4 Ways To Go From Dorm Drab to Fab (Plus, Win $1000!)


We love watching home remodeling and decorating shows, and we’re big on pinning stylish spaces on our Pinterest feed. But even with all the inspiration and know-how, we still need some help making our plain dorm room go from drab to fab.

Transforming your room can be one of the coolest parts of living in the dorm. But did you know that by being yourself and expressing your own, unique style, you could win a $1000 college scholarship? Pick up some decorating tips, then head to the end of this article to see how you could win big with OCM’s Room Goals contest!


Find a Fun Rug

While you may think it’s the bedding that draws everyone into a small space like a dorm room, it’s really the floor! But dorm rooms are notorious for dated linoleum or scratched up tiles. Say no more to cold feet and hideous floors by finding a stylish and practical rug.


Because they are larger in size, they can really help tie in a look or theme. Like the vintage look? Go with a patterned, light colored rug. Need an explosion of color? Go bold with blue, purple, red, and black. Whatever your look, a rug is the perfect highlighting piece for your dorm room.


Incorporate Wall Art

Years of wear and tear can make a dorm room feel run down. And who wants to be reminded by old holes in the wall or tape marks that you’re not the first to live there? No way! Instead, make your room completely yours with wall art that is expressive.

One of the best ways to make wall art stand out is to mix up sizes and styles. Add a large, inspirational message canvas with smaller framed pictures of your friends at the beach. Hang your favorite movie poster with string lights. You can even make wall art functional by adding shelving underneath or using framed mirrors.


Add a Wall Tapestry

Tapestries are coming back big-time this year thanks to the boho look. Hippy styles are totally on trend, which means you’ll want to look out for mandalas and tie-dye in a mix of earthy and vibrant colors.


Placement matters when it comes to tapestries. Our favorite location is across from windows where it will get natural light or serving as a makeshift headboard for the top of your bed. This will draw the eye to your personal space.


Experiment with Removable Wall Paper

Shhh… don’t tell anyone else, but the best, easiest, and cheapest way to completely make over your room is by using removable wall paper. It doesn’t take much time or effort, but by using wall paper on a focal wall (the largest blank space available), you can take a blank canvas and reimagine it completely.

Don’t be afraid to go big with your wallpaper. And play around with color or printed texture matched with your bedding. The best part is that if you don’t like it, it isn’t permanent. When you want a change or the semester ends, you simply remove it and start over again!



Don’t stop with just these four tips! Go for your own look and share it with OCM. One stylish dorm room will win its owner a $1,000 tuition credit and a ton of bragging rights. Want to learn how you can enter? Check out the Room Goals contest to see how you can enter your made-over dorm room here.

Turning Your Dorm Room into Your Home


Being far from home can be intimidating. This is especially true when you’ve moved into a tiny, unfamiliar dorm room with a stranger for a roommate. However, with a few simple ideas, you can turn your cinder block residence hall into a home away from home. These tips will help you get started on creating a personal space you’ll love coming back to.


1. Take a Tip from Decorating Pros

Don’t you love walking into a home room and feeling instantly relaxed and at peace? It’s such a great feeling — one you can recreate easily in just about any space. The trick is to focus on light and luxurious. White comforters, sheets, towels, or hanging robe can seem so expensive and spa-like, but they are a great way to make your place feel more restful.

2. Use Your Old Home as a Color Pallette

You may not always love your mom’s style choices, but home is inevitably where your heart is. Ask a parent or sibling to take a couple of photos of your favorite room in the house. Use that photo on color pallette websites. They will take out the most dominant colors in the image and give you a color snapshot of what works in your old home. Then, go shopping! Bring your home color palette to select items like beddings, wall decor, rugs, and throw pillows.

3. Bring in Pictures and Frames

No one has the same photos and memories as you. So if a framed poster or canvas print simply won’t do, add photos of you and your sister at the beach or a photo of your old soccer team in action. Use vintage frames in bright or white colors to give it a more antique feel. And don’t be afraid to add even more artifacts like medals from your last 5K race or a piece of sheet music from your band concert.

4. Add Personal Touches

Like photos, it’s the little things that bring the most warmth and joy to the room. Add similar touches like that inspirational wall hanging your dad has in his office or a lucky wooden horse shoe that matches the one in your old bedroom. If you want something more unique that still ties in the space, go more subtle with a jewelry organizer in the shape of deer antlers that hang in your family’s den or a canvas or framed print of your favorite vacation spot.

