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Starting college is exciting; starting living independently is a new adventure. Yet, sharing a dorm room with another student may be both fun and challenging. While most dorm rooms suffer from lack of space so that everything is shared—it’s inevitable unless you are lucky enough to get a single dorm room—in this article, we’re going to focus on the fun part, the one about redesigning it. We’ve done our homework and came up with a few dorm room decorating ideas that may inspire you to turn a dull-looking dorm room into a stylish, nice, and cozy home.

Read on about cool dorm ideas we’ve collected for you!

Dorm Room Ideas for Everyone

  1. Arrange Dorm Space Wisely
  2. Make Your Desk Look Nice
  3. Create a Photo Wall
  4. Arrange Books in Neat Piles
  5. Create a Bulletin Board

Dorm Room Ideas for Girls

  1. Adopt a Few Plants
  2. Get Stylishly Organized
  3. Add a Neon Sign
  4. Add Removable Wallpaper
  5. Use a Garment Rack
  6. Hang String Lights

Dorm Room Ideas for Guys

  1. Organize a Work Zone
  2. Loft Your Bed
  3. Add Kitchen Elements
  4. Add Decals to Your Walls
  5. Product Management

Dorm Room Ideas for Everyone

There are so many college dorm room ideas that it was hard to decide which ones to select for our list. Here are some tips we think might be useful for any dorm type.

1. Arrange Dorm Space Wisely

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Before you start decorating your dorm, adding plants, photos, and other small details, we suggest that you consider the potential of the entire space and use it wisely. Rearranging the beds can make a real difference, add more space, and give the dorm an entirely different look and feel. Perhaps, there is a better way to place desks? How would it work if you moved a dresser into a different corner of the room? What about turning your bed into a day bed? Test different placements for the furniture and consider changing some of the items. If your dorm room is really tiny, you need to think about how to use every bit of space.

2. Make Your Desk Look Nice

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Once you are done with the furniture layout, you can get into details. Your desk is one of the most important places in your dorm, as this is where you study and spend long hours. The possibilities are endless when it comes to making it neat and turning it into a comfortable working place. Keep your textbooks, notebooks, and other materials organized, get a nice pen holder, keep the space for your laptop in the center, pin the photos of your friends and family to the wall.

3. Create a Photo Wall

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You can create a photo wall next to your desk, above your bed, or basically on any wall. You can make a photo collage, or just select random photos, or select photos by their color palette or any other criteria. A photo wall is the easiest and surest way to add life and personalize your dorm. Try different layouts: square Polaroid sets, patterns where vertical and horizontal photos are interchanged, simple photo strings, or photo clip string lights. Whatever option you choose, we are sure it’ll brighten up your dorm.

4. Arrange Books in Neat Piles

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As a student, you are bound to have loads of books, textbooks, and notebooks. Why not use them as one of the dorm room decorating ideas? The first and simplest way to do so is just to arrange them in neat piles according to their size. Also, you can arrange them vertically or horizontally on the shelf. Alternatively, you can wrap all your books in identical covers and place them in piles here and there. They’ll serve their direct purpose, live longer, and be an element of your decor at the same time.

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5. Create a Bulletin Board

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A bulletin board is a must-have you need to keep close to your desk. You can use a corkboard, fabric and paint board, or even an upcycled picture frame to pin your schedules, to-do lists, lists of your friends’ birthdays, recipes, and etc. Even if you have a planner where you keep everything nice and organized, you can use a bulletin board to pin the idea down and get back to it later. Also, it’s a great way to remember everything, especially if the reminders are right under your nose or directly in front of you—this way, you simply won’t be able to forget anything.

