Making That College Dorm Stylish


College dorms are the ultimate “shared design experience,” especially freshman year when you don’t know much about your dorm mates. In many cases, college dorm rooms end up looking like two halves of completely different wholes – with a nearly visible line down the middle. The ultimate goal is to find ways to design your section of the room so that it is comfortable and expresses your own, personal style.

7 Tips for Making that College Dorm Stylish

The following tips will help you make your dorm space your own.

Create a color scheme. If you are in contact with your future roommate(s) and are in conversation with them, ask them what they plan to do. While designing a room together is probably a bit of a stretch, knowing what colors(s) they plan to use can help you choose yours. Are you familiar with a Color Wheel? They are fantastic for determining which colors go the best together.

Using complementary colors (colors directly opposite one another on the wheel) is one approach. Using analogous colors (colors that are side-by-side on the wheel) is another. This article is a good introduction to the process. If you and your dorm roommates can coordinate the colors in your individual spaces using the tenets of the color wheel, your room will look amazing, even if your styles are completely different.

Use impermanent color. While the typical nail holes and scuff marks are expected in a dorm room, most colleges forbid more permanent changes – like repainting the walls. Therefore, you will have to find ways to use impermanent color to keep your space from resembling a sterile, white hospital room.

Easy ways to do this include:

  • Creating a large wall board with favorite pictures, posters and memorabilia from back home.
  • Using colorful, decorative throw pillows on your bed – which also serves as a chair, couch and hang-out space when more than one friend stops by.
  • Hang tapestries or wall hangings that add both color and texture to your room.
  • Choosing an attractive bedding set since your bed will always be in the spotlight when your dorm room door is open.

Read, Adding Color Without Adding Paint for more fun ideas for how to add style and color in your dorm space.

Upgrade your “home office.” Your desk is going to be your home within a home over the next several years so you might as well make it as stylish and comfortable as possible. First, make sure you set your desk up in a way that supports ergonomics so you aren’t compromising your physical health by typing in crazy positions. Then, add a little color via desktop organizers, pen/pencil holders and don’t forget an indoor plant or two to add a little life.

Keep that closet organized. Part of keeping any space stylish includes keeping it free of unnecessary clutter. That’s no easy feat in a dorm room, so an efficiently organized closet is key. Dorm closets are notoriously small but you’d be amazed what a difference an efficient closet design will make. The more organized your closet is, the less of its contents will spill into the rest of the room.

Bring the bare minimum with you to start since you’ll only be adding to it as the year progresses. If you live there for a few weeks/months and decide your missing some essentials, you can always have them shipped out. Visit a home furnishings store to find closet organizers that work in both your dorm room and future closets.

Contact Kristina Wolf Design for professional help designing a dorm or college apartment.

Bring Your Vision to Life

Kristina Wolf Design creates memorable interiors in harmony with your personal vision, with minimal stress. Whether it’s a new home interior or the perfect color palette for a paint project, we'll deepen the connection between you and your home while honoring your objectives, schedule and budget.

Contact Us

260 Alvarado Rd
Berkeley,CA 94705
(510) 848-8773
Kristina Wolf Design, Inc., Interior Decorators & Designers, Berkeley, CA