5. Get Comfy

Home is where you lay your head, and no one wants a space that is uncomfortable or feels uninviting. Layer your base of blankets and bed pillows with throws that have personality but also purpose. This season, we’re loving anything flannel. It’s perfect for the woodsy, Americana type. If your ideal home is more zen-like, go with ombre teal blankets or black and white pillows spaced on top of a shared futon.

6. Show It Off

You probably have a ton of memories of your mom or dad throwing parties for holidays or celebrations. Why not throw your own welcome home party in your dorm room? Have friends bring a dish and lay out throw pillows to sit on as you share a meal together. Make it a regular get together and you’ll find some pride in your space in no time.


And if your space is getting praise, why not win some cash from it?! Enter in OCM’s Dorm Goals contest by sharing a picture of your new home. The top dorm space will win $1,000 in tuition credit!


Bright & Bold Dorm Room Style




Bland is so not us. We want a room that screams fun and festive! Our space should be totally and unapologetically our taste. Bright and bold dorm room styles is what we’re after, and we’re not going to compromise with bland, boring neutrals. If you’re the type of student who’s looking to make a splash with your bedroom, here are a few must-haves to make the look.


Black or White Base

Black and white is totally boring if that’s all you use. But all bold looks need contrast to stand out against something. By using black or white as the base, you can make your bold look even starker. White, while less eye-catching, is feminine and easy to dress up. Black is more in-your-face, but it can be harder to pair with.

To get a base, pick one large object you want to focus on. One idea is to have a white comforter or a black rug. These are great to accessorize with and then add-on colors in the next step. One great way to do this is to select an OCM Value Pak in a black or white that has colorful accents, such as the Black Lattice with Aqua set.



Selecting a Theme or Scheme

Bright and bold can be interpreted differently depending on your personal style. Some love the look of neon while others think bright like the hippy-centric tie-dye, and there’s a big push for highlighter colors like hot pink and grassy green. Whatever your look, having a theme in mind will help you decide your pieces.

If you’re unsure on color combos, head to a paint store and mix and match color cards. Carry these around as you shop at the store. You can also find an inspiration picture and then use a color selector to help you make your own online version!

Finding Your Essential Pieces

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can do the fun step… shop! Some of our favorite bold pieces are room staples like bedding, lamps, chairs, and storage units. These are pieces that you must have anyways, so why not make them funky or daring?

Some of our favorite finds include orange polka dot pouf seating, yellow striped laundry bags, neon pink storage trunks, and royal purple trash cans. Don’t forget linens either! Towels, bath mats, and even curtains can all be in funkier shades than the standard white or tan. And they look great stored in your closet.

Decorate Till You’re Colored Out

Now that the basics are done, you’re ready to unleash the rainbow in your dorm room. As you decorate, find items that bring you joy and give you energy. That’s what color is all about, after all!

This year, we are digging the Phylls Flamingo and Patty Palm Tree throw pillows paired with a Chenille ribbed rug in fuschia. There’s also the vibrant blue “Namastay in Bed” canvas that can be matched with the colored frame art kit or an icicles chandelier hanging from the ceiling.


However you decide to incorporate color in your dorm room, don’t be afraid to go bright and bold! It’ll make your room feel more like a home and help your style stand out loud and proud.

Last Minute Dorm Shopping List



With only a few weeks (or less) until you move into your residence hall, you’re probably feeling pretty good about the supplies you’ve picked up. But hold up, we can pretty much bet that you’ve forgotten a few essentials. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these last-minute dorm shopping list must-haves to see if you’ve got your dorm and desk covered.


Stapler, Staples, and Stapler Remover

This isn’t high school anymore. Your professor doesn’t have her own classroom with supplies for you to use. You’ll need to carry around your own stash of staples when turning in papers or working on an assignment. Don’t forget — this is essential.


Notecards, Highlighters, and at Least One Notepad

Sure, you’ll probably take most of your notes on the computer and you may be all into the e-textbook. But there will be times when you’ll need to print something out and take notes on it. You may even have to complete an assignment in class on, you know, paper! Don’t be caught without some of the basics, even if you’re loaded with the best and latest tech.


