The first year your child moves into his or her own dorm room is a biggie. It’s like an emotional roller coaster for everyone; the highs a new adult learning to make his/her way in the world and the terrifying fears that can accompany that! Decorating a dorm room can make all the difference for both parents and their college freshman.
As a parent, you’ll be able to feel a part of things and your child will be able to combine his/her favorite things from home along with new decorations, bedding and accessories that will help them to claim their own space in the world, literally and figuratively.
Easy DIY Dorm Room Decor Ideas to Make the Space Their Own
What stays and what goes. The first step is to sit down and see what they’re taking and what they’re leaving. Are they bringing their favorite quilt that grandma made for them? If so, you can cross bedding off the list. Did they get a cool batik from a college-savvy cousin as a graduation present? Envision it on the wall and then select additional decorations and accents that will complement it.
What dimensions are you working with? Depending on where your child will be going to school, the dorms may be impressively sized (usually the case at older colleges) or more like a micro-housing unit (often the case in newer dorms). See if you can get the room’s dimensions ahead of time so you don’t over-buy.
Invest in an area rug. I highly suggest investing in an area rug. Dorm floors are usually covered with either industrial tile or a neutrally colored, flat berber carpet that does nothing to add to the room’s appeal. If you’re in contact with your future roommate, you might want to check in on style preferences to make sure the color or pattern will work for him/her too. Otherwise, buy a smaller size that can be used under a desk or peeking out from the bed to help hide the boring stuff.
Make a faux-headboard. You can make your own faux-headboard (or daybed-style side wall version) Using heavy cardboard or foam board, a little cotton batting and a glue gun. Cut it any shape you like and then choose an attractive fabric to cover it. This will hide boring wall space and add visual interest.
Accent pillows galore. It’s nearly impossible to have too many pillows because the dorm room bed serves as both your couch and hang out space. Buy a half a dozen pillows in different shapes and sizes. They’ll come in handy when two or three friends are hanging out and need a little extra back support against the wall.
Loft one or both beds if you can. Talk to the maintenance department to see if they have any extra bed frames laying around. Often, they’ll let you use one or two to loft the beds. You sleep on the top and gain the extra square footage below for your desk, a couch, fridge, storage containers, etc.
Use wall decals. While you can’t paint or do anything permanent to the blank dorm walls, you can use temporary wall decals that can be removed when you move out. There are all kinds of decals from maps and murals to fun shapes and designs. They’re unique, visually interesting and – if you’re careful when removing them – they can be re-used.