f you’ve discovered the addictions of Pinterest and Instagram, you know there are some drool-worthy home decor ideas out there. One of the trendiest home decor styles out there is rustic. But you’re stuck in a dorm room!
Don’t despair-- we’re here to help you bring the country into your dorm room, and really make your new digs a place you can proudly relax in and call home at the end of a long day of classes.
- Bedding & Beds
- Wall decorations
Bedding & Beds
Bedding is one of the easiest ways to countrify your room, probably because a lot of the country feel is inspired by coziness and comfort. What says cozy and comfortable better than bedding?
Look for soft textures in fabrics like flannel and jersey knit cotton when picking sheets. Jersey knit is better for warmer weather, and flannel really shines in cooler seasons. Stick with a simple color palette and try to carry it throughout all of the bedding.
Nothing says “rustic” quite like a quilt, so invest what you can into a really well-made one. If possible, try to buy one that’s been hand-made-- it will cost you a pretty penny, but it’ll be made well enough to keep you and generations of folks after you warm and toasty all night long. If you can’t afford that, look for them in thrift stores, antique shops, Goodwill, or estate sales. But nobody will judge you if you buy a new quilt from mainstream store, either.
Just be aware that most quilts are too heavy for dormitory laundry machines-- you’ll either need to wash and dry your quilt when you visit home, or go to the laundromat and use their high capacity washers and dryers. Unless you have a habit of eating in bed, you shouldn’t need to wash your quilt more than a few times a year.
If you’re feeling extra, you can look for a burlap or plaid bed skirt in a color scheme that works with your quilt and sheets. Some bed skirts even have pockets for extra storage! If your college has a “creative center” with sewing supplies, you could go even more rustic and make it yourself.
Layer the look with some rustic throw blankets to wrap around your shoulders when snuggling down to read or watch a movie.
You may think that because all dorm furniture is standard-issue and bland that styling your bed stops at bedding. Think again!
Most dorm beds don’t have a headboard. Adding one can add a ton of rustic style! Look for ones made out of reclaimed wood or pallets, or even ones out of unexpected materials like leather.
Canopy beds are a thing of beauty, and adding a canopy over your bed in fabrics like lace and burlap, canvas, or even a patchworked variety is super easy. Use 3M Command hooks to hand the canopy from above the bed-- easy removal at the end of the year, and you’ll never put a hole in the walls or ceiling of your dorm room.
Decorating dorm room walls-- especially in the rustic tradition-- can seem like an impossible challenge. But with the creative use of the variety of 3M Command hooks out on the market today, you can countrify or bohemian-ize your walls in no time.
Just like reclaimed wood can be used to create a headboard, it can also serve as a shelving unit or be made into picture frames to hang artwork and photographs. If you’re feeling the “Southern Charm” or “primitive” vibe, consider buying and hanging wagon wheels!
Dorm rooms are also notoriously lacking in windows. Add some! Nab some mutli-paned windows at a garage sale or household resale shop and clean them up. If you like, add large pictures of the outdoors behind the window when you put it on your wall. Alternatively, use battery-operated LED strand lights to illuminate the panes and create the illusion of late-day warmth popping through. Keep it boho and leave it plain, or take it Southern and add gingham or lacy curtains. For a whimsical touch, add some window prisms.
For more rustic wall decor, skip the posters and opt for quirky prints or framed needlework instead. Macrame adds boho attitude, and there’s a real trend right now for dried floral wreaths in unique shapes.
Finally, use wall decals to create a theme-- they’re easy to use and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Use them to create a woodland scene, a boho pattern, a garden of blooms, or even the illusion of faux wood panels. Find them online at a variety of locations.
Now it’s time to accessorize! Any good outfit consists of simple pieces that are “glued” together with accessories-- accessories make clothes into a stylish outfit. The same is true for home decor!
Rustic accessories can again be very easily DIY-ed or purchased. Often, it’s cheaper to DIY them.
Mason jars are a classic rustic touch for organization or storage. They’re perfect for writing tools, makeup brushes, paper clips, binder clips, or even the odd wildflower arrangement you picked on the way home from class (shhhh-- don’t tell anyone they’re weeds!). You can paint them, cover them in twine, burlap or glue quilter’s blocks to the lids and finish with a ribbon.
