College dorm decorating has come a long way in style since teen barn pottery launched rugby striped linens and mini locker side tables in 2003. But now the kitsch fads are being replaced by cool decor that suits the endless dorm room design possibilities. And, yes, bean bag chairs are still a must-have. Savvy online retailers like Room 422, Sleepand Company6 give students a start at curating a piece of their own (okay, probably a piece they’ll have to share, but all the more reason to hone those design skills). If you’re a freshman in college, check out the college’s housing webpage before you jump into planning a dorm. Often this new home will have certain rules about what you can and cannot bring. Candles, for example, are a big no-no, so don’t waste your money on a beautiful candle vase. Instead, opt for a diffuser like Pura, with scents from the new Nest Wellness collection like Blue cypress and snow and autumn plumto keep college nervousness at bay.
You don’t have to bend the rules, just cut back and improvise. “If your child has a direct interest [in design]get a floor plan of the room and see what they allow,” says Lj Savarie, based in Winnetka, Illinois. Savarie Interiors. Even the basics can look “couture” if you personalize it, says Savarie, and she knows a dorm room well, having already sent three kids to college. Laura Park also recommend using bedding instead of basic XL sheets. Here, 15 ideas for transforming a college dorm room with chic outlines for dorm room rules.
Rule 1: Do not use nails, glue, wall hooks or double-sided tape which can damage the walls.
A dorm design does: Command strips are Savarie’s reference for dorm decoration solutions, and some bands even support 20 pounds. Janet Thomasson, mother of three and owner of Thomasson Interiors in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is a fan of Mix tiles, ready-to-use frame with customizable photos that easily attach and detach from walls. A full size leaning mirror is another trick Thomasson uses to turn an underused wall into functional decor.
Rule 2: Do not paint the dorm walls, ceiling, floor and furniture.
A dorm design does: Removable wallpaper is available in a myriad of options from dense flowers at abstract rainbows, and it promises to add style to any dorm room without a permanent imprint. Making your own accent space should take no more than two hours. This self-adhesive wallpaper DIY journal will show you how.
Rule 3: Do not swap dorm furniture.
A dorm design does: Make the most of furniture and think about how you can artfully hide less than stellar pieces. Thomasson Interiors Designer Serena Schupler, mom of four, had fun designing dorm rooms with her daughter last fall. “One of the first things Alex and I did was raise his bed and dress him in a extra long bed skirt hide storage and a mini fridge, creating a more sophisticated space,” she says. Savarie loves a custom headboard for her full residential customers and thinks it can be just as impactful in a dreary dorm room. Room 422 offers foam versions this velcro to the wall. Or you can opt for a Leah Two Headboard Cushion.
Another strategy for adding personality is to go to a local home improvement store with measurements for a dorm room desk and buy a piece of glass to make a cover. “Students can place their favorite photos below and a decorative lamp on top for a truly personalized touch,” says Schupler. You can also place a piece of patterned fabric or a sample wallpaper (even cold wrapping paper can work) for a bright study spot.