Extra Batteries

Late nights out, traveling for an internship, emergencies — these are all reasons why you’ll want to carry around an extra battery for, at least, your phone. You may also want a backup for your laptop or tablet. Throw one in your purse or backpack and forget about it.


Good Lighting

Dorm room lights are usually those industrial lights you see in generic office buildings — the kind that spread bright white light and gives you instant migraines. But for a few bucks, you can turn off those ugly overhead lights and make your dorm rooms nice and comfortable. Pick up some floor, desk, and wall lights. Get creative and make your lighting source a canopy over your bed or coordinate your lamps with your minimal room theme.


Easy-to-Clean Rugs

Dorm floors are notoriously cold and unforgiving. A warm, comfortable rug is one of those things you’ll be glad you have come wintertime. But read the tag before you invest. You’ll want one that hides stains, is easy to vacuum, and is relatively inexpensive.


Purple Rug from OCM


Bed in a Bag

Let’s go over the absolute needs: blankets, long size bedding, pillows, towels, and an organizer. Who wants to do all that shopping when you can instead just buy a Value Pak!? Everything’s included and you can find one to match your style. It’s so easy, you won’t have to worry about the first night!



Don’t make the mistake and wait until the day of class to buy your books. In most cases, they’ll be out of stock or limited options. Instead of paying more for the new version at your bookseller, check out eBay or Amazon for cheaper options that will be shipped to your dorm in a day or two. It’s a great way to save some bucks and get you ready for class.


Food and Cooking Supplies

While you probably paid a fortune to have a meal plan, sometimes you won’t be able to make it to the cafeteria or will want to stay in. Having a few food staples at the ready will be a big help. We’re talking non-perishable comfort food like mac and cheese, noodles, and soup (microwavable foods). Grab some bowls, plates, silverware, and cookware, and you’ll be all ready to wow your floormates as the resident dorm chef.

How to Achieve Glamorous Dorm Room Style



Glam and dorms don’t easily go together. Plain cinder block walls and ugly tiled floors are just about as opposite as you can get to fancy and flashy. But if you’ve got a classy and sophisticated taste that you’re not ready to sacrifice for dorm life, we’ve got some tips that will work for you.


Go With a Black Base

The essential color for the glam look is, hands down, black. It’s timeless, easy to coordinate, and stands out against other neutral and metallic accents. The best place to have the majority of your black is within your bedding. Damask sheet sets are a great pick for patterns and fit in with plain black or white long-size comforters.


Black area rugs also work for that big impact look. It serves a double purpose of keeping the space warm (both literally and design-wise) and being a piece to tie everything in. If you go with a patterned rug, keep the rest of your room simple.


Add a Texture

What sells glam is the feeling of luxury. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your room look like it’s out of a celebrity’s home. Instead, focus on pulling in one, essential texture — fuzzy soft.

Fake fur throw blankets are a cool way to make your room look like a palace. While it’s tempting to go with white, try a color instead. It will look great draped over the back of a couch or up against a chair. We guarantee your guests will be drawn to it.


Get Glittery

No article on glam bedrooms is complete without talking about glitter! It’s the hallmark of the style and it cannot be forgotten when picking out your decor. Think small so you will not overwhelm your space, but pick pieces that are sassy and a little bit wild.


The first idea is to find an accent pillow with glitter incorporated. Erin Andrews’ collection has a very cool Dollar Sign Sequin pillow that cannot be missed. Mix it up with the Eat Sleep Contour pillow for extra sparkle.


Glamorize Your Walls

Your walls are what is going to need your style touch the most so here’s where you can get creative. Canvas black and white pictures of vintage Paris is an easy idea if you’re looking for a feel that is more antique glam. If you want more rock star glam, go with message posters that show your attitude. We’re big fans of the Glam Eyes canvas.


Other wall decor ideas include metallic colored clocks in art deco style, black damask oval mirrors, hanging metal jewelry organizers, and LED bulb string lights. The key is to find items that have a modern look with a vintage inspiration. If it appears like it could have been used by your grandmother but is still cool enough for you, then you’ve found the right pick.


With all these dorm decoration options and ideas, glam can find its place in your dorm room. Be brave, be bold, and think big with your look, and you can’t go wrong.

