You might be so excited to move into your college dorm, you're not even thinking about how plain and basic it's bound to look—and trust us, they all look like that. Don't even get us started on the limited square footage, which you're sharing with another person, by the way.
Regardless of the tight space and stark appearance, this is about to be the backdrop to your entire college experience—there's no way we're letting you go all four years with a dull dorm room. With some inspiration, you can transform your assigned living space into a stylish home—no matter how limited your lighting is, how cold-looking your brick walls feel, or how boring your furniture looks, we have tips for bringing your bland dorm to life.
Ahead are 15 ideas to make your blank dorm room canvas look like a serious masterpiece. Fair warning: you're sure to become the dorm everyone flocks to on your floor.
Make Your DIY Gallery Wall a Vibe
Your student housing director might be less than thrilled about you putting holes in your walls. Instead, try a dorm-friendly approach that feels cool without trying too hard. This achromatic color scheme looks even cooler with posters taped on the wall with a single piece of black tape.
Hang Temporary Wallpaper
You won't be in college your whole life, but while you are enrolled, be sure to have some fun with pretty peel-and-stick wallpaper. A removable print will completely transform even the most basic of spaces.
Fake a Wallpaper
If you're looking to get some texture on your walls but don't have time to hang an actual wallpaper, hanging faux plants gives you the same pattern effect with some greenery and thumbtacks.
Faux flowers, as shown here, work great, and you can also experiment with fake ivy and other vines.
Hang a Tapestry
The easiest way to cover a big blank wall is to break out a cool tapestry. This patterned lip print makes this space pop, and all it takes is a couple of thumbtacks to get the look.
Try a Neutral Color Palette
When the other students in your building are opting for bright colors and a maximalist approach, try something different. A neutral color palette looks clean and really opens up even the darkest of spaces.
Dorms are packed with basic pieces of college hand-me-down furniture. Adding a gorgeous headboard to your assigned bed frame will totally transform the overall aesthetic of your room.
It is super easy to DIY a dorm headboard as well—don't be afraid to get creative.
Bring in a Rug
Never underestimate the power of a really good rug. Laying one down in the middle of the room will completely transform your space with barely any effort at all.
Don't Treat It Like a Dorm Room
When decorating your dorm room, treat it as you would your bedroom back home. Just because your assigned space comes with brick walls and office carpet, doesn't mean you can't make it feel cozy. Bring in some lamps, a vanity mirror, tons of pillows, and hang a gallery wall for a room that screams anything but "dorm."
Save yourself some floor space and decide to decorate vertically instead. Rather than having a desk next to your bed, try bringing in a loft-style bed and sliding your study space under your sleeping area. You'll have everything you need without taking up extra square footage.
Maximize Your Storage
Dorm rooms can get tight—so it's wise to be mindful of every piece you bring into your space. Invest in pieces that pull double duty, like ottomans that boast hidden storage.
This space smartly made a desk chair out of a storage ottoman, allowing another place to stash snacks and dorm essentials.
Take Your Favorite Color to the Next Level
Decorating a room in a single color always feels chic. We love this room that incorporates a variety of powder-blue shades from floor to ceiling.
Incorporate a Ton Of Texture
You'd be remiss not to accessorize your room like you would your outfit for a night out. Texture via a faux fur throw blanket, decorative pillows, and a tufted headboard will make your space feel completely elevated.
Decorate Your Walls
Dorm room walls are as bare as they come, and they're always painted in a super boring color. Dress them up with inspiration photos, macrame wall hangings, pom-pom garland, and an oversized mirror. The result will be a space with tons of personality.
Create a Curtain Wall
Curtain walls are a major trend right now, and lucky for you, they hide cold-looking brick. Install a single rod and hang some sheer curtains for a glamorous feel.
Hang a Single Frame
You can cover an entire wall with magazine clippings and inspirational quotes, but sometimes less is much more. A single oversized piece of framed art dresses up your walls without being too much. Do this, and your space will look so sophisticated— never boring.