Dorm Room Ideas for Girls

6. Adopt a Few Plants

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If you need to breathe a new life into your dorm room, get a plant (or two). Due to the lack of space, you most likely won’t be able to keep many plants—you simply won’t have enough room for them—but a few low-maintenance ones such as the ZZ plant or the snake plant will do the trick. You can also arrange a few hanging plants in your dorm. Philodendrons and pothos plants will look absolutely beautiful in macrame hangers. Though plants are one of the universal cute dorm ideas, we decided to suggest it as a dorm room idea for girls, as guys usually prefer not to bother with watering and overall plant maintenance.

7. Get Stylishly Organized

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Dorm rooms are generally small, so keeping a large wardrobe is not an option. Therefore, this tip is also for girls, as their closets can be quite large and require a lot of attention. We suggest that you separate the space where all your clothes will be stored with a tension rod and a curtain. You can curtain off the things that you are not wearing at the moment and keep your room nice and clean. Alternatively, you can hang them stylishly along the wall; just don’t throw your clothes everywhere.

8. Add a Neon Sign

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Here is the idea to brighten up your dorm and add some old-school chic to it: add a neon sign that spells your favorite word to the wall. This is so 80s, and your room will look cool when you turn off the lights.

9. Add Removable Wallpaper

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While you can’t make any grand changes to your dorm room, making it less bland with the help of removable wallpaper is something you can do. Nowadays, there are so many patterns and colors to choose from; just make sure to find the brand that won’t leave residue on your dorm walls when you are moving out.

10. Use a Garment Rack

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Another tip to organize your clothes neatly and compactly is by using a mobile garment rack. It will complement any existing shelves and closets and provide additional storage space for dresses, jeans, hoodies, and shoes. Its main benefit is that you can move it from corner to corner and place where it suits you most at the moment.

11. Hang String Lights

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Yes, right above your bed, the twinkle lights will both serve as decoration and as a source of light when you turn off overhead lights. Besides, a string light curtain will make your room nice and cozy. Adding photos to the string (we’ve already suggested it above) may be a good idea too.

Dorm Room Ideas for Guys

Dorms, where guys live, look a bit different than the ones where girls do; therefore, boys’ dorm room ideas will be less fancy but more practical.

12. Organize a Work Zone

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Take double care to arrange your workplace: your desk and chair. While college life is exciting, your major focus is on studying; therefore, making your workplace comfortable and cozy is your priority. You may consider moving your desk to the window to get more light (if it’s possible) or getting a better chair. Arrange textbooks neatly, put a calendar and a corkboard to pin important notes.

13. Loft Your Bed

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Lofting your bed will help you create more space. Since most dorm bunk beds offer the capability of lofting, you can use this opportunity to get a place for storage or relaxation. Once you remove the bottom bed, you can arrange a working or storage space inside. Even if you have enough space in your dorm, trying some lofted dorm bed ideas might be beneficial, as more free space is always better than little, especially if you don’t need this bottom bed.

14. Add Kitchen Elements

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Even if you don’t like to cook, having a small kitchen-like facility equipped with a microwave and a mini-fridge is a great idea. You can get both second-hand, by the way. If there is no space for those, having at least a coffee-maker and a toaster will also do the trick.

15. Add Decals to Your Walls

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While you doubt that you’ll be willing to implement any complicated decor ideas; however, we suggest making dull bedroom walls a bit brighter with decals. Besides, you can’t make any permanent changes in a dorm, so decals are ideal: they will add a bit of charm to white walls. Besides, they are easy to remove when it’s time to move out. You can make various stylish patterns with decals, and it’s not complicated at all.

16. Product Management

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Another dorm room idea for guys: to keep all your bathroom products nicely stored, get a wall caddy. You can hang it on a shower head or a hanger. If you share your dorm with other students, get a wall caddy for each roommate. The more product storage options you have, the less cluttered your dorm will be.

Starting to live independently away from home is a huge step. Your dorm room will be your new home for the following years, so it’s natural that you want to turn it into your favorite place! We hope that our college dorm decorating ideas will be helpful to you, and you’ll be inspired and maybe come up with some on your own. Good luck with your studies!