We all dream of living in a space that looks nice.
From the time we’re able to discern between what we do and don’t like aesthetically, most of us are already planning exactly what we want our future homes to look like. Your college dorm room is the perfect place to start experimenting with what it takes to make your room look the way you want it to.
What you’ll discover, however, is that on top of starting all your classes, getting together with and making friends, and settling into your life away from home, dorm room decor that requires a lot of effort and upkeep is the last thing you want. If you’re looking for a space that looks good but also doesn’t require a lot of energy or maintenance, sticking to the basics is the way to go.
Here are some of our favorite basics for simple dorm room decor:
If you’re looking for a really simple way to dress up your room, wall decals are the way to go. Usually equipped with positive messages, friendly reminders, and pretty typography, they’re the kind of dorm room decor that you won’t mind looking at again and again. And if you’re someone who doesn’t really love words on your wall, they also make decals that are just designs.
Decals are super easy to apply and require no maintenance until it’s time to peel them off at the end of the year, so you’ll love the simplicity of them. To apply them to your wall, all you’ll need to do is peel off the adhesive backing of the decal, press the sticky side to whatever place on the wall you’d like it to sit, hold it for a few seconds, and then sit back and admire your handiwork.
The best part of wall decals is that they usually don’t come as a single piece, but rather as several smaller pieces. This means that if you love a decal but want to personalize it by rearranging the pieces, you can do that really easily! Make your room yours.
Okay, when we say plants, what we really mean are cactuses and succulents. Something like an orchid probably isn’t going to survive inside your dorm room succulents and cactuses, however, can survive for a long time with very little water. (So if you forget them at school over winter break, chances are that they’ll still be alive and well when you get back.)
These kinds of plants are perfect to line up along your windowsill, where they can receive some direct sunlight. To personalize your potted pals, you can select a variety of fun pots to be their homes.There are classic pots, of course, but you could also use a mug, a decorative bowl, or even a Halloween bucket. Before you invest in some plants, though, make sure you’re up to speed on how to care for them.
For a really simple statement piece in your dorm room decor collection, get yourself a tapestry! Many of them come pre-printed with gorgeous Bohemian designs that will stand out to all of your friends when they come over to hang out. Match your tapestry to the color scheme that you’ve chosen for the rest of your room.
A black and white one would look great paired with any color scheme you’ve started with your bedding. Or if you’ve started a color scheme that’s more on the neutral side, you can pick a tapestry with whatever colors you’d like for a brilliant, vibrant statement piece.
Tapestries are another kind of dorm room decor that require very little (if any) maintenance or effort for set up. Since you can’t very well nail your tapestry to your dorm room wall, you’ll have to get a bit creative with how to hang your tapestry in the first place. We recommend using command strips. Adhesive on both sides, you can apply them to the back of your tapestry and then to the wall, apply some pressure, and it will hold up for the rest of the year.
With a rug, you can give your dorm room that extra attention to decor, and in a way that’s useful. Rugs can be statement pieces, or just something fluffy and cozy to dig your bare toes into in the early morning. Add a pop of color to your room with something as simple as a rug. It can be a comfy place for your friends to settle into even if you don’t have a lot of space.
Rugs are the kinds of decor that we tend to forget about in the context of a dorm room because the space is already carpeted, but they’re also a very simple basic that you can carry with you in life even when you’re no longer living in a dorm. The most you’ll have to do for maintaining your rug will be a quick vacuum job or a run through the washing machine every few months.
Okay, let’s face it. No one really has time to read for pleasure while they’re at college. There’s enough reading for you to do for your classes, and on top of actually attending classes, remembering to eat and sleep, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, the last thing you’re really thinking about while you’re at school is which fictional world you’ll be delving into next.
That being said, books still make for some excellent dorm room decor. And everyone has books, which means this isn’t even the kind of decor that you’ll have to drop a lot of money on. You don’t have to use classic hardbacks with fabric covers and engravings to give yourself the best book aesthetic. If you’d like, paperbacks, children’s books, and your favorite Nancy Drew books are also solid contenders for your book setup.
Most dorm rooms come equipped with a bookshelf of some kind, so you should have no trouble when it comes to the setup of your books. You can just slide them onto the shelves. If, for some reason, there isn’t a bookshelf in your dorm room, however, you can also stack the books up into a vertical pile for an aesthetic look. And who knows? Maybe you will have time to pick one up some day.
If you really want to let a piece of your personality shine through in your dorm room decor, you should definitely look out for flags that you might be able to hang up in your room. Whether you’re looking to show some pride as a member of the LGBT+ community, from another country that you want to remember with a flag, or looking to show support for your favorite sports team, flags are something that you can easily put up in your room to personalize it.
The process of hanging up a flag is very similar to how you might hang up a tapestry. Command strips are probably the best way to go (unless your flag comes with some holes that you might be able to hang on a hook). You can use the double-sided adhesive to attach the command strip to the back of the flag and then to the wall. Your flag will stay up on the wall for the whole year, or at least until you want to take it down.
A Backlit Letter Sign
Backlit letter signs are everything you never knew you needed in your life. With the duality of a message board and a nightlight, you can’t really go wrong with one of these as a piece of your dorm room decor. Equipped with the full alphabet, as well as some symbols, these signs let you describe how you’re feeling every day of the week. Even better, you can find extra letters and symbols to buy without the message board if you find yourself short.
Whether you want to propel yourself through midterms with a motivational message, to meme your way all the way through college, or to leave friendly messages for your friends to find when they come over, a backlit letter sign is a great way to light up your dorm room with a different, fun new decor.
When you move into your dorm room, the temptation to deck it out with the most elaborate, complicated decor setup might be strong. You’re going to be much happier in the throes of finals, however, if you stick to the basics of dorm room decor instead. Make your life easier - both with setup and maintenance - when you stick to these simple, but effective decor ideas that you can take with you beyond your life in college dorms.