10 Ways To Individualize Your Dorm Room

I have several friends who are sending children to college this summer. My own step son will also be heading for college this summer. I wanted to share a few tips for organizing and decorating the new home away from home!

Before you get started:

1. Be sure to get the dorm rules as far as holes in the wall!

2. Get the schools rules as far as fridges, hot plates, Keurigs, microwaves, etc.! 

3. Talk to your roommate(s) (about going half on things like the mini fridge, TV & other items that can be shared. 

4. Figure out what furniture comes with the dorm.


1. Bedding

For your bed you can purchase:

  • Mattress pad (makes bed more comfortable) 
  • Fitted Sheet
  • Pillow Cases
  • Comforter 
  • Two pillows 
  • Throw pillows (most of the time these end up on the floor when I’m sleeping but they look nice)

2. Desk Accessories 

This is an area where you can let your creativity shine through! I’d also recommend considering options that are vertical which allow you to save space and hold more like the white option pictured above. 

You should have the following options:

  • Stapler & staples 
  • Tape dispenser 
  • 3 whole punch
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Notebooks
  • Binders 

3. Storage Containers 

Remember to take advantage of going vertical whenever possible. You also have the option of using risers to lift your bed & create more storage space. 

4. Great bags 

Your bags will be an important part of your collegiate experience! Consider whether you’d like a backpack, a messenger bag or a tote bag. Make sure there is lots of storage!

5. Mini fridge magnets

If you & your roommate have a mini fridge you can use it to bring out more of your personal style. You can purchase a box of business card magnets at any office supply store & turn anything into a magnet! 

There are also fridge accessory caddies like the one above that you can pick up at places like Target

6. Desktop Wallpapers 

When deciding on laptop vs. desktop I’d recommend the laptop. A desktop will force you to remain in your dorm to do your work. You never know when your roommate will make too much noise so you should have the option of doing your work in other spaces. Most campuses have state of the art computer labs so you should be fine. Search “desktop wallpapers” on Pinterest & several options will come up. 

7. Area Rug

An area rug is a great way to add softness to your room & to differentiate your room from other spaces. If you get a cozy one it makes a great space to sit! 

8. Unique Sox & Great Slippers 

Always wear Sox or shoes! These also make great conversation starters when you’re trying to break the ice with new people!

Nothing says home like great fabric & house shoes! 

9. Decorating with photos 

If you aren’t allowed to put holes in the wall you can create frames with washi (decorative) tape available at office supply stores, Michaels & here on Amazon.

10. Lighting

Most dorms have terrible lighting! Invest in at least a floor lamp & a desk lamp. Rope lights & “fairy” lights can also provide great mood & dramatic lighting. You can also purchase a HUE light bulb (color) which will allow you to create multiple light colors! We’ve converted 4 rooms in our house to HUE lamps & will eventually replace all bulbs with HUE bulbs! Learn more here

Here are a few general inspiration pics:

The flowered mirror is a project you can easily create with Faux flowers, a wire cutter & a hot glue gun! 

Here are 10 places you can shop:

1. Bed Bath & Beyond

2. The Container Store

3. Homegoods

4. Hobby Lobby

5. Target 

6. TJ Maxx

7. Nordstrom’s Rack

8. Marshalls 

9. Walmart 

10. Amazon.com 

Feel free to post comments below! I’d love to see photos of your organized & decorated dorm room! 

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