For a lot of people, college dorms are the first time you really get the chance to show off your personal style in your bedroom decor. And even if it’s not the first time, your college dorm is still the opportunity for a fresh start with the cohesive style you’ve always wanted.
But what happens if you get to decorating only to realize that you had less of a solid idea of the style you wanted, and more of a vague feeling of the vibe you were looking for?
Creating a dorm room look sounds exciting, but it can pretty easily turn into a halfhearted attempt to neatly arrange all the things you were already decorating with and call it a day. If this sounds like just the kind of problem you want help avoiding, then congrats! You’ve found the right article. What follows is an overview of eight style ideas inspired by Instagram posts, plus some links to the products that can bring that look to your dorm room.
Sweet and Simple
Simple Style Inspired by @livcatharina
If you like the look of clean likes, light colors, and clear organization, then you’ll want to keep your dorm room style simple with relatively minimalist decorations and a solid color scheme with lots of white or pastels. In short, this sweet and simple look by @livcatharina is just the sort of place where you should be looking for inspiration. For bedding, don’t go with anything that has too bold of a pattern; instead, look for solid, light colors like beige, white, cream, pink, or baby blue and pair the sheets with pillows of a similar look.
As for decorations, you’re mostly looking for squares and rectangles. If you happen to already have a small collection of postcard art or polaroids, then this is the perfect place for you to display them. If not, they’re not hard to find, and can be a great chance to make new memories! Take photos with your friends, go to local art shops and see what they have for sale, and generally have a good time with it
Start the look with reversible washed pink bedding, a Toto storage box, and a message center organization kit. Click to shop!
Beautiful Simplistic Look Inspired by @hayleystanley
If even that’s too busy for you, then look no further than this beautifully minimalist look by @hayleystanley. Your first step toward achieving this look is to choose one or two colors that will be the focus of the entire dorm room. Then simply find bedding and a few pieces of decoration in that style. The line between minimalist and boring can be a tough one to toe, so here are some tips to make sure your dorm looks as amazing as you always dreamed it would be.
First of all, try to incorporate some textures in your bedding so that they look interesting without being loaded with colors. Secondly, consider adding electric candles or fairy lights to make sure that what lighting there is directly ties into the look. Finally, make sure everything ties in nicely, like how @hayleystanley’s look has framed plant prints and a potted plant hanging in the corner.
Start the look with pink kiss pleat bedding, peel and stick brick wallpaper, and this Gale Switzer Eucalyptus Australian Gum Tree Poster. Click to shop!
Artistic Chaotic Look Inspired by @oddcore
Minimalism is all well and fine, but what about those of us that want an awesome dorm room look and can’t trust ourselves to keep our dorm room clean all the time? The newly coined “cluttercore” is here for you. As exemplified in this post found on @oddcore’s Instagram, cluttercore is a busy, chaotic style that creates an air of intention with one simple step: embrace the messy.
This aesthetic encourages you to pick whatever patterns you want and fill your walls with as much stuff as is humanly possible, all while knowing that as long as your dorm is filled with things you love, you can’t go wrong. It sounds weird, but if there are enough patterns, textures, and colors, there will literally be too much to look at for your brain to register that anything is “clashing.” Should you still clean your room? Yeah. Does a clean room have to look the same for everyone? Absolutely not.
Start the look with Stanford and Burgundy bedding, this Raghav wall tapestry, and a light up photo display string. Click to shop!
Simple Pop Look Inspired by @constantinafaust
What happens when you cross the accent wall with the minimalism look? You get a fun look with a focus piece like this one inspired by @constantinafaust, that’s what. If you like the bold art look but also like to keep things neat, you’ll love the style of an accent piece. The premise is simple: pick one big thing you want to display in your dorm room, and style everything else simply after that.
This look has an infinite number of variations depending on what your focus piece is. Is it a wall tapestry? Try matching the bedding to the general theme of the piece and the rest of the decor to the color scheme. Is it a really cute set of sheets? Make sure the dorm decor lets that pattern pop. No matter what you do, if you keep the accent big and the rest small and more subdued, you’re sure to get a look that pops.
Start the look with Zoey stripe and white bedding, this Good Morning Good Night accent pillow, and Holli Zollinger velvet floral wallpaper. Click to shop!
Classic Style Look Inspired by @remsventure
The dark academia aesthetic is characterized by a love of literature, a passion for the pursuit of self-discovery, and a soft spot for a bit of a Victorian aesthetic. It’s perfect for a college dorm look - if the fact that it’s got “academia” right there in the name doesn’t prove it, then this photo by @remsventure certainly does. To get this look, you’re looking for neutral colored bedding with simple or vintage-inspired patterns. As for decor, get inspired by natural materials, neutral color schemes, and old-style aesthetic choices. You’re not looking for historical realism; you’re looking for things that make you feel like you’re about to go to a dimly lit poetry class and fall in love with the kid in the corner who has a secret passion for opera. Or, you know. Something along those lines.
Start the look with silas gray bedding, this Emanuela Carratoni The Star black framed wall art, and a skyline wall hook. Click to shop!
Pleasant and Pretty Look Inspired by @deecampling
This may just be my personal favorite look in this entire collection. The goal here is to craft an aesthetic around things that will make you feel more relaxed the second you walk into your dorm room. @deecampling’s look revolves around plants and peaches, creating a lovely summer vibe that’s calming just to look at. To make this look your own, just find something that makes you happy and make it the focus theme of the room.
Your best bet is to find bedding that has a pleasing print, which can be anything from pumpkins to poodles to paisleys - whatever strikes your fancy! Then, keeping everything bright and happy, collect decorations that match a similar color scheme and vibe and arrange it all in a way that makes sense with the shape of your dorm room. And voila! You’ve got your good vibes dorm room look all set up.
Start the look with Novogratz Maddison bedding, Good Things Are Coming framed wall art, and a faux fur throw rug. Click to shop!
The Cabin Look
Getaway Retreat Look Inspired by @westpointhome
Lots of people struggle to make their dorm room feel like home. But maybe you’re actively looking for an aesthetic that matches that feeling you get when you go somewhere new and exciting. Maybe you want your dorm room to look like a place away from home. When that’s the look you’re going for, you’ll want to look at pictures like this one by @westpointhome to get ideas for a cabin look that makes your dorm room feel like the simple gateway to a new adventure that it is. Find simple but comfortable bedding, sophisticated and modern decor, and natural patterns like wood or stone.