Home Improvement

How to Decorate a Dorm Like Home

To some people, an empty dorm room looks depressing and lifeless. But think of it as an opportunity to transform the space and make it your own. When you have the right items, you can make the room look more like home and less like a prison cell.

Getting Ready for College

College is a great time to explore your independence, and what better way to do that by creating a dorm room that is uniquely yours? And if you’re taking out student loans, some of your other expenses will be taken care of, leaving other funds leftover for decorating your room. The good news is that you don’t always need a parent to take out loans. Some lenders let you take out private student loans without a cosigner, giving you more freedom. Before you start your back to school shopping, take a look at your school’s website and see what is prohibited. Look at the dimensions of your room and see what furniture they provide. There might not be space to bring your favorite desk chair, a bookcase, and a bean bag.


If you don’t do anything else to your dorm, change the lighting. There’s usually not very much natural light, and many have harsh fluorescent bulbs, making the space less inviting. If you’re allowed to, bring some string lights. Your school might have restrictions, such as only using LED lights, so make sure you check before buying any. Wire lights can be hard to place because there aren’t always a lot of places to wrap them. But you could put several in a large canning jar for a cute lamp. You might want to look for globe string lights. Two strands will usually be enough for the room. Some students like to string them back and forth across the whole room, anchoring them in the ceiling. That’ll give you soft, warm light from all directions.

Wall Décor

You’ll probably want something to cover those cinderblock walls, and selectively picking pieces will help you create a cohesive look. Posters are tempting but look for ones that don’t have too many dark colors since light is often at a premium. Photos of friends, family, and even pets make fun decorations for your walls. Some sites offer square prints that you can pull straight from your social media accounts. These look great arranged as a grid, in frames, or hung with mini clothespins on a bit of yarn or string. You can also look for free artistic images online.

Another option for your room is tapestries. You can get hangings sold as tapestries, but you can also use fun beach blankets, tablecloths, or even sarongs. If you go for a statement tapestry, make it the standout decoration by using neutral bedding and minimal decorations. With so many options, it’s tempting to go overboard. Having every inch of wall space covered in prints, photos, and posters is fun, but having a minimalistic approach can give your room a sophisticated look. Plus, most dorms aren’t that big, and you’ll most likely have a roommate to coordinate with as well.

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