Back to College: How to Decorate Your Dorm Like a Pro

Whether you’re a first time college student, returning student, or a parent of a college kid, picking out dorm decor and necessities can be a stressful process. We’re here to ease the transition with a how-to geared towards helping you make the most out of your tiny, closet-sized room that you’ll spend countless hours in for the next school year. So read on for the do’s and don’ts and everything you need to know about decorating your college dorm this fall.

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1. start with your color combo

Even if you aren’t going to go crazy with decorating every inch of your room, it’s good to have a color scheme to keep things consistent. Try to stick to one or two main colors as you don’t want your tiny dorm room looking like a skittles commercial when you’re done decorating. A great way to form a color palette is to pick one neutral - like gray, white, or black - and then add a pop of color that you love! A few colors that are super popular in dorm decor sections are mint green, blush pink, navy, and red.

2. Buy Your Basics

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Now that you’ve got the color combo down, it’s time to make some purchases. Start with the items that are going to stand out the most in your space. Your bedspread is going to be one of the most stand-out items in the room, so we recommend picking that first so you can proceed to match the rest of your decor items. It’s a good idea to stick to a more neutral comforter, because as you get into your later college years, you may not be obsessing over the color you picked for freshman year. By sticking with a neutral like white or gray, it’s SO easy to pop in and out colored accents in your pillow cases or throw blankets.

Another great tip to add some cozy vibes in your space is to purchase a larger than needed comforter size. If you have a twin extra long bed, order a full size! It will hang over the bed more to hide under-the-bed storage.

3. Add in the Accents


Now it’s time to add decor accents to your space! Be careful not to go crazy with tons of decorative items. Your small dorm room will get crowded very quickly and these items will likely just collect dust over the course of the school year. Our recommendation is to only pick a few small decor items - maybe a succulent, a framed photo, and some small canvas prints. What you won’t regret purchasing is anything that covers up the ugly dorm room walls. Tapestries are great for covering up large portions of your walls and there are tons of options for photo hanging as well!

Other items to pick up during your dorm shopping are throw pillows, fun pillow cases, an area rug, a lamp, a soft throw blanket, a mirror, and cute baskets or bins for your snacks, makeup & toiletries, and your school supplies.

If you want to take your dorm room to the next level, there are a few more touches to enhance your decor vibes:

  • Curtains: Did you know you could use large command hooks to hang curtains? Just hang two large-sized command hooks at an even level on either side of your window and then rest a thin curtain rod on the hooks! This works great and doesn’t leave a mark on the walls when it’s time to move out!

  • Headboard: If you’re someone who likes to do homework while sitting in bed, a headboard can zip-tied to your dorm bed to provide support for sitting up and to transform the space as well.

  • Hanging Rack: Dorm rooms don’t always come with closets and sometimes a small armoire just doesn’t cut it. If you’re worried about having space for your clothes or want somewhere to dry out your delicate clothes, a hanging rack can solve that problem!

Here are some MUST HAVE items that you NEED as a college student living in a dorm:

  • A mattress topper: those mattresses at college are thin, not comfy, and most likely not what you’re used to at home. By splurging on a nice mattress topper, you are going to dramatically increase the quality of your sleep - which you’re gonna want after pulling an all-nighter studying for midterms.

  • A mattress cover: Who knows what could be in or on the mattress that your school provides. It’s a good idea to cover it with an encasement, so you can have an extra barrier in between your mattress and your topper or bedding.

  • A stool: If you want to store things under your bed, you’ll have to raise it. If you don’t want to have to jump into your bed everyday, you may want to purchase a small stool so you can step on up!

  • Plastic bins: Throughout the school year, you may find some unwanted critters in your dorm room. In order to make sure no bugs get into your stuff, it’s best to store your things in plastic bins instead of cardboard (some bugs like roaches like to eat cardboard).


The Meyer Lucas Team at Compass is a top producing real estate team with offices in Jupiter, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona. Founder and president, Holly Meyer Lucas is recognized as an expert in the field of real estate, specifically within the sports & entertainment luxury real estate niche, serving as the Realtor for many professional athletes who reside in the Jupiter and Palm Beach area. She has been featured across numerous national and local publications and media outlets, including offering her expert perspective on local real estate news in the Palm Beach area. Meyer Lucas agents work with a range of clientele, from first time homebuyers to multi-million dollar luxury estates. Learn more about the Meyer Lucas team at