6 Ways to Personalize Your Dorm Room

Here's six ways to turn your dorm from institutional to inspiring.

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #221

A couple weeks ago, I saw a story online about two girls who did a ridiculous makeover on their dorm room. The before pictures of the room had the standard fixings of collegiate housing: block walls, industrial flooring, and boring furniture. The after images make the room almost unrecognizably glam.

Now I realize that most college students aren’t going to invest the time and money to decorate their dorm rooms to this extent, but it doesn’t hurt to use a few of their ideas. Talk with your roommate and see if they are on board, and start putting together ideas for how you can makeover your dorm room. If both of you agree, you can start making a few small changes to a dorm room that will make it feel much less industrial and more like home.


This first idea is highly dependent on your school’s rules. Some colleges allow the students to paint the dorm rooms, so long as they are painted back to the original color at the end of the year. If your school is one that allows dorm rooms to be painted, it is the biggest thing you can do to make your room feel like home. Many dorm rooms are painted a bright white, so being able to change the walls to pretty much any other color will give it personality.

By painting the walls a light neutral color, you can create a cozy atmosphere that will make the dorm room feel like a normal bedroom. If you want to add a pop of a brighter or darker color, pick a wall to make an accent wall for that color. The girls in the story painted their walls a tan-ish gold color which set the base for their glam décor. Whatever the vibe you want to create, painting the walls is a great way to start.

Add Curtains

Most college dorm rooms come with standard window treatments, usually blinds. These are a great start for window coverings because they provide privacy and block out the early morning sun, but they don’t offer much personality for the room. Curtains can do a lot to change the feel of a room, and if you are not allowed to paint your dorm, they can actually allow you to change the color of a wall without paint. All you need is a long curtain rod or track and a couple extra curtains.

By using longer curtains, 96” at least, and a long curtain rod, you can hang the curtains to almost completely cover a wall. Don’t be afraid to do this even if the window in your dorm room is on the small side. The large curtain can trick the eye in to thinking that the window is bigger, which can make your room feel more luxurious.

Cover the Floor

College dorms are notorious for having unattractive industrial flooring. I can’t blame the college for not putting in plush carpeting because I know I had my fair share of spilled drinks in my dorms, and I saw many others who had everything from chocolate to vomit end up on their floors. Colleges have to put in the heavy duty flooring, otherwise they’d be replacing it every summer.

If you want to instantly give your dorm room a softer, homier feel, a large area rug is a cost effective ways to do that. A 5’ by 8’ rug is usually plenty big to cover the floor in between two dorm beds. By stepping out on to a fluffy rug when you wake up each morning, you’ll start your morning off on the right foot. Just make sure to be careful when you have others in your room. You don’t want your rug to become a sticky, nasty mess from your friends sloshing their sodas all over the floor. If your rug does become a bit too icky to make it through the rest of the year, luckily it’s easy to roll up the old rug and bring in a new one.