5 Secrets to Decorating a Dorm

Hello again! August is half way over which means one thing: BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON. When I was an incoming college freshman, I was most excited about decorating my dorm room. I spent that summer in awed over dorm room pictures on Pinterest.

Personally, I think it’s important to make your dorm an inviting and welcoming place for you to come home to after classes and work. The dorm acts as our sleeping, studying, eating, social, and Me time space. It can be tricky to decorate your half of an 8 ft by 10 ft room and fulfill all of those spaces. Yet, I have learned it’s possible.

This upcoming school year, I will not be living in a dorm. I actually have my own apartment off campus now. Yay! However, with two years of dorm decorating under my belt, I wanted to share 5 secrets I’ve learned to make your dorm room Pinterest-worthy.

Secrets to Dorm Decorating.jpg

Color Scheme/ Theme

The most important tip I can give about dorm decorating is to have color scheme or theme in mind. For color schemes, I recommend choosing three or less colors and buying pieces with those colors. For my dorm room, I went with a blue, yellow, and grey color scheme that I pulled from my comforter. Since my bed is the focal point of my room, I wanted my decor to compliment it. For example, I bought a yellow throw pillow and DIY a tissue paper tassle to fit my scheme. If colors are not your thing, choose a theme! When it comes to themes, envision what you want the atmosphere to look. Bohomeian? Girly? Relaxing? Bright and loud? Buy your dorm pieces that you feel represent your theme the best. Following a color scheme or theme helps bring a more cohesive look while showing off your personality.

This was my sophomore year dorm!


Set a budget

I hate to break it to you, but you can not afford everything out of the Pottery Barn magazine. It’s heartbreaking; I feel it too. Just because you’re decorating on a college student budget doesn’t mean your dorm can’t look like it’s from a magazine! The first step is to determine a budget. A budget helps you control your spending. After that, start your search for your dorm decor. My favorite stores to shop at are TjMaxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, thrift stores, and Target. These stores have adorable pieces for an affordable price!

Learn the rules

Take a break from your summer vacation and do a quick research of the dos and donts your residence hall has for decorating. I know it doesn’t sound fun, but guess what else isn’t fun? Getting a heavy fine on move out day because you weren’t suppose to use push pins on the wall! Each university has a different set of rules, so make sure you read up on it! For my school, we aren’t allowed to use make holes in the wall or hang items from the ceiling. Yet, your school may say otherwise. Make sure to do your research before moving in!

Proper Tools

Like I mentioned above, each university has their own rules about how to decorate  the dorm. Once you read up on the rules, buy the proper tools needed to transform your dorm! My school didn’t let us make holes in the walls so command strips were my best friends when living in the dorms! Command strips allowed me to hang decorative lights and other lightweight items without making a hole in the wall. The best part is at the end of the year, I just had to carefully remove it and voila! No damage, scuff, or mark left behind. There are command strips that can even hold heavy picture frames! Make sure you are getting the right command strip product for what you are planing on doing!

Super important note: make sure you read the instruction or watch the tutorials on how to properly remove the strips! Lesson learned, if you remove it improperly, it may leave a mark or even peel the paint!

A Piece of Home

Regardless of how close or far you leave home for college, bring a piece of home with you! I promise you will get homesick at least once in college. Bringing something that reminds you of home will help comfort and soothe your homesickness without having to drive or fly back home. For some people, they like to bring their childhood stuff animal or blanket. I actually brought tons of pictures and decorated my space with them. To me, pictures help take me back to a time where I was surround by my friends and family. So it was comforting to look at them on my wall when I was feeling alone at college. Don’t hesitate to bring something that reminds you of home. I promise you won’t regret it.

This was my freshman year dorm! 

I hope you enjoy the 5 secrets I learned on how to decorate a dorm room. Do you have any advice you would like to share? Would you like to see a separate post about my freshman and sophomore year dorm room? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading!

-Kim 🙂


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