With August comes the mad shopping rush to stock up on dorm room trappings, from bed lifts to shower caddies. A scroll through Pinterest, though, can stir up some serious inspiration in making any old room unique and welcoming.
The mere mention of the word "dorm" brings to mind a host of tired standbys. Posters, tapestries, butterfly chairs—but college students are starting to get a little more creative, and the proof is in the Pinterest board. String lights have been reinvented with quirky shapes and colors; hanging shelves help keep things organized and neat while looking well-appointed; removable tape replaces Fun-Tak for livening up the walls in a temporary fashion. It's clear that there's no reason your dorm can't feel like home, and there's no reason your dorm can't be chic and individualistic. So many of these ideas are DIY, too, so you and your roommate personalize on the cheap.
From hacks to actual layout changes to little touches that cement the personal sanctuary vibe, we've rounded up ten of our favorite Pinterest finds that you can use to make your dorm all you.
Express yourself with marquee signs
Letter boards have kicked dry erase boards to the curb with their retro-cool attitude. They’re a more design-centric way to have a little fun with your messaging, whether it’s a daily inspirational message or a daily joke. Bonus: They're total Instagram fodder.
Decorate without the commitment
There’s a reason the common poster (vintage French movie, anyone?) has become the ultimate dorm decor staple: It’s temporary. But thanks to washi tape, you can get a million times more creative and still peel everything off before finals. Play around with any idea from these tongue-in-cheek windows to colorful confetti motifs to intricate optical illusion patterns.
Light it up with fresh colors & shapes
String lights might as well get issued to every student along with dining cards—but that doesn’t mean they’re old news, just that they’re eternal. After all, what’s an easier way to add a little ambience to any dull dorm? To avoid a too tried-and-true look, choose lights in quirky shapes and/or bright hues, an easy DIY if you have a particular vision in mind.
Say it with neon
A sense of nostalgia for glowing bar signs has been refreshed to be equal parts modern and sweet, and now neon signs are stealing the spotlight everywhere from weddings to restaurants. You can even make your own if you want it to say something near and dear to your fluorescent heart.
Soften up your space with macramé
Consider it the tapestry of today. A macramé wall hanging adds a softer feel to those harsh white walls, and it also supplies a quietly bohemian atmosphere.
Set some creative boundaries
Dorms can be cramped, and they’re usually shared. Boundaries are crucial to your roomie relationship—as well as to your sanity. That doesn’t mean you have to hang a sheet, though. Depending on your space, use sculptural book shelves or a chalkboard divider (hello, to-do lists!) to make a little "me" zone without sacrificing style.
Combine storage & decor with hanging shelves
Speaking of cramped spaces, you might find yourself short of floor space but in dire need of more storage. Look to artful hanging shelves to lift things up, especially cherished treasures you want displayed. It’s a clever way to keep things neat, tidy, and elevated.
Go green with low-maintenance plants
Greenery is an instant burst of energy for any home, big or tiny, with its lush leaves and vibrant shades. The catch is that a lot of plants are hard to take care of, which is especially inconvenient for a packed college schedule. Succulents are the answer—all they need is light and infrequent watering to bring their beauty to your dorm all year.
Cut your latte budget with a caffeinated corner
Caffeine fixes are crucial for everything from all-night cram sessions to early-starting internships, but the nearby coffee shop can drain your budget. Skip the spending and the extra trip with a coffee bar right in your room. It can be compact and pretty to fit right in, and keep you ready to conquer the day.
Cozy up with a chunky throw you made yourself
A crafting hobby is a great way to unwind after an afternoon of biophysics or iambic pentameter, and the end result could be one chic room addition. DIY right into the chunky-knit trend with a throw that will up your bed's style game and offer infinite coziness.
What ways have you zhooshed up your dorm space to make it more like home? Please share your tips with us in the comments.