Everything You Need to Know to Conquer Freshman Orientation



It can be tempting to blow off your college’s freshman orientation. After all, this is college, right?

But skipping out (or just not paying attention) could end up costing you time and peace of mind in the end. That’s why you should go into your orientation ready to learn and observe — because you’ll need the info presented and the extra time on campus to get ahead of the game.

Here’s how you can conquer freshman orientation and be prepared for your first semester.


Making Friends

Freshman orientation provides many opportunities to meet new friends, especially those who share your major or who will live in your residence hall. That’s why it’s important to stay true to yourself. While you should try to go to all the mixers and social events offered, if you’re not into country music, don’t go to the country music concert. Find events that interest you, and if you’re not interested, check out the dorm floor to see who stayed behind.

If you’re working on making friends with your new roommate(s), the best ice breaker is to talk about how you want your dorm room to look. Discuss themes, colors, and shared items. While you may disagree on fashion or style, you can have fun shopping online for wall or floor decor that works for both of you.


Selecting Classes

One of the most important parts of orientation is getting your first class schedule. You’ll want to get the best classes before they fill up, so do your homework before you start picking out what you’re going to take.

There are a ton of different resources you can use for this. Read up on professors and their class reviews online. Check out your major requirements and make a checklist of classes you know you’ll need to take. If you’re able to talk to upperclassmen from your college in advance, ask them to help you make your schedule out; they’ll give you a better inside scoop than your advisor.


Getting to Know the Campus

With your schedule in hand, use your time on campus to map out your walk from one building to the next. Scout out your new favorite bakery or check out the hours of the Starbucks closest to you. These are all essential things you’ll need to know the first day of class.

Of course, you’ll also want to check out where the tailgaters go for football games. Having some fan gear ready to go for this trip will help you get in the spirit.


Plan Out Your Dorm

There’s no rule that says you have to come into orientation week or freshman orientation events knowing what you want for your dorm. If possible (if you’re not staying in there already), get a tour of the dorm rooms so you can refresh your memory on the size, wall type, placement of beds and furniture, closet size, etc. This will help you make decisions on what bedding will look best with the wall color, what storage you’ll need to store away your winter clothes, and how big of a shoe hanger you’ll want to grab.

Our 7 Favorite Dorm Pillows


It’s time to kick back, relax, and get lazy with us! That’s right — we’re talking pillows. From essential bed pillows to accent pieces, pillows are one of the top items you should focus on when designing your dorm room. We’ve picked out our top seven favorite pillows to complete your dorm aesthetic (or pillow fort!).


1. Everyday Hustlin’

The Erin Andrews collection at OCM is on fire! We’re especially digging this subtle pillow reminder that after the college diploma comes to the good stuff — the payday! Pair up with more sequins or gold details for maximum money-making effect, and don’t forget about the inspirational wall decor, so you keep your eyes on the prize.


Dollar Sign Sequin Pillow from OCM

2. Marbled Eloquence

Over the marble trend? Neither are we. We declare this is the year everything looks like it could be made into a statue — including pillows. Marble looks best when you match it with white or a color in the marble base (like tan or bronze). Keep it as the main focal point if you want the look to work.


3. Mermaid Colors

After marbled effects come this year’s hottest trend — mermaid sequins. Seriously, it’s everywhere, and you won’t want to miss out! Find colors that pop, like purple and blues. And if you can, find ones that have hidden messages or images under the first layer. Your guests will love playing with them! It’s the perfect throw for green or water-themed rooms that need an injection of color.

4. Celebrity Snark

Huge fan of Bill Murray? How about Bill Murray dressed in a 19th-century soldier’s uniform and recreated in an oil painting? These fine art celebrity pillows have us doing double takes! This is perfect for a room that needs a bit of humor thrown in there. Match with darker colors, solid fabrics, and more expensive looking decor to keep your friends guessing.


5. Truthful Pillows

You know when you’re alarm goes off, and you refuse to move a muscle? Yeah. Everyday. Erin Andrews (again) knows how to say it right with her “I Need a Minute” design. It’s perfect to snuggle with and to throw at your roommate when they’re noisily getting ready for class at 8 AM. And we especially love this simple throw pillow when added on a black and white motif.


