How To: Make a Dorm Room Feel Less "Dormy" and More "Homey"

Dorm rooms can feel drab and cramped. The cinderblock walls aren't all that glamorous. The closet space can be minimal, and sometimes it might feel like you're living in a cave. An ice cave (if yours is as cold as mine). Except you're no ice queen. You're just a college kid that misses the nice queen sized bed you have at home (ugh, twin XL beds are not fun) and the freedom of taking bubble baths (communal showers, my friends) or eating ice cream at 2 am (I miss having a freezer). But... there is good news! You can transform your dull ice cave into a comfortable palace fit for a queen. I promise that it isn't that hard. Actually, it's kind of fun, because you get to do arts and crafty stuff! If you cannot tell, I love crafty stuff. Anyways, here are a few tips to help you refresh your dorm room!

Add colorful/patterned accent pieces

If your room is lacking color, this is the easiest way to make it happy again! You can add bold throw pillows, a patterned rug, or spiffy picture frames. Here are my favorite finds:

What you'll need: matte photo paper, command strips, scissors, frames (I purchased mine from Ikea and if I remember correctly, 6 frames were less than $40 total)
  1. Find photos and quotes online that you want to frame. I made a pinterest board with the ones I chose for my wall (pictured above) along with other options if you need inspiration! 
  2. Print out the photos you've chosen onto the matte photo paper. Make sure to scale them to the proper dimensions to correlate with the frame size! Cut the photos out and stick them into the frames.
  3. Think about how you want to hang/position the frames on your wall. I opted to only hang 6 frames, but if you want a bigger gallery wall, here are some ideas on how to position your frames. 
  4. Use command strips to hang your frames! It's much easier to hang them with command strips rather than nails, and it'll be easier to take the frames down at the end of the year.
  5. Admire your spiffy new gallery wall.
Fill a corkboard with mementos and photos

This is the easiest way to display your own photos, ticket stubs, stickers, quotes, clothing tags, etc. Use colorful push pins to make your display even more festive!

Add more lighting

If your dorm room doesn't have a ton of natural light, adding a few lamps to your room might help it feel bigger and brighter. Regardless of how much natural light your dorm room gets, you should have a good desk lamp in case you need to work on homework late (or pull the dreaded all-nighter). If you have good desk lighting, your eyes won't feel as strained later, especially if you're reading a ton. 

Hang polaroids/ family photos with clothespins and string or clips and wires

(photo via little inspiration)

What you'll need: string and clothespins or wire and clips
What you do: Hang the wire or string and then clip your photos on. Bam. Super, super easy.

This is a super cute yet inexpensive way to display polaroids and other photos you've taken of your family members and pets. I've always thought that rooms felt more homey and inviting when they have pictures of loved ones hanging on the walls. 

Get super organized

Isabella, this seriously isn't a crafting project. How dare you suggest that I get organized!

I know guys, I know... but if your room is less cluttered and things are put away properly, you'll have more room (and you won't be tripping over textbooks and stubbing your toes on binders). In my opinion, organizing can be fun! Maybe I'm just a dork though. That's probably it. Anyways, make it fun by putting on good music... think about all of the clean, exposed floor you'll have to dance on when you're done organizing! You can buy super cute bins to hide stuff in, and you can make money by selling old clothing/stuff on eBay or Poshmark. After you're done getting rid of all of the stuff you don't need, you'll have much more room to store the stuff that you do need.

Add cozy objects

In my opinion, this is the best thing you can possibly do to make your dorm room feel like home. Adding warm blankets, soft sheets, plush pillows, and candles (if you're allowed to have them) will make your room and bed much more comfortable. Since the mattresses colleges provide are uncomfortable and have little to no support, investing in a good mattress topper is a good idea (I have this one).

Cozy throw pillows: Restoration Hardware Fur Pillow Covers, Target Faux Fur Pillow
Cozy throw: Barefoot Dreams Bamboo Throw (My aunt gave this to me as a gift and my friends are obsessed with how soft it is)
Candles: Capri Blue Aloha Orchid Candle (my favorite candle of all time), Voluspa White Mokara Candle, Bath and Body Works Lemon Mint Candle

Add seating for guests

I have this pouf in the jute/ivory and I love it! Not only do I use it as seating for myself and friends that come over, but I also use it as a step stool to get into my lofted bed. It's comfortable to sit on and small enough to slip underneath my bed so it doesn't take up too much space.

How do you make your dorm room more comfortable and homey?

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  1. That gallery wall is to die for! Your dorm room looks like it should be featured on HGTV:-)