Going back to the bed for second-- bring even more comfort and coziness by adding layers of throw pillows in various fabrics and textures. Keep the color pallete as your unifying element. Look for patterns or words that express your personality and mood.
Dorm rooms are notoriously ill-lit with nasty, overhead fluorescent lighting that makes everyone look like an extra from a zombie apocalypse movie. Counter that with the warm glow of lamps and lanterns! Stuff those previously-mentioned mason jars with strands of battery-operated LED lights or LED flameless candles-- you can even buy scented ones, or ones that actually sound like a flickering flame!
Use some 3M Command hooks to hang tin lanterns with shapes cut out of them (use those LED flameless candles again).
If the lamps you buy aren’t to your taste, DIY them! Wrap them in twine-- it looks great, but it can take a long time, so make it a weekend project and use hot glue to keep it in place. Table lamps can get a quick rustic upgrade with a square of burlap or other country fabric and some ribbon-- place the lamp in the middle of the fabric, and wrap the lamp base in it. Tie it in place with ribbon-- we recommend wire ribbon or grosgrain for durability and look. Sometimes around the holidays you can find burlap and cotton patterned wire ribbon in wide widths-- buy it in bulks and tie it around your lamps in a pretty big bow. Change it out with the seasons!
They say that the “Devil is in the details,” but nobody said the Devil couldn’t wear jeans and cowboy boots! Little touches like paying attention to fabric and patterns can make or break a rustic look, particularly if you have highly homogenized furniture with which to work.
Flowers are a hallmark of the rustic look. Fresh or dried, bunches or swags, flowers really have a feminine charm. Again, the “rustic” look can go in several directions here. Boho-rustic flowers mix formal and informal together-- think peonies and roses with morning glories and dandelions, or lilacs with asters. In winter, mix eucalyptus with some dried cockscomb and strawflowers. Primitive flowers might include zinnias and columbines or a few wild roses.
If you have gardens on campus, there are probably flowering weeds like dandelions, wild asters, morning glories, or daisies. Pick a few on your way home from class and stick them in a mason jar or drinking glass. Little violets look adorable in a shot glass with a bit of twin or ribbon tied around it!
Even though you’ll mostly eat at your college’s cafeteria or snack bar, you’ll still want some food and dishes in your dorm room. (After all-- what if dinner is disgusting?) Pick dishes in good, sturdy, thick earthenware in a color palette that pleases you or a quirky pattern. Earthenware resists breaking when dropped, and the weight of it is comforting in the hand. Adding napkins in a washable fabric with a rustic pattern-- such antlers, greenery, or florals-- adds that extra detail that makes you feel right at home instead of in a dorm room. Plus, fabric napkins are better for the environment.
If you have the ability to hang curtains, do it. They’ll add an extra layer of cozy and personality to the room. Pay attention to the fabric and color palette-- try to make it jive with the rest of your decor. And get your roommate’s blessing, too-- if rustic isn’t their style, try compromising on a single-color panel instead of a pattern. If you live in an area where it’s cold, make sure you get thermal curtains to help block out the cold!
Finally, adding rustic nick-nacks always brings a room together. It “finishes” it and really lets glues all of the pieces of the style puzzle together. Think jewelry trees that actually look like trees or antlers, little figurines or statues of woodland animals, and small vanity mirrors that have vines and flowers twisted around them. Paperweights in the shape of owls or deer look adorable, and pushpins for your corkboard in the shape of birds or flowers add a touch of whimsy to everyday tasks. And faux vines are available in the faux flower section of most craft stores-- they come in seasonal varieties, and add a dreamy touch to headboards, corkboard borders, and wound around the base and stem of lamps.
Whatever details you add, make sure they’re either cozy or natural in theme-- two hallmarks of the rustic style.
True rustic decor takes its charm from its DIY roots and appearance. But you don’t have to break a sweat to get the look for your dorm room. Use our advice to pick out bedding, decorations and details to turn your dorm room from “blah” into “Awwww” in no time!