Erin Andrews Dorm Pillow

6. Work in Comfort

So bed-rest pillows may be bulky, but they are essential for all of you bed-workers who insist on doing their reading, studying, Facebooking in bed. Your back will thank you for it, and you’ll be more productive with it. Pick one that can be hidden under the bed or find one in a neutral color so that it blends in the background.


7. Color Your Own

If you’re into adult coloring books, you must have these color-your-own-pillowcases. You can add whatever color you want to them, and there are a ton of patterns to pick. It’s an awesome DIY to go with an already colorful room, but we especially love the idea of a crafty, eclectic look to go with this whimsical and fun pillowcase.

How to Coordinate Dorm Shopping Online with Your Roomie



When you get your first roommate assignment, you might be tempted to go out to the store and immediately start buying everything you want to decorate your dorm room with. But hold up! Before you start putting your favorite bedspreads and picture frames into your shopping cart, remember that you have a roomie who’s going to want to decorate, too. Plus, you don’t want to duplicate your shopping and end up with two TVs and no extra lighting. In order to make sure your dorm room looks good and has everything you need, here are some tips for coordinating your shopping with your new roommate.


Pick Out Matching (or Coordinating) Bedding

There’s nothing more awkward than walking into a room where the bedding clashes. To avoid this, talk to your new roomie about what colors and designs you both like. You might even consider getting coordinating sets from the OCM collection. Our Complete Campus Paks are a great place to start, giving you all the bedding you’ll need, plus towels, under the bed storage, and even a hamper.


Determine Light and Climate Control

Are you the kind of student who gets up early before class to study, or do you prefer to stay up late reading? Do you like it cool while your roommate prefers to sleep warm? Rather than fighting over the thermostat or the light switch, consider getting a reading lamp or a small fan that keeps up with your lifestyle. Our Easy Clip Value Pak, which includes both a reading lamp and a small bedside fan that clip onto your headboard with ease.


Get Your Fridge On

Whether you’re planning on getting all your food from the cafeteria or you’re hoping to use your residence hall kitchen to whip up some of your favorite recipes, chances are that at some point you’ll need to keep your food cool. Talk to your new roomie about renting a fridge for you both to use. If you really want to buy a small, dorm room-size refrigerator,make sure your roommate knows that you’re planning on making the big purchase. If you decide to split the fridge 50/50, make sure you know going in who is going to take it at the end of the year to avoid any issues or hurt feelings down the road.

What’s in the Kitchen

Speaking of food, you’re going to need something to eat off of when you order late-night pizza or bring home leftovers from the cafeteria. You could always go basic and stock up on paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware. But if you want to go greener and save on the storage space, consider getting plates, bowls, and mugs that you can both use. Our College Kitchen Duo Value Pak has everything you might need for two people — plates, bowls, mugs, and silverware, plus a can opener, a sharp knife, and various mixing bowls for storage.


Whether you’re rooming with your best friend or someone you’ve never met before, you have to make sure you have those important discussions with your new roomie about who’s bringing what and how you can make your dorm room look and feel like home. Once you do that, you’ll be all set for move-in and a great year ahead!

Minimalist? You’ll Love These Subtle Dorm Room Touches


Minimalism is the practice of only living with the things you value the most. This means paring down your closet to a single signature style, keeping non-functioning items out, and focusing on quality over quality.

But many minimalists take it to the next level by keeping their spaces earth-centered with lots of organic products, white linens, and neutral decor. While it’s not for everyone, it’s definitely possible to integrate the less-is-more look into your dorm room. These small touches can help you transform your decor from overcrowded to minimalist paradise.


Storage Trunk

Minimalists believe that having items that are not being used out and about creates clutter and chaos. Instead, everything that doesn’t have a place should be neatly and efficiently tucked away.

In smaller dorm rooms that don’t have much space to work with, an armored storage trunk can work wonders. It can double as seating while holding off-season clothing, storing shoes, or hiding cleaning supplies.


Hanging Door Mirror

Saving space is a way of creating more room to breathe. That means you should avoid loading up on nonessential furniture, including bulky standing mirrors. But mirrors are also important in decor, so you need to find the right balance.

One way to accomplish this is with an over the door mirror. With hooks, it latches on to the top of your closet or dorm room door so you won’t need to move it around or store it when you have guests. It serves its purpose and then it is out of sight.


