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10 college dorm room decorating ideas

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jul 07, 2015

Many teens and some in their early 20s will soon be calling a 15 x 15’ dorm room home for the next several months.

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But what steps can students take to make it feel like a home away from home, and how can they accomplish this without cluttering the limited new space?

If a student's old bedroom is littered with last week’s clothes, habits need to change. Belongings discarded on the floor of a dorm room will make it appear even more crowded.

If a student knows his roommate ahead of time they may work together to develop compatible concepts and color schemes. Students: Remember to check with the college for decorating regulations and rules.

When making any purchase, be certain to have the right sizes by pre-measuring room specifications. has compiled tips for making the most of  the new (limited) space by putting the fun into functional pieces.

Rug or carpet
Posters, murals, pictures, temporary wallpaper or decals
Beanbag chairs or floor cushions
A room divider
Plastic storage bin
Floor mirror or coat rack
Flowers and plants

Besides the usual go-to discount and department stores like Target and Macy's, thrift shops and art museum gift stores are great choices for unusual finds. There are also plenty of summer garage sales for the budget-conscious, so now is the time to visit your local neighborhoods.

Use your major for more than a college degree to create a theme for your dorm. Whether you are a music or an accounting major, interesting choices can be plumbed to set you on the right course, points out Sophie Leon and Daley Quinn from

1. Bedspread: The anchor of your room in terms of selecting a bold pattern and colors. If your taste is more subtle, then try adding a jazzy throw blanket or decorative pillows to your sleep ensemble.

2. Curtains: If your room isn’t already provided with a window treatment, then choose ruffles, lace or no-frills colorful blinds. Whatever your preference, tie it in with the bedspread scheme.

3. Rug or carpet: The purpose is to keep your tootsies warm when you land out of bed for that early class so find an area rug that is soft and soothing. This choice is one of the most important decorating decisions as it pulls together your room décor.

4. Lamps: Not only will they add extra warmth and brightness to your room, they provide an opportunity to show your personality. Whether you are the studious banker’s-desk-lamp type or retro-lava-lamp type, there are many excellent choices to go with a tall lamp to make your quarters appear larger. Height draws the eye upwards, observes Julie from

5. Posters, murals, pictures, temporary wallpaper, and decals: The best way to add a personal touch to your blank walls is by hanging photos of loved ones. Familiar faces will also give you a feeling of comfort during times when you’re stressed. You can use's free online tool to make any picture into a large poster.

Also, giant printable murals will make your room feel more spacious as explained by Gabby Noone from Buzzfeed. You can also buy temporary wallpaper and wall decals from sites like Fathead, and others.

Another great resource for making your wall art pop is by using washi tape. It is a colored paper tape that won’t leave a residue and can be purchased on Amazon as well as at craft stores like Michaels.

6. Coat rack: Add a touch of style while storing extra clothes, belts, purses and of course, coats. Again, the rack’s height also will help create the impression of a larger room.

7. Bean bag chairs, floor cushions, room divider: These are useful accent pieces that will make your room inviting to everyone while giving you a little extra privacy when your roomie’s guests stop by for a visit.

8. Flowers and plants: These inexpensive embellishments will add “life” to your dorm and Elizabeth Palermo from says they will also keep the air purified by absorbing toxic gases. Another bonus is making or purchasing decorative pots for your indoor foliage.

9. Plastic storage bins: Splashes of neon colors with plastic organizers also double as great extra tables for your printer or those extra plants. With the purchase of bed risers, bins can be shoved under the bed. Or you can buy upright bins containing drawers for even more space to stash that laundry you still haven’t washed.

10. Floor Mirror: A large mirror will make a room expand by creating the illusion of extra square footage. There are many different sizes and styles to reflect your individual flair.

Venturing out on your own for college is a great time to practice decorating techniques. By the time you graduate and move into your first apartment, however, you might want to reconsider that lava lamp.

This story originally appeared on

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