sitting on those,  treat yourself to a nice desk chair and pair it with a good lamp, as you will require them for a proper studying setup.

Don’t: Bring all your clothes

Storage in dorm rooms is extremely limited so make sure you don’t bring all your clothes because you won’t have any room to place them anyway. Dorm rooms tend to get cluttered anyway, so it’s always best to have clothes suitable for the season and then take those back home and bring new ones as you need to switch.

Do: Opt for cheaper furniture

Your dorm room furniture will be subjected to abuse, so it’s usually advisable to opt for inexpensive or secondhand pieces. Plus, when you move out of your dorm, you’re not going to want to pack up all that furniture and bring it home; you’re going to want to either give it away to future freshmen or sell it for cheap at a garage sale.

Don’t: Over-decorate your walls

While it’s a wonderful idea to have some wall art and decorations that will make your new bedroom look homier, you should use caution and avoid going overboard.

If you pile too much stuff on your walls, you’ll wind up making your area feel smaller and cluttered. Additionally, avoid the clichéd posters that you see every other freshman hanging on their walls.

Dorm Room Decor Essentials

While decorating your dorm room is a matter of personal taste, there are a few item ideas that we’d like to suggest because several students across the world have deemed these products as dorm room essentials.

Fairy string lights

Dorm room Fairy string lights

Fairy string lights can bring that coziness into your new home away from home. String lights are used in different ways when it comes to dorm room decor. Some prefer hanging them on the wall, others prefer using them as support for hanging Polaroids. You can also add them in an empty mason jar for a beautiful decor piece.

Throw pillows

Throw pillows for dorm room

Throw pillows are more than just a decorative piece: they are also comfortable to sit on when you’re in bed studying for an exam, you can cuddle with them when you’re watching Netflix on your laptop, and they’re also very fun to look at.

Memo boards

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

A memo board in a dorm room makes a lot of sense because it is such a versatile product, it can be used for both practical and decorative purposes. For instance, you can use it as support to hang your photos or string lights, but you can also use it for cue cards and showcasing notes when studying for exams.

Drawer organizers

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

Can you really imagine life in college without a drawer for all your pins, pens, clips, elastic bands, and whatever else is needed for taking notes during a complete study session? With drawer organizers, you can actually have everything in place and won’t have to spend 10 minutes searching for a pink marker.

Desk organizers

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

Desk organizers are meant to be placed on top of the desk and they will keep all your writing tools nearby so you can literally reach for a dual-point red marker in a matter of seconds. Plus, they are also available in a bunch of different designs to choose from.

Leaning mirror

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

You want a full-body mirror to check your outfit when you’re heading for class or that raging party everyone’s been talking about the past week. A leaning mirror is available in a lot of different designs, and it can surely add more personality to the room, while making it look bigger.

Tips for Making Your Dorm Room Feel like Home

Bring in plants

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

There are a lot of scientifically proven benefits to including plants as part of room decor, so maybe a couple of small potted plants can do wonders for your dorm room, even if it’s from a psychological point of view. You can buy succulents if you don’t want pretentious plants that require constant care.

Consider loft beds

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

Unlike bunk beds, which are beds placed on top of each other, loft beds have available space underneath them which you can use to create a study area, by placing a desk and some storage shelves underneath.

Add some curtains

Drom room bed with a lot of space for storage

If you don’t have the best room view or if you ever want to get some rest and sleep in, curtains will be a wonderful addition. The variety of colors and patterns allow you to personalize your room, and if you opt for blackout curtains, you get to control the amount of light that gets inside the room at any time of the day.

Create a chill-out area

Create a chill-out area

Once you start making friends, they’ll most likely want to come over for a chat or maybe a game of rummy. In any case, if the space allows it, create a small lounging area with some chairs and a table, maybe with some bean bags and a small TV.

Dorm Room Ideas for Guys

Convenient Storage

Convenient Storage
Image from Pinterest.

When you’re decorating your dorm room, it’s always important to make the best out of every single storage solution you can find. In this example, we can even disregard the fact that this is a setup for a boy’s bedroom and focus on the under-the-bed storage which includes a mini bridge and plenty of storage boxes. These are really practical when it comes to saving floor space.

Black and Red Bedroom

Black and Red Bedroom
Image from Pinterest

Contrary to popular belief, red isn’t just a feminine color, and here you have a perfect example of how well it can blend in a masculine bedroom when paired with other tones that give it a darker appearance.

We love the choice of wall art and canvases in shades of red, black, and gray. Since the bed is elevated to that level, the wall space next to and above the bed couldn’t be used for shelving anyway, so opting for wall art is definitely the right choice.

Dorm Room Ideas for Girls

Zen Dorm Room Setup

Zen Dorm Room Setup
Image from Pinterest.

You know how you see a really cool dorm room setup and you’re just thinking “I want that too”? This is the case with this particular decor setup, giving off a calm and rather Bohemian vibe. The neutral and natural colors come together perfectly; the nature-inspired wall art has a very calming effect.

Desk space is properly used, and space is enhanced using storage solutions that don’t waste any potential room for placement items.

Pink and White Dorm Room Setup

Pink and White Dorm Room Setup
Image from Pinterest

This is another setup that we absolutely fell in love with. Aside from the color combo which is absolutely dreamy because the colors have such a calming effect, there is so much more to this setup than that.

First of all, the desk is properly used for both storage and some decorative items, the chair seems to have comfortable cushioning (although it lacks proper back support), and the memo board holds both pictures, postcards, and important info for a student.

Dorm Room Storage Ideas

Rainbow Room

Rainbow Room Dorm

As we’ve mentioned time and time again, making good use of every bit of storage space is important. Here, you can see how a loft bed leaves plenty of space for placing a desk underneath, but the other side is also used as a storage solution because of the shelves that you can have storage boxes placed on.

Under-the-Bed Storage

Dorm Room Under-the-Bed Storage
Image from Pinterest.

Having your bed placed on top of storage is an excellent idea because it helps make use of all that floor room that would otherwise be half waster. Here, you can see multiple drawers and storage bins being used to conceal clutter, while the bed is still at a comfortable height for students to reach without putting in too much effort.


What should I put on my dorm walls?

You can use a lot of things to decorate your dorm walls. From memo boards to fairy string lights, posters, and even the wall art of your choice.

Should I decorate dorm?

Yes. This helps you have all the items you need at hand to study properly. But it will also take away some of that homesickness and make you feel like you belong there.

How can I decorate my dorm on a budget?

You really need to know what items you should spend more money on and where you can save money. For a dorm room, it’s important to save money with everything. Except your desk chair (which should be of high quality because we’re talking about correct sitting posture). Look for thrifty items, buy storage from cheap stores, etc.

Final Words on Decorating Your Dorm Room

Plan to devote a few hours of your move-in day on decorating your dorm room. Determine whether your dorm is equipped with an elevator, which will make transporting your belongings easier. Bring additional removable hooks and stuff for hanging.

You may like to rearrange photographs or posters once you’ve settled in. Pinterest is an excellent tool for compiling a board of dorm room ideas. Be on the lookout for back-to-school bargains during the summer.

Numerous huge businesses have a diverse selection of bedding and furnishings.