It’s September – you know what that means! It’s time for bright-eyed freshmen and transfer students to dust off their backpacks, grab their textbooks, and load up the car with boxes packed full of clothes and dorm stuff. Here are some basic dorm decor ideas and room DIYs so that you can make the most out of your space on a college-friendly budget!
If you’re like a lot of other fresh-faced college students, you might not know how to deck out your new personal space. myWebRoom pulled together a few items from your dorm checklist to give you a good starting place. Be sure to double check with your dorm building’s rules before you start drilling any holes!
I know this won’t come as a shocker, but you don’t get much space to work with in a dorm. Your first college dorm is likely to be small – you have to make the most of your space. Buy dual-purpose items: ottomans with hidden storage, cushions that transform your bed into a day couch, pin-boards with hooks and multiple surfaces. If you’re designing your room from scratch, you’ll find amazing tips on how to transform your small space here!
Start with a simple and minimal color palette – you’ll give yourself the freedom to expand and develop your dorm decor as your college style evolves. A great place to start is by picking out your dorm bedding. Your bed will be the focal point in your room and everything else should compliment your sheets and things.
Minimalist DIY Room
Pair this geometric duvet set with an ergonomic chair and elegant wall shelf. The clean lines and monochromatic color scheme give you the freedom to play with bright pops of color later on. Total cost of this dorm room design tops out at $105.97. Play around with the room and hack the rest of your college decor by cobbling together some nifty room DIYs!
I love this dual-action blackboard/corkboard bulletin board. If you want to make one for yourself, there are two detailed tutorials to help you. The video above has some amazing instructions on how to make your own version. You also have this handy tutorial for a different DIY Bulletin Board where you can substitute cork board for burlap, poster board, or a light fabric!
$5.99 Sponge Paintbrush (set of 25)
Depending on your picture frame, this project comes out to somewhere between $23.75 to $39.74.
Spruce up your bare walls with memories of your friends and family! This ten minute Clotheslines Picture Holder tutorial is an easy way to personalize your dorm room. Not only can you hang up photos of your family, you’ll have a convenient place to stick up memos and reminders for that upcoming essay!
Total comes out to $8.27 with some leftover twine and pushpins for the rest of the year.
Playing with that same idea is this fun DIY for string lights. Not only will you illuminate your love for friends and family, but you’ll create a warm and cozy glow for your dorm room.
Total comes out to $14.27 and an elegant showpiece for your dorm room.
Total: $12.99 with plenty of chalkboard paints and foam brushes left before you head to class in search of chalk.
Dorm Decor Pro Tip 2: Use Natural Light with Wall Decor
Most college rooms come with as assigned bed, desk, and dresser per student. They’re great for your budget, but the bulky dorm furniture doesn’t leave much floor space to work with. Luckily, you have a blank canvas of wall space to work with. By keeping the floor clear and drawing the eye upward, you’ll create the illusion of more space.
This tip comes with a danger – a bright or loud color combination with wall decor can make your room look cluttered and busy. You can risk drawing attention to small size of your college dorm. Utilize your space wisely by choosing muted blue- and earth-tones. They create natural illusions of lightness that will complement your use of wall space. Our tip? Work with a wanderlust dorm room design.
Wanderlust DIY Room
The colors of this room are soft and muted, but the idea is grand and will make your room expand beyond your dorm’s walls. This globetrotter comforter pairs nicely with an easy DIY weekly planner and DIY map letters. Total cost of this dorm design comes out to $90.39. Spruce up the rest of your walls with these affordable, easy DIY projects.
If this is your first time away from home, you’ll want to gather a photo collage of your friends and family. myWebRoom loves this multi-panel photo frame from Modcloth, but you can easily make a DIY version that also doubles as a weekly planner for your busy student life!
Total comes out to $22.97 for an easy to clean, customizable weekly planner.
We love the wanderlust cravings that these wall decor letters inspire, but you can easily customize a set of your own. You can spell out your name or show off your school pride. You might want to arm yourself with some old newspapers – this tutorial can get messy!
Total comes out to $17.42 for some worldly decor and some sticky fingers.
Here’s a handy tip for brightening your dorm room some more – hang a lightweight curtain or a banner over your window. This will draw attention to natural light and make your college room seem bigger. We love this banner celebrating your academic achievements. You can easily customize your own.
Total comes out to $11.98 for a banner with a constantly evolving message.
Another method of brightening your room is by making your own curtains! Be sure to give yourself plenty of floor space to braid together this simple Macrame Curtain DIY!
It’s a whopping total of $16.47 and a couple of hours for a dreamy curtain that brightens up your college dorm.
So far, I’ve played it safe with soft, muted colors. Sometimes, you want to go big or go home! Since your college dorm is already your home, you have nothing to lose! There’s only one piece of advice – pick a bold color and stick with it. Clashing colors will just make your dorm room look cluttered and snugger than a bug in a rug.
Bright and Colorful DIY Room
By picking a few bold and bright colors, you can create a cohesive room that shows off your exuberant personality. This chevron comforter pairs well with homemade details like this bohemian pinboard, easy washing tape wall decor, and colorful bean bag. Total cost of this dorm design inspiration board comes out to $98.93, though these dorm DIYs will make it look like you spent a lot more!
You can create a piece of wall art that doubles as a nifty bulletin board. The best part about this DIY tutorial is that you can customize it to your desired color scheme.
Total comes out to $20.06 before you head out and buy some interesting pushpins.
I love the idea of these floating whiteboards, but it can be a hassle to track down a set of dry erase markers. You can make this alternative set of bulletin boards where you can pin everything from photos, memos, and ticket stubs from last night’s awesome show.
Total comes out to $16.98 for a set of three memo boards in the color of your choice.
After a while, your dorm’s harsh overhead light is going to drive you mad. Flip that switch off and illuminate your room with string lights. They’ll cast a softer light and are perfect for customizing your room! This easy DIY brings a touch of the outdoor into your room.
Total comes out to $21.59 for a colorful garland of flowers that’ll draw the eye upwards.
12. DIY Room Decor
Most college rooms don’t let you paint your walls, but don’t let that stop you from making a colorful splash with your dorm decor. Washi tape is the college student’s’ best friend – it comes in many colors, is cheap, and is low tack so it’s easy to remove once the school year ends. Here’s a DIY room decor idea that’ll work great with your room.
Total with just the one item comes out to $7.99! This is the easiest DIY project in this post, put you’ll definitely want to team up with your new Roommate.
13. DIY Bean Bag
I may have mentioned this once or twice – definitely twice – but you don’t get a lot of room to work with in a college dorm room. You can’t overload your room with extra seats, otherwise you’ll get a cluttered and small space. This DIY bean bag is the best solution for this! You can make it as flat or stuffed as you want. When you’re not using it, you can just roll it under your bed to save space!
Total is $53.97, but you can find long scraps of playful fabrics for as low as $2 in the Goodwill fabric bins!
For more DIY dorm room ideas, check out Dormify!
Minimalist Dorm Room
Wanderlust Dorm Room
Bright and Colorful Dorm Room