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dorm room
Style & trends

Dorm Decor Ideas for Every Aesthetic

By on September 28th, 2021 Reading Time: 8 minutes

Welcome to college life! Meeting new friends, immersing yourself in studies, and living away from home for the very first time—isn’t it all so exciting? 

Your first stop in the college journey will most likely be your new dorm room. Quite often, these spaces are small, plain, or just don’t match your vibe. This is the perfect opportunity to make the room yours from A to Z. 

Source: Dormify

I too recently moved house. For the past few months, I’ve spent a little too much time on Pinterest and Architectural Digest, but I’ve also learned about trending color palettes, innovative decor items, unique aesthetics, and a bunch of other things. 

There are plenty of dorm room decor ideas and learnings I can share with you that’ll freshen up the look of the room. No matter how small the space, there’s always room for your own spin.

Read on to see what decor ideas for dorm rooms I’ve prepared for you!

Spice up your walls (without damaging them)

If there’s not much space for furniture and home decor items, take advantage of the walls!

Wall art can play a major role in your room and really bring out the aesthetic you’re going for, like boho, Scandi, or Mid-Century. Think about what color palette or design elements you’re interested in, and go on good old Pinterest to find inspo for specific wall decor ideas. 

Most dorms have a strict no holes in the walls rule. But don’t worry, there are different renter-friendly ways to put beautiful decor on the walls. Posters can be easily attached with tape or adhesive putty. For heavier wall art like canvases, get double-sided tape or velcro tape. Use self-adhesive hooks for all things hanging and dangling.

Now, let’s finally dive into wall decor ideas for dorms!

Wall art

Posters and canvases—the staples of wall decor. 

printful poster
Source: Printful

Custom wall art will not only be a stylish addition to your room, but also a great conversation starter. Imagine your peers saying: “Nice poster! Where did you get it?” and you answering: “Oh, that? I designed it myself.”

Here’s how to get your hands on a custom poster or canvas: 

  • First, understand what design direction you’re leaning towards. Open your notes and write down some concepts you’re sure you want to see come to life. 
  • Let’s say, you want to see the color blue. Next, go on the net for inspiration and start a search along the lines of “blue wall art inspo.”
  • When you have an idea of what you want your custom art to look like and the design elements you’d like to feature, head to Printful’s Design Maker
  • Play around with the built-in tools of the Design Maker until you’re happy with the result and submit your order. 

My favorite Design Maker features are the text tool, quick designs, and cliparts. These features make it possible to create a cool design in minutes—not even an image upload is needed. The poster below only took me like 5 minutes to make. Try it for yourself!

printful poster
Source: Printful

Take your poster or canvas in any direction you want. You could customize it with some words of inspiration, a photo of your family, or some abstract artwork to add interest to your dorm room. 

Postcards

Long gone are the days when postcards were only used as snail mail or greeting cards. These cards can also be a stunning yet affordable design element. You can order as many postcards from Printful as you like and customize them all with different designs.

Postcards are lightweight, so there are different ways you can attach them to the wall. You can use small pegs to clip the postcards to a string and hang it on a self-adhesive hook. You can also arrange the cards in a nice collage and use stickers or tape to put them on the wall.

There are many directions you can take your collages. Here are just a few ideas: 

  • Themed (movies, art, fashion) 
  • Color-coordinated (complementary colors, contrasting colors)
  • Eclectic (combine postcards based entirely on what you feel) 
  • Arranged symmetrically vs. arranged at random
  • Postcards only vs. postcards and other lightweight keepsakes 

Flags

A flag is a way to cover a large wall area without putting up wallpaper or painting the room. Plus, it makes a room look cozier!

flag on a wall
Source: Printful

A customized flag can be a reminder of where you come from, a place to show off your fraternity/sorority, or a flowy addition to your wall. Just put the self-adhesive hooks on the wall and hang your tapestry. 

Flags make a great statement piece, and whenever you want to switch things up, you can just remove it and use it for something else. Your flag could be repurposed as a bed throw, photo backdrop, or maybe even a beach blanket. 

Make it extra cozy

You want your college dorm room to feel like home since that’s where you’re going to sleep, study, and chill. Let’s go over some cozy dorm decor ideas to make your room a homey nest. 

Blankets

Who doesn’t love a good wrap blanket? Especially when you’re done with the day, want to wrap yourself like a burrito, and forget about all the worries in the world.

printful blanket
Source: Printful

If you’re looking for a blanket with heavenly softness levels, I suggest you check out Printful’s throw blanket. Printful blankets are also known for their vibrant prints and high quality, and they’re super easy to design. 

You can make the blanket whatever you want—it can be a pretty decor piece or even a funny inside joke between your friends.

Throw pillows

Another timeless dorm bed decor idea is pillows. I believe there’s no such thing as too many pillows: they’re great to grab for a quick nap, and they do a fantastic job of making your room feel a little more dressed up. 

printful pillows
Source: Printful

Don’t be afraid to give your room some personality by getting pillows of different shapes, all decorated with your custom designs!

Bean bags

A bean bag will only fit a dorm that has some additional space.

dorm room with bean bag
A bean bag will tie your dorm room together

If you find space for a bean bag, it’ll be the perfect chill spot or reading nest. Get a bean bag cover and just add a filling of your choice. A good tip is to check out your nearby thrift shops to find used bean bags and find fillings. It’ll be way cheaper than in a craft store!

