7 Tenants of Dorm Decor

Moving into a dorm will mean you'll be faced with a lot of challenges in dealing with this new kind of living space. How do you handle a small, shared space? How do you maximize your space? What do or don't you need? Decorating and having a functional space can be a challenge when it's as small as a dorm room. Luckily I've got some tips on how to handle this situation. These can also work for apartment living or your own room so don't feel like I've never helped out those of you living off-campus. This post was sponsored by Residence Hall Linens but all content is my own.

1 - Utilize your vertical space. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Using everything from shelving to command hooks to shower organizers on your walls will really make your space work. You probably don't have much square footage to spare, so finding ways to use your vertical space is critical. You should also work that under-bed storage area with bins!

2 - You can almost never have too many pillows. Coordinating decorative pillows are just always perfect for every space. I don't know why, but pillows just always work.

3 - The same cannot be said of stuffed animals. Seriously, it gets old real fast when they keep falling off your bed and into the dusty depths of that crevice between your bed and the wall where they emerge covered in dust and hair. Limit yourself. Really. Not to mention how weird it is when you have people over and your seating is all taken by your teddies and tiggers.

4 - Color coordinate with your roommate. At least try. Pick one main color or 2-3 colors that go together well. After colors it's pretty easy to throw in neutrals. 

5 - If you can't agree, pull out the old sitcom solution. You have your half, your roommate has theirs. Maybe you have to deal with their entire troll doll collection staring at you in the night, but at the same time, at least you have your own space that the trolls have not invaded.

6 - Experiment with lighting. Lighting is a great way to add flavor and dimension to a space, and let's be real, most of us don't enjoy only being able to go from fluorescent lighting to pitch blackness. Try adding in some floor lamps, christmas/fairy lights, or even just tinting your overhead lighting with cellophane. 

7 - Remind yourself that this is something you have to maintain. Although you may want to have expensive sheets, remember that dorm life isn't exactly the cleanest experience you will ever have. You will probably ruin that thing by spilling Red Bull all over it during finals week. Go for something affordable (like maybe a cute set from RHL) and save your nicest sheets for when your room isn't also your study room, dining room, and living area. 

This post was sponsored by RHL, but all the content and ideas were my own-- they just inspired the topic! If you're looking for some dorm essentials to cross off your shopping list, they might be a good place to start. 



  1. Great post! 2 and 3 are totally on point! haha
    I also like 4. It was really sad when my first roommate totally didn't get that I was trying to color coordinate with her. :( But the room had so much more unity now that Steph and I coordinate!

    1. I'm sorry it didn't work out with your first roommie but I'm glad this year will be better! What colors have you guys picked?

    2. Steph and I agreed on purple as a base color. She originally had a purple & green thing going on, but I think she's been slowly gravitating toward my purple & black. Either way, all three colors went great together, and having a base color made it easy for me to make sure my rugs to matched her decorations, etc.

  2. Great tips!! I made the mistake of keeping a really messy room my first year, and my goal for upcoming sophomore year is to be more coordinated and organized!

    xoxo Miss ALK

    1. I am kind of a mess too. This summer though, I'm living in an apartment with a roommate, away from my parents, and somehow it's made me a lot better at staying clean and doing housework! I guess it was easy to be a slob when I thought of the dorm room as my room, and it's more important for me to be neater in an entire living space. I'm going to take this mentality back to my dorm life! :)

  3. I love this post! Next year will be my first time ever to have my own room (as an RA). I am dreaming of ways to decorate!!!

  4. Fair point with the stuffed animals. If ever there is a time to say goodbye, it's the college years!