Easy Ways to Bring Some Much-Needed Style to Your Kid’s College Dorm Room

Easy Ways to Bring Some Much-Needed Style to Your Kid’s College Dorm Room

We have talked about dorm essentials—those must-have items to keep your college warm, cozy, safe, and ready to study. Now, let’s talk design. 

Dorm rooms are ugly and often old, which means that, while they may be built for function, they’re definitely lacking in style. With a few easy and inexpensive tricks, you can jazz up the space so they don’t feel like they’re living in a jail cell.


There will likely be one window in your child’s dorm, and it will probably be covered in cheap blinds. You can give them an extra dose of privacy and also inject some style into the space with a cute curtain. Be sure to pick up a tension rod and choose a curtain that has a pocket or tabs at the top to allow the rod to be inserted, because you likely won’t be allowed to add a real curtain rod to the room.  

A nice rug

If your child ends up with decent-looking/fairly new flooring in the dorm, consider yourself extremely lucky. You can counteract the ugly with a good rug. 

Here are a few tips for choosing the right rug based on experience: 1) Be careful with color selection. Yes, that white rug would look great—for about 10 minutes; 2) Pay attention to the pile—a thick rug with long fibers is stylish, but can be hard to keep clean and looking nice. Natural fibers are easier to take care of.

Contact paper or peel-and-stick wallpaper

There are so many ways you can use these fashionable and functional items in a dorm, like:

• To dress up the expanse of white walls
• To cover up the horrible plastic dresser drawers
• To line the closet shelves
•To bring a little interest to the back of bookcases
•A long bedskirt

Most dorms are small and devoid of extra living space, so many dorm dwellers loft their beds. This gives them room underneath for storage. Useful, yes. Attractive, not so much. A long bedskirt can hide the mess underneath, and they’re available for as little as $15. 


The lighting is harsh in a lot of dorm rooms, and insufficient in others. You can layer in lights in the form of a desk lamp or book lamp for function, but bring in some twinkle lights for a bit of whimsy. “Christmas lights can make your room cozy,” said Cappex. “String them along the wall to make your art pop, on the ceiling above your bed for stargazing or around your desk to make studying seem less arduous.”


You’ll want to make sure this type of lighting is allowed in the dorm before purchasing; some dorms limit electronic items, but will allow battery-operated or solar lighting. 




You see a lot of tapestries in dorm rooms because they’re large and lightweight—two factors that allow them to be hung on the wall and cover a lot of space. They’re also available in just about every style and color scheme you can imagine, so your child can showcase their creativity. Check out Society6, Wayfair, or Dormify for some great options. 



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