How To Decorate Your Dorm

Decorating your dorm is one of the most fun things about starting a new year at college. You have a fresh chance to establish the feel for the year ahead and set up some sweet digs that show off your design skills. Take a simple approach to dorm decorating this year. If you like it and it suits your needs, it's probably a good choice. Even if you share a dorm with roomies, your individual space can still be your personal retreat; or combine ideas for an even bigger dorm-design statement.

Choose Your Style

Everyone has a personal style, but, even if you know yours, you can enjoy letting it evolve each year. Are you a minimalist at heart? If so, your happy place probably has clean lines, neutral colors with a bold accent hue and a few, substantial pieces selected for quality and longevity. Or, do you want an expressive home? In that case, your decorating touch is bolder, brighter, more patterned, ornamented and carefully lit. In between, you might be into boho chic, preppy and classic, or colorful and eclectic.

Make Your Bed

The easiest way to establish your dorm's look is with bedding. Especially in a smaller space, you'll find that the bed and the desk take up most of the room--so focus your design energy here. A signature duvet pattern can create a beautiful focal point. Layers of blankets, folded to show off textures and colors, gives you another look. Play with the number of pillows you prefer or select a faux headboard in a gorgeous design. A twin bed can make a bigger impact than you might have imagined.

Select Your Lighting

Your dorm might come with overhead lighting, but it isn't always your first choice. If you have enough space for a floor lamp by your bed, think about whether you want light pointing upward and diffusing from the ceiling or cascading down from a shade. Can you find a bedside lamp to match a desk lamp or do you want complementary, but different lights? String lights and other novelty lighting can add bursts of calm or energy to a room, too.


Find Your Desk

Some dorms have the desks built into the rooms. In this case, you have a blank canvas to personalize with decorations of your choice. Look for beautiful bulletin boards to leave notes for your roomie or hang pictures of friends. Accessories, like lamps, pen cups, mouse pads and even mirrors, can make the space yours for focusing. If you need to select desk furniture, make sure you'll have the number of drawers you want and that the chair is comfortable and healthy for your spine when you have long nights of studying.

Adorn Your Walls

Hanging stuff on your walls is another super-easy way to personalize your decorating. You can keep it simple with big tapestries that have rich, relaxing images or patterns. To make a small space feel bigger, hang mirrors. Don't forget to make room for a couple of your favorite prints or posters, too.

Your walls can also be a source of storage when closets are full and you're out of room for more dressers. Simple stuff like key holders by doors or charging stations that live near plugs can be major space savers. Think about hanging shelves and lining them with books or baskets of beauty items or extra t-shirts. You'll stay organized and stylish.


Pick A Rug

The rug can really tie the room together. If you've got a few different design loves or you and your roommate need to meet in the middle on aesthetics, the rug can be the place that marries the elements. When you have a lot of color or texture, your rug might be neutral for a comfortable contrast. Same goes for minimalist rooms; the rug can reset everything. Try a bright color or play it safe with color and experiment with intricate patterns. Rugs are an easy switch, so consider using them to make an update when you want to try something new.


Set The Vibe

Don't forget decorating can extend beyond just the visual elements. Set the ambiance for your dorm with sound and scent, too. A wireless speaker in the right spot can make the whole room feel rich and cozy with music in the mornings or after you study. Flowers, incense and sprays change the mood literally instantly, so consider a few vases or bowls. These small design touches can make a dorm feel like home away from home--or, after awhile, just home.

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