How to Adorn Your Dorm

Here are some tips for working with your roommate to decorate your college dorm.

Moving into a college dorm is the first time many college students find themselves with a place to call their own.

But the freedom to decorate your place however you want can seem overwhelming at times. Here are some tips for how to decorate your dorm and transform it from a small, boring box to a place to call home.

Getting started

When beginning the initial stage of decorating, make sure you talk to your roommate. Whether you're already best friends or you're going in blind, it is important to make some decisions together when creating your new living space. You should both be able to feel at home in the dorm.


A dorm can usually be centered around one major piece of furniture. A futon will double as a sitting area as well as an extra sleeping space for guests. Other useful pieces of furniture include an entertainment stand, nightstand or bookshelves for extra storage. Purchasing a rug or piece of carpet can also help make a room more colorful and warm. Talk with your roommate to plan which items each of you will bring.


In a small space, organization and storage are essential. Wall hooks will work well for bathrobes, coats, hoodies and more. A hanging shoe organizer on the back of the door is great for shoes and odd objects like hairbrushes, extra soap and curling irons. Flat, wide plastic bins that easily slide under beds and futons are a good idea for storing seasonal items like thick sweaters or tank tops and shorts.

Bedding & towels

For the bathroom, it's a good idea to choose towel colors that are easy to differentiate from your roommate's. From there, talk with your roommate to choose a shower curtain and bath rug that coordinate. For example, you might choose blue bath towels and your roommate has green, so you can pick a shower curtain with a blue and green pattern. It's the same idea for bedding: choose comforters and sheets that coordinate with your roommate's but are easily distinguished come laundry day.

Wall décor

After you've set up your bedding, furniture and storage, it's time for the fun part. But before you start decorating, check with your college to see what its rules are about painting or putting holes in the walls. Show off your personality by decorating your walls with posters, which can usually be bought at a local campus store or online. Or you can be more creative and purchase stick-on wall decals. A dry-erase board and a mirror are also good for practical decorating.


A great way to intertwine tastes with your new roommate is to create a photo collage on the wall. This will serve as a great representation of new and old friends as well as be an inviting decoration on the wall. To start, print off a few photos of friends from home and family members in a few different shapes and sizes. Pick up a pack of inexpensive frames and combine your collections by hanging the frames on the wall. As you transition into your first semester, take a lot of new pictures with your roommate and add them to your wall piece to create a giant compilation of your memories.

Where to shop

At the end of each summer, there are a number of places just bursting at the seams with college décor. Check out any one of the stores listed below to help you create a home while away at college:



JC Penney



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