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College Move-in Magic: Dorm Decor Ideas

Here are some tips to take a college dorm from old school to new cool.

3 min read
Published on August 11, 2022

When it comes to the most challenging spaces to decorate, college dormitories have to be at the top of the list. With the cinder block walls, industrial carpeting, and mid-century closet spaces, college dorms don’t typically provide the most elegant of blank palettes to work with. 

The drab uniformity of a college dorm can make thinking out of the box a challenge. But with a little creativity and ingenuity, a dorm can be transformed into a space that’s fun, sophisticated, and unique to the resident’s taste and style (and yes, you can still show off your poster collection). Here are some tips to take a college dorm from old school to new cool.

living room with vinyl flooring
Look to rooms in your own home that might work in a dorm, like small plants, warm-light desk lamps. But don't paint a wall unless it's permitted by student housing!
Featured floor: CoreLuxe XD Rocky Hill Hickory Waterproof Vinyl Flooring with attached pad.


Think Little

When you’re working with such a small space—that likely already comes equipped with furniture—your options for decor and layout are highly limited. While that can be a challenge, it’s also a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles and work within those limits to decorate with your own unique style. 

This is an opportunity to focus on smaller pieces of decor—think cool wall art, petite potted plants to hang on a curtain rod, or small desktop items that either carry sentimental value or just feel unique to your style. And while college dorms have virtually always walked hand-in-hand with some truly terrible poster displays, you can class up your wall art by choosing cool, art-centric posters and putting them in simple, stylish frames. Forget the wall putty—now you have yourself a sophisticated, cheap piece of art (no one needs to know you found it at the college poster sale). 


desk and chair in a room with hardwood flooring
Your home may have large or small decorations. Bring some small ones to the dorm to keep the tiny space feeling like there's plenty of room.
Featured floor: AquaSeal Moselle River Maple Water Resistant Hardwood Flooring (Engineered).


Sweet Storage

There are few living situations that are more compact than dorm living. One (likely shared) space has to function as a bedroom, a study, a mini kitchen, and a living room. This is why it's essential to be smart about your storage options—if you do it right, your space can be clean and organized while maximizing your space for the belongings that make the move with you to campus. If you’re working with regular twin beds, utilize under-bed space with bed lifts that give your bed a boost and free up room for the less attractive stuff. Check out this roundup of collapsible items from laundry baskets to electric tea kettles, which can be easily stored out of the way when not in use.

For stuff like shoes, hats, and other miscellaneous things that tend to get scattered, look to vertical space for storage. Hanging shoe racks are perfect for dorm closets, and can multitask to hold any smaller items that may need a home.

a girl lies on the floor in a college dorm
Storage ottomans, footstools, and under-bed storage are just some of the ways to maximize space. It'll be helpful if you move to NY too!
Featured floor: AquaSeal Canyon Peak Oak Water Resistant Laminate Flooring with attached pad.


Color Coordination

In such a small space, it’s important to think smart when it comes to incorporating color. Go too bright with too many shades, and suddenly your space can look chaotic and confused. But by working in muted neutrals and pops of brighter hues, a dorm can look sophisticated and unique. 

Read more from LL Style about expertly incorporating color theory into your space: Color Theory in Your Home


room with blue wall and orange chairs
An orange chair and a similar color of wall art catch each other, accenting against the predominant blue and neutral flooring, to give life and pop to this space.
Featured floor: CoreLuxe XD Pyrenees Maple Waterproof Vinyl Plank with attached pad.


Post your dorm photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag @LLFlooringOfficial for a chance to be featured on our page!

Have a great semester, and remember - you can do anything you set your mind to!

LL Style

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