Mood Lighting

Lighting is huge in a DIY minimalist dorm. Industrial lighting won’t do and you can’t use natural lighting when the sun goes down. Instead, you need something that is both flexible, pretty, and unobtrusive.

Our top pick for nighttime lighting sources is the Sparkly String Lighting. Thin, copper colored, and oh-so-pretty, you’ll feel like your dorm is full of little fairies. The best part is is that you can use these just about anywhere, like lining your bunk bed or around a ceiling.


Low-Key Throws

With white being your main color for minimalist decorating, you might get bored easily. After all, an all-white dorm room seems so drab in more dreary months!

Counter this misconception by picking throw items that pop out while still blending in. We love this foil dot pillow that would look amazing on a tan couch or bedding set. There’s just enough color and design there to keep our attention. For an added pop of striking color and texture add this Axel Quatrafoil throw blanket in Aqua.


Modern and Typography Designed Canvas Prints

Canvas is a minimalist dream as it stands out without looking cheap. It gives emphasis to what it is showing or the message it has. But you need the right print to go with the rest of your room.

Black-and-white makes a fantastic visual, like this Glam Eyes Wall Canvas. Hang it over the appropriate spot (your bathroom or makeup supplies, for example) to designate spaces. Another idea is to go with the popular typography design where the words are the focus and not a photograph. Good Vibes Only is one of our top choices, because who said minimalists can’t have fun with their decor!

How to Style a Purple Dorm Room


Reigning supreme in dorm room trends is the color purple! We have seen it everywhere lately, and we, quite honestly, can’t get enough of it. From pastel colors to deep royal shades, you can do a lot with this girly yet sophisticated color. Here are some tips on how to style a purple dorm room.

Pick a Specific Shade

Like its sister color pink, purple comes in many different shades, each evoking a different kind of mood or feel. Luckily, this means you’ve got a ton of options to work with!

Lilac or lavender purple is earthy, romantic, and soft. It pairs well with white, cream, tan, or beige and fits in perfectly with a Paris or earthy spring themed room. On the other hand, dark purples like eggplant, plum and royal are more for modern looks or as accent colors. Use them metallic, deep greens, and chocolate browns.


Know Your Ratios

Too much of a good thing is never ideal. This rule especially applies to purple, which can overwhelm your room if you go overboard.

For a more minimalist look, a good measurement to keep in mind when selecting your purple is the 80/20 rule of decorating. Twenty percent of your room’s colors should be in your brighter focal color while the other eighty should be in a neutral to offset it. While it doesn’t seem like it would be a lot, the twenty percent purple is highlighted and amplified by the rest.

You also want to be careful about matching purples with purples. A lot of the more boho, gypsy styles do it really well with a red-toned purple mixed with a royal, almost blue-purple. But, in most cases, purple on purple is a no-go unless you are really into the whole purposefully unmatched vibe.

Pick Your Purple Focal Points

Now comes the fun part — picking out your purple items! With the 80/20 rule in mind, select items that will either dominate or will serve as a pop of color. It’s always easier to start with the 20 percent versus the rest.

One great example of the pops of color is the Kiss Pleat White and Grape bedding and linen set. The white blanket is pulled back to reveal a vibrant, electric purple. It’s like transforming from laid back to party with just a fold over. For an even more modern look, try the Destin Dusty Purple set where there is more black and geometric shapes to bring attention to your bed.

If you want your purple to be more of a one item show, you’ve got loads of options! Drapes on your windows are usually one of the first things people notice about your dorm room besides your bed. There’s also purple shag rugs, large seating pillows, or even chairs and couch throws to pick from.


Find a Theme

Your final option is to pick a theme that incorporates purple. We have already talked about boho styles where purple is key in decor like tapestries, mandala paintings, and blankets. But you can also go the opposite direction and make it light and vintage with stark white and light, floral purple for the ultimate girly room.

Furthermore, a popular pick right now is to do it “royal style.” Add black damask with dark purple drapes hanging from the ceiling around your bed for a canopy. Keep your textiles silk or chenille for luxury. And play around with gold, silver, and bronze as your neutral base.

Just remember to keep it subtle. Purple’s a sophisticated color that deserves your attention to the details.