White walls, wooden furniture, and linoleum tiles. The standard dorm rooms assigned to incoming freshmen are a far cry from stylish or inviting. If you have yet to visit a residence hall in person, you’ll learn on move-in day that dorm buildings are typically bland and outdated. Fortunately, the rooms are designed in a way that is often easy to manipulate.
Small in size, your dorm room will likely come equipped with only a few basics, which allows you the space you need to get creative. How will you fill up, decorate, and transform your dorm from something sterile and uniform into a new room that’s warm and unique?
Whether you have a few days or a few months to prepare for move-in, we’ve laid out the steps to help guide you through the process of designing and decorating a dorm that feels like home. Download the graphic here for easy printing, or continue reading and share the image below!
How to Decorate Your New Dorm
The kick-off to freshman year of college offers a clean slate in many respects: new friends, no grades, the ability to explore new interests, and new place to call home. Starting from square one can be super exciting! It can also leave you feeling a little bewildered wondering where to begin. With a few months before move-in, now is the time to start dreaming and scheming about how you want to design your dorm room.
1. Choose Your Colors & Theme
Start with the basics! When browsing Pinterest for inspiration, what colors are you drawn to? Which styles and themes do you like best?
- Pick 2 primary colors
- Pick 1 or 2 accent colors
- Pay attention to patterns (floral, geometric, stripes/plaid)
- Choose an overall theme (bright/dark, chic, boho)
Find out what speaks to you. That way, when you start shopping, you’ll know where to look!
2. Create a Packing List
If you have your dorm room assignment already, check out your school’s website to see what furniture will be supplied to you. Then get to planning!
(P.S. Download our free college packing list here. With a list in place, you can easily figure out what you’ll need to shop for!
3. Compare Necessities with Roomies
Speaking of shopping… before you make any big ticket purchases, sync up with your roommate or suitemates!
Items like mini fridges and shower curtains should be divvyed up between you so that no one person is left fronting the cost.
4. Start with Textiles
When designing your dream dorm, begin by selecting your textiles. These are usually the first thing the eyes are drawn to when entering a space. Design with the following in mind:
- Your bed will act as the focal point of the room
- Warm up the space with curtains and an area rug
- Mix and match your colors and patterns
- When in doubt, buy in paks (Value Paks, that is!)
5. Establish a System of Organization
It’s not always easy to maximize space in a dorm room. Some residence halls offer a wardrobe or chest of drawers, but you’ll have to get creative for the rest. Make sure you have a place to store: your clothes, shoes, shower supplies, textbooks, snacks, cleaning supplies, and appliances
6. Decorate with Accents
Now comes the fun stuff! What decorations do you need to personalize your space? Start by deciding what will go on your walls. It could be:
- Wall decals
- Cork boards
- Photos of friends and family
Then add to the overall look and feel with pillows and seating, lighting, fun accessories, and DIY decorations. Once you have your necessities in place, your accents will really transform the space, making what was once a bland dorm your new “home away from home!”
Achieve your #RoomGoals with dorm room essentials and accessories you won’t want to leave home without! Mix and match from OCM’s selection of bedding, organizers, décor, and more for college gear guaranteed ‘til graduation.
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