Dorm Decorating: Do’s and Don’ts

This is a question I’ve actually gotten a lot recently, “How do I decorate my dorm without making it too busy?”, “How do I decorate such a small space?”, or “How do I make my dorm feel homey without breaking the bank?”. These are all really good questions and frankly I don’t have all of the answers but what I do have is experience! That experience has given me tips and tricks to help make your dorm room feel cute and cozy without making it feel like an episode of Hoarders. Here’s my best tips:

Do decide on a color scheme.

I think one thing that helps make a small space look aesthetic and nice is a colored scheme. If you have random colors everywhere it’s going to feel busy and random but a color scheme helps the room flow and coordinate well. I usually pick up to 3 colors that I want to use. My last room was blush, navy, and white. If you’re feeling stuck on colors look at Pinterest for some ideas!

Don’t buy everything you think would be cute in your room.

I think we can get overwhelmed by the excitement of new things and freshly stocked store displays that we tend to go a little overboard. I say maybe pick like 3-4 decor items you like. You don’t necessarily have a ton of wall room to hang or much on your desk either so having at maximum 4 decor items is pretty solid. Still cute but again, not an episode of Hoarders. You can pick between signs, tapestries, mirrors, and quotes! Target, Amazon, and Walmart have a lot of great cute and cheaper decor items perfect for dorms!

Do make the most of practical items.

I’m talking about storage bins, hampers, lights, and organizational items. I think sometimes we think practical things like this need to be boring but they don’t. Especially considering a lot of stores sell super cute patterns or colors on these items! So look for cuter forms of these practical items to use as decoration as well as decor! For example, I had a cute gray hamper with a mondala sign on it that I still use to this day! Or for my storage bins I used pink ones with a floral pattern on it! For lights, I buy some fairy lights which give a fun ambiance to the room!

Don’t use damaging hooks!

This is huge when it comes to decorating a room, especially one that you will have to pay for damage later on! I love Command hooks because they usually leave NO trace of it’s existence when you’re done! But, you have to pull them off slowly, that’s key.

Do buy accent items.

I think sometimes people scare away from bigger purchases like rugs, decor pillows, and flowers. I know when I first started shopping for college I scoffed at the thought of investing in a rug but luckily my roommate insisted! If we hadn’t had that rug I think our room would have been much more dull, cold, and not very cozy. A rug can really tie everything together! Decor pillows are one of my favorite ways to decorate without it taking up a ton of space! Get like 2 that you love and throw them on there! I also loved decorating with flowers whether they were real or fake because it brings such a homey feel to the place!

Don’t buy everything without checking measurements or without seeing the room.

So, I think a lot of people get excited for buying this kind of stuff but then realize some of the stuff they bought doesn’t fit in the space because they didn’t measure or didn’t even see the dorm beforehand. Doing measurements is key! Make sure what you’re buying is going to fit and be used! Prevents a lot of chaos later on!

I hope this was helpful for your first time decorating a small space!! Remember you can move things around as time goes on and switch things out over time to still be able to use decor you love without overwhelming your entire room with it!


Emily Elizabeth

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