Dos and Don'ts of Dorm Decor

Check out our firsthand knowledge of everything you must know about decorating your first dorm room.

Buy Right

Don't: Overpurchase for your dorm room. The room will be small, so buying everything you see may not be the best -- for your room or for your budget.

Do: Wait until you settle into your room to add the small accessories. While it's tempting to buy all the cool dorm frills, take your time to make those purchases. Plus, items will go on sale a couple weeks after school starts.

Pack Up Wisely

Don't: Bring everything you own from home. Paring down your possessions, and your clothes, will make it easier to move into your new space.

Do: Bring the essentials. Remember, you are sharing a room with someone else so there isn't room for everything, especially when it comes to clothes. If you live close to school leave most of your winter clothes at home until Thanksgiving break. Then swap for your warm-weather wardrobe during spring break.

Avoid an Overly Matched Look

Don't: Declare that you and your roommate must have everything matching. After all, you could have a new roommate next year, or next semester.

Do: Chat with your roommate before you head to school to choose a color scheme that suits both of your tastes. Then choose your own coordinating items. This makes it easy to incorporate your own personality into your part of the room. Choosing bold colors with large patterns will add life to the dull white walls of a dorm.

Go Sturdy

Don't: Splurge on expensive bedding.

Do: Pick a bedspread that will withstand the wear and tear of college life. Solid, inexpensive bedding is easy to replace if you happen to leak highlighter onto the bedspread. Spice up the solids with patterned sheets and funky pillows. Remember, lots of pillows are nice to curl up in and read your textbooks.

Seat Comfy

Don't: Choose the cheapest desk chair.

Do: Invest in a comfortable, ergonomic desk chair. Sit in comfort while you spend many hours slaving over homework. A rolling desk chair can also provide extracurricular fun with chair races through the dorm halls.

Zone Out

Don't: Live at your desk.

Do: Create "zones" that will help keep your life organized in your small room. Set out areas that are specific to what you will do there. For example your desk will be your study zone, the futon your living zone, and bed your relaxation zone.

Let There Be...

Don't: Sit in the dark!

Do: Most dorms come equipped with a florescent overhead light; however, additional illumination is a must. A glow from a floor and desk lamp will add atmosphere to your dorm room.


Don't: Stare at blank walls.

Do: Since most colleges don't allow you to paint, spice up the walls with your own wallpaper created by scrapbook pages. Buy multiple pages of the same pattern then line them up, showing off the bold pattern. Use adhesive strips to attach the paper to the wall.

More: Tips for a Creative Dorm Room


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