Refresh your space with accents

Accents can elevate your room’s vibe and really tie everything together. Look for accents in your nearest home goods store, but be sure to include your favorite trinkets from home. 

Here are some more cool dorm decor ideas to add color and flavor to your living space.

Plants

Decorating with plants is a cool dorm decor idea for making any space feel a little more alive. These green wonders not only look beautiful, but also purify and humidify the air, making you happier and relaxed.

succulents
Succulents are easy to maintain and will liven up any space

If you’re a busy student who can’t keep their plants alive for dear life, pick greenery that’s low-maintenance. For example, different cacti and succulents, jade plant, string of pearls, and English ivy require less frequent watering than other plants.

Mirrors

Another great college dorm decor idea is the classic mirror. It’ll bring more light into your room as well as the illusion of extra space. Put it in the right place, and it’ll become your favorite spot for selfies and OOTDs.

bedroom mirror
Source: YELLOW LOTUS via Pinterest

You can choose a big statement mirror and lean it against the wall—no drilling and hanging necessary. Or you can go the gallery wall route and attach several smaller mirrors to your wall with the help of double-sided tape. 

If you’re easily distracted, I suggest avoiding placing mirrors right next to or in front of your study desk. 

Reed diffusers

Since you can’t light candles in most dorms for fire safety reasons, fragrance sticks are a great alternative. Here’s why:

  • Just like a candle, they can make your room smell good
  • They look chic, especially if put in a cool vase or glass bottle (DIY dorm room decor idea—pick a plain vase and customize it)
reed diffuser
Source: Unsplash

As you can see, the decor ideas I mentioned above are fully customizable according to your taste. 

In case you’re not sure of the design vibe you want to go for yet, I got you. 

Here are some trends that are hot this year, predicted to pick up some steam next year, and are sure to look lovely in your room.

Shades of green

From lime to sage, in both fashion and interior, hues of green are IN right now. Lately, people are looking to bring the feel of nature into their urban homes more, and green works great for that. 

shades of green
Source: Pantone

Green is not as tough of a cookie as it may seem (at least it did to me). You can build a harmonious space combining green and pretty much the whole rainbow. 

  1. Mixed with earth tones
  1. Green with gold elements
green and gold elements
Source: Cloud Nine Interiors via Pinterest
  1. Sage green with mauve
sage and mauve green bedroom
Source: Fab Mood Inspiration via Pinterest

Japandi design

Japandi refers to the combination of Japanese and Scandinavian design. Japandi is characterized by minimalism, sleekness, and functionality. This is quite a new trend that blends the best of both design styles.

Japandi combines the Scandinavian concept of hygge (coziness, warm atmosphere, hominess) and the Japanese notion of wabi-sabi (beauty is imperfect and short-lasting). 

The typical Japandi interior will have a lot of muted, neutral colors, natural materials, and warm textures.

Source: Pinterest (p a l m s t u d i o, Homies) and @heim.spiel

Maximalism 

A trend that’s almost the complete opposite of Japandi is maximalism. It’s completely blown up—searches for maximalism decor on Pinterest have gone up three times the past year. Experts have guessed it’s likely because people spent more time at home re-evaluating what kind of interiors bring them joy.

The main concepts that can be observed in maximalist spaces are:

  • Explosive colors
  • Repetitive patterns
  • Statement pieces
  • A mix of textures and colors
  • Blend of styles

What I particularly love about maximalism is the fact that such interiors are very personal to the owner. Maximalism celebrates the unique taste and character of the homeowner and encourages them to show it in their home. In maximalism design less more is more and you shouldn’t hold back on expressing yourself.

Put the decor in your room before buying it

Sounds impossible, but it’s quite easy! You can check out how your dorm decor idea will fit in your actual room. Here’s how you can do it with Printful’s Design Maker:

  1. Go to printful.com and click Design Maker in the header menu.
  2. Choose your product from the left side menu. I went to Home & living > Wall art and then picked the Enhanced Matte Paper Poster.
  3. Choose the size, orientation, and then add your design. You can upload your own artwork by clicking Choose file or make your design from scratch with free clipart and ready-made designs by clicking Add Clipart or Add Quick Design.
printful design maker
  1. When you’re done designing, press Continue.
printful mockup
  1. Then choose Transparent mockups. That’ll give you an image of your product with a transparent background which you can then easily put on top of a picture of your room. Make sure to download a PNG file to keep its transparency.
printful mockup styles
  1. Download/open a photo editing app that allows inserting an image on top of another. I use PhotoScape X (it’s free if you want to get it). Open a picture of your room and then insert a PNG image of your custom product on top. And there you have it, now you can see how the dorm wall decor idea will look like in your room!
editing app

This way, you can get a preview of any product you want to customize with Printful and teleport it straight into your room. Try it out with bean bags, flags, pillows, and more!

Express yourself in dorm decor

Your dorm room should be your shrine and safe space, and you should decorate it to feel like one too.

When picking decor for your dorm room, include elements that bring you joy, visualize your aesthetic, and think about what you need to give your living space a sense of home. All these decor puzzle pieces put together will reveal a big, beautiful picture that represents your personality.

Try these dorm decor ideas yourself and let me know in the comments if you tried any of them out. Have a wonderful college experience and happy decorating!

Laura is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful. She speaks 5 languages and her professional passion lies in translating, copywriting, and the overall art of marketing.

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