Decorating Ideas for the Dorm: How to Make Your New Home Beautiful and Functional

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Create a dorm room to be proud of with inviting places to study and sleep.

Decorating your dorm room is a fun way to start the school year off and essential to making yourself feel at home in your new surroundings. Dorm decor does not have to be expensive. Consider what items you already own and base your new selections around key pieces. Inexpensive finds at second-hand stores, such as wooden bookends painted to match your theme, are a way to stretch your decorating dollar further. Express yourself through stencils, monograms, and painted wooden letters to spell out your name or something relevant to you, such as STUDY, SLEEP, SMILE.

Focusing on the Bed

Your bed will probably be the largest item in your room and take up the most space. Make sure it gives the room the feeling you want with your theme colors in the bedding. Consider layers of bedding that incorporate different patterns and can be pulled back or done up to give different looks. Headboards are rare in dorms, so make your own with a pile of pillows. Include pillows with solid colors, various patterns, and multiple sizes, but keep them in your color scheme. Monograms and sayings stitched on the fabric are another way to express yourself.

In the bed area pictured here, an inexpensive Japanese paper lantern provides lighting for reading at night and continues the color scheme. Remeber your bed is not just a place to read and sleep but will provide seating for your guests. Check what the painting rules are for your walls, and if you cannot use paint, try wallpaper cutouts that easily peel on and off the wall to avoid any damage.

The Desk: Making an Attractive Study Zone

College students spend just about as much time at their desks as they do in their beds. Endless hours of studying require a comfortable and organized desk area and something that is inspiring to the eye. Aim for keeping it neat and using storage systems to control the chaos. Multicolored boxes can hold notebooks and texts by subject. Cork boards can be made more attractive when covered with fabric and woven with ribbon to tuck in letters from home and pin-up daily assignments. Book covers can allow your books to all be coordinating while protecting the covers at the same time. In the pictures here, some inexpensive fringe has been used to add life to the shelf. Another idea would be to hang a pleated mini drape from the shelf that can be shut to close off the books when not in use. Remember to give your desk chair a lift with a stylish cushion or a back cover in colors that coordinate with your bed linens.

Pulling It All Together with Accessories

Closet hangings and toiletries can help complete the look. A simple tension rod strung with coordinating material is a clean way to tie together your room and hide unmentionables. Baskets with different colored liners can help you sort your hair products from your makeup or even your socks. Towels that have patterns and monograms make them especially hard to wander off into someone else’s room. Colorful throw rugs cheer up the industrial grade carpeting and feel good on tired feet that have been jogging from one class to another all day.

Pull out a few ideas from this article and the pictures and incorporate your own ideas to create a unique and lively home at the dorm.