Decor Tips

How To Decorate Your Dorm Room

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Sep 9, 2023

College is an exciting time. For many, this period in your life signifies your first step towards independence – moving into dorms, away from your family, into your own space.

Photo by Evin Photography

Exciting as it may be, moving out and starting college can also be scary or confusing. That’s why we think it’s so important to create a safe space in your dorm room – one where you can recharge and feel a sense of home.

If you want to check whether a rug or other interior décor fits your dorm room, start previewing it directly in your space!

Go to

  1. Upload a picture of your room.
  2. Indicate your desired rug location.
  3. Browse through the rugs displayed within your room.
  4. Choose one that catches your eye and try different placements!

Creating a safe space starts with your physical environment – your room. As students begin preparing for the busy back to school period, we think it’s the perfect time to start thinking of your space. Let’s start cozying up your dorm room to set up the perfect little nest you need after college classes!

Photo by dormify

What’s In A Standard Dorm Room?

While the average dorm room can vary depending on your institution or location, the average dorm room size is 150 to 250 square feet. Some other common features found across dorm rooms are:

  1. Furniture: Basic dorm rooms usually come furnished with:
    • Twin-sized beds (sometimes XL twin for added length).
    • Desks and chairs for studying.
    • Dressers for clothing.
    • Built-in or standalone closets.
    • Overhead lights, though they might be basic and not very bright.
    • Shelving or hutch over the desk area.

  2. Walls: Walls are usually painted in neutral colors (like off-white). In older buildings, walls might be cinder block. Decorations might be limited to what can be hung without causing damage (i.e., no nails). Many students use removable hooks, washi tape, or poster putty to hang posters, photos, and other decor.

  3. Flooring: Flooring can be either carpeted or tiled. Some students add area rugs for added warmth and style.

  4. Windows: Most dorm rooms have at least one window, equipped with basic blinds or curtains provided by the college. Students often add their own curtains for better light control and decor. Curtains can also soften space and make it feel more like home.

  5. Bathroom: Not all dorm rooms have private bathrooms. In traditional dormitory setups, there might be communal bathrooms on each floor. Some newer dorms or suite-style accommodations might feature shared bathrooms between a smaller number of rooms.

  6. Amenities: Depending on the dormitory, rooms might have:
    • Air conditioning or heating units.
    • Ethernet jacks and/or Wi-Fi access.
    • Cable TV hookup.

  7. Lofted Beds: Some dorms feature beds that are lofted to make space for a desk or seating area underneath. Others might offer bunk beds, especially in rooms designed for more than two students.

Photo by dormify

How To Decorate Your Dorm Room

Don’t be disheartened if you find your new room boring – college dorm rooms are a blank slate for you to personalize your space according to your own style.

Read on for our tips to decorate your dorm room!

Think Practically

Since dorm rooms are often shared, start brainstorming the general layout of your room to make sure your furniture is where you want it. Think not only of aesthetics, but also of the practical use of your space.

For example, how will you coordinate the workspace? Do you and your roommate want to study side-by-side, or do you prefer to split everything evenly?

Storage and Organization

To keep your room cozy and enjoyable, you’ll have to make the most of the small space available to you. A key element for this is storage and organizing – get creative!

Don’t worry – even if you’re not allowed to use nails or screws on the walls, you can opt for adhesive tools instead. Make use of cute storage caddies, stackable and foldable crates, shelves that clip onto your bed or floating adhesive shelves.

Add Rugs

Rugs are not only extremely practical, but they also tie the whole room together. Think of rugs like a wallpaper for your floor. If your dorm room has cement floors or thin, industrial grade carpet, adding a rug can change the whole atmosphere and add a sense of warmth.

Add an area rug under your bed or desk, layer smaller rugs on top of an area rug and enjoy the softness underfoot while adding color and life to your room.

Rugs come in all shapes, sizes, patterns, textures and pile heights. A popular choice in dorm rooms is a soft, fluffy rug to give you a soft landing space when you step out of bed.

Take advantage of modern tools like Augmented Reality rug visualizers to virtually place any rug in your dorm room and see what looks best.

Photo by HGTV

Functional And Aesthetic Lighting

Dorm rooms tend to be dim, which is less than ideal if you’re looking to do some late-night studying or cramming for an exam.

Add lights that serve a practical purpose while also acting as a décor piece. Whether it’s a bedside light, floor lamp, fairy lights or a table lamp for your workspace, the possibilities are endless.

Once you find a lamp you like, choose the type of light you want to emanate from it. Do you want a warm light with hints of yellow, or a bright white light? You can even go for a color-changing LED light. You’ll be surprised how much lighting can change up the atmosphere of your room!

Plants, Plants And More Plants

We all developed a passion for plants during the COVID lockdown, right? Adding greenery to your room will help bring a sense of freshness and color. Plus, plants can be great for your health, as some have air purifying qualities.

If you’re a busy student, choose plants that fit your lifestyle. Some plants are extremely low maintenance, requiring little sunlight and only needing to be watered once every few days (or even months!), like the popular aloe vera or snake plants.

Use Your Bed As Décor

Your bed is likely to take up a sizable portion of your room, so use it to your advantage. Get bed covers and pillowcases with fun colors and patterns, layer cozy pillows, bed throws and quilts to create texture and add your favorite stuffed animal to remind you of home!

Decorate Your Walls

No need for nails here. If you want to hang up art, opt for self-adhesive, damage-free hooks such as these command hooks.

Use washi tape to create a frame, wall putty to hang up posters, or use fairy lights, wire and mini clothespins to create a trendy “clothesline” photo wall with pictures of your favorite memories.

Photo by The Crafted Life


How Should I Choose A Dorm Room Rug?

It can be difficult to choose the right rug for your dorm. Use our free Augmented Reality "See Rug in Your Room" feature to see rugs in your own space so you can be sure of your decision.

What Stores Or Platforms Sell Dorm Rugs?

Nowadays, it's easy to find many different area rugs at all price ranges for your dorm room. You can use DressMyCrib's rug-visualizer to help you choose and then shop for them online from retailers like Amazon, Wayfair, Target, Ikea, and Walmart. With just a phone, you can preview any rug anywhere in your room - completely free!