There are definitely some unique challenges when it comes to dorm room decoration.Let’s consider the likely facts: bare (and unpaintable) walls, ugly bed, carpet last replaced in the 80s, and uncooperative roommate. If this sounds like your new home away from home, don’t despair. There are some ways to combat the bleak dorm room nature and turn it into a cozy college bungalow. Here’s how.
1. Find out what you are and are not allowed to do. Many college dorms provide a list of house rules to residents when they first move in, including any policies regarding dorm décor. Will you be allowed to paint? Hang things on the outside of the door? Add furniture? Update the window treatments? If you aren’t given a list like this or you aren’t sure about a specific idea, ask either an RA or a longtime resident. There’s nothing worse than discovering that you owe a hefty fine at the end of the semester all because your thumb tacks left punctures in the wall.
2. Decide your style. Are you funky or formal? Hip or hand-me-down? Decide what kind of look you are going for—is it the traditional dorm style complete with movie posters and weird lamps? Or do you want to create a relaxed, homey haven that has scented candles and accent pillows? If you are stuck, picking a theme or a color scheme can help. If you have a roommate, try to involve her or him in the planning process and see what you can come up with together.
3. Keep some rules in mind. Often, less is more, especially in a small dorm room space. Instead of cluttering up the walls and the floor with a lot of . . . creativity, choose one or two larger focus pieces to help give a sense of unity and serenity to the room. You can dress these things up with little details, like poster frames for your artwork or window treatments to match your comforter. Save the walls by using temporary hooks or other adhesives that won’t leave marks.
4. Plan your budget. Most students don’t have a lot of money to spend on décor. Decide what you are willing to contribute toward the project. Ask your parents for help.
5. Pick up inexpensive pieces. Now’s the fun part. Shop around for high-quality, but affordable décor. Hit up thrift stores, bargain markets, and hardware depots to find what you need. Go for items that are well constructed and that fit with the overall look you are going for. Think outside the box and consider using inexpensive items for purposes other than those originally intended, such as hanging fabric on the walls or creating artwork with fall leaves. There are usually wallet-friendly ways to construct what you cannot find.
With this plan of action, your dorm will soon become the most fashion-forward on your floor.