1 - Rearrange the Space
First, begin by assessing the space and deciding the best layout for your new room. This may require trying several different configurations, but you'll be surprised how just moving a piece of furniture from one side of the room to the other can make a huge difference in how large the room may appear. If the room allows, you can try putting the desks back-to-back or create an in-between space for chairs and storage bins.
2 - Loft or Raise the Beds
One of the biggest obstacles you'll have when decorating your dorm room is where to put all of your stuff. By raising the beds or lofting them, if your dorm allows, it will give you adequate space underneath to store large bins and extra shoe racks. This is a great place to store extra linens, clothing, and shoes that you may not need right away. To conceal it all, purchase or make an extra long bed skirt.
3 - Coordinate Colors and Fabrics with Roommate
While matching bed sets can look great, there are also ways of coordinating different patterns and sales without compromising a cohesive look. If possible, talk with your roommate and discuss what colors and designs before you move in. For example, one may like pink and one may like grey; You can coordinate both through comforters, pillows, and throws. It still gives each of you the opportunity to savor your own individuality, but it all works together.
4 - Dress Up Your Walls
Add personality and color to bare, and sometimes concrete, walls with artwork or wall hangings. It will help liven up your space and make it feel more like home especially if you get creative and make something yourself. Bring your favorite sayings to life with adhesive wall art. It's easy to put up and easy to remove.
5 - Light Up the Room
Of course your dorm room will already have lighting, but we're not talking about those beautiful fluorescent lights; we're talking about mood lighting. You know, the lamps and lights that make your space feel and look more like home instead of an office space. Try adding Christmas lights around your artwork or hanging them around your bed. Tuck a cute little lamp inside a bookshelf, place it on nightstand, or stand it next to your bed.
6 - Warm Up Your Floors
Many dorm rooms have concrete floors, which can be cold to look at and can be just as cold during winter months. These spaces also present a challenge with size and dimensions. So we suggest using a carpet remnant that you can cut to size. Carpet remnants are also great because they are inexpensive and can be thrown out at the end of the school year. Stay with neutral colors so they won't clash with comforters, throws, and slightly darker colors. This way they'll disguise little dorm room mishaps that will happen throughout the year.
7 - Create a Cozy Study Space
If you're like the rest of us and studying is not your favorite thing to do, creating an adequate space to work and a cozy place to create can make for an effective study experience. Keep your workspace clean and organized by using desk organizers and drawers to keep the clutter at bay. Adding a chic, comfy desk chair doesn't hurt either.
8 - Minimize Clutter
Most dorm rooms are small anyway you slice it, but after adding a few people, it can get a bit crowded in your space. Find ways to utilize multifunctional items that can serve as sitting spaces for guests and storage for your things; footstools with inside storage and wall organizers to hide clutter while looking fashionable at the same time are a few options. When hanging wall organizers, account for weight and make sure you purchase the correct command strips to accommodate.
9 - Secure Your Valuables
Bringing lots of valuables off to college is not something we recommend, however, there are special jewelry and keepsake items that you'll want to secure. Some dorms offer leasing options to have safes placed in your room. Another option is to purchase a small safe to bring with you that will fit in your closet or under the bed.
10 - Bring Things From Home
Moving away can be an exciting time in your life, but there are times you may get a little homesick. Bringing special items from home like items from your childhood bedroom, family pictures, and memorabilia can help to make the transition somewhat easier. Now, anytime you're feeling homesick, you'll have little pieces of home that'll make your new space feel like home sweet home!
While we can't provide everything for dorm rooms, we offer several carpet remnants and small safes that can be part of your "dorm room essentials" list. Let us know if we can help you in any way!
**Special thanks to Vickye Storey for sharing several of her amazing dorm room designs and pictures.