Written by Alexa Portigal
Although dorm life can feel like a big downgrade from our rooms at home, there are many ways to recreate that comfort in our small dorm rooms.
Storage bins, especially stackable ones, are not only a great way to store things, but also compact enough to conveniently fit under your bed or in tight corners. The variety is endless, providing storage options for shoes, clothes, and virtually anything else you have in your room. I personally chose white stackable bins for my room, as they fit well under my bed and provide storage for my cleaning supplies and snacks. Some stores also carry acrylic storage options that are great for storing makeup and products.
A great way to maximize space in a small room is by hanging up some of your belongings, and Command products do the job flawlessly. Command hooks are perfect for dorm rooms because they are temporary so you don’t have to worry about drilling holes or possibly damaging your room. If hooks aren’t enough, Command also sells other products like Velcro strips to hang up heavier items and acrylic jewelry hangers that attach to the wall.
Although decorations are typically much more personal than functional, you can use them to change the way your room appears. Lighter and brighter colors can create an illusion that your room is larger than it is, while heavier and darker colors can shrink a space. This doesn’t mean that you can’t decorate your room with darker colors, it is just a helpful tip to make your room feel more spacious.
A major dorm room decoration trend is hanging up string lights, and Polaroid photo strings. String lights are very easy to find and come in many shapes, sizes, and colors perfect for personalizing your decoration style and creating a relaxing ambiance in your room.
Hanging up personal photos, such as those of friends and family, is a great way to add a personal touch to your room. There are many ways to hang up photos, and if you don’t want to purchase photo holders, frames, or photo strings, making your own is very easy with tutorials online. I hang my photos using a photo holder from Dormify and a Polaroid photo string on the wall.
Dorm flooring ranges anywhere from carpet to laminate, but most options are not exactly aesthetically pleasing. Picking out a fun patterned rug or a cool-shaped rug, like a faux animal pelt rug, personalizes your room and adds texture. I got my rug from Target.
Artwork such as tapestries, posters, and paintings can provide a nice pop of color to plain dorm walls. Urban Outfitters is a great place to find tapestries, but they are definitely on the more expensive side. Etsy, a website that specializes in handmade works, can be an option if you want something for your room that no one else will have, too. Beyond these stores, you can also find artwork from shops and markets in the Boston area like SoWa Market. I also like to hang up handmade items, whether they’re gifts from a family member or artwork I made myself, to make the room feel more distinctly mine.
If you can fit it in your room, furniture items can make your space feel cozier and provide places to sit and hang when entertaining. Furniture that can fold down is especially useful because you can always store it in a tight space or under your bed. Stools that also provide storage are great for a dorm because they hide and store your items while still working as a functional seat.
Your bed is arguably the most important furniture item in your dorm, so customizing your bedding is also important to create a space that feels like home. Whether you bring bedding from your house or you purchase new bedding, choosing options with fun patterns and colors is a great way to make your bed stand out.
A great invention for your bed that is extremely useful is the arm pillow. Arm pillows are awesome because you can sit in your bed and do homework, or place it on the ground to provide support. I got my arm pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Other small decorations such as whiteboards, bulletin boards, door hooks, and desk accessories can help make your life and your room more organized. By making your schedule publicly visible and easily edited, whiteboards and bulletin boards make it easy to organize your busy schedule. An over-the-door hook provides extra storage without taking up space, while desk accessories like pencil cups, paper holders, and notebook and binder organizers keep your school supplies in check.
At the end of the day, your dorm room is your personal space and feeling comfortable and at-home in it is key. Dorm room decorating should never break the bank and getting crafty can be more fun and cost-saving than purchasing your items at a store. Most importantly, have fun, and don’t create too many fire hazards!