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Have a student headed to college this fall? Whether they are returning or this is their first year check out this article on how to Jazz up Your Dorm!

Getting ready to move your college student into the dorm? Prepare yourself for the old and the ugly. Unless your child has the good fortune of moving into a brand-new dorm, you can expect their space to be seriously lacking in style, as well as storage. Thankfully, that’s easy to fix with a few budget-friendly tips.


The floor space will likely be limited in the dorm, but that doesn’t mean you can’t integrate some guest seating for your kid’s new friends. These saucer chairs are cute, comfy, and, the best part: They’re foldable so your college student can slide them under or behind the bed, or in the closet if it’s not packed with clothes and shoes, when not in use. If your child is REALLY popular, they might want this larger foldable chair for two instead.


Speaking of closets, your child may be shocked to see how little space the dorm room offers for clothing and other storage. Some choose to loft the bed, which allows them to create a living area underneath. For others, raising it only high enough to accommodate storage underneath is more important. That way, they can store extra clothes and shoes, bedding, or any other items that can’t fit behind a closet or cabinet door. The good news is that storage options are cute enough to actually pass as décor today. This metal cart brings in a bit of an industrial look.

A storage ottoman (or two) is another great addition to a dorm room because it serves several purposes: As a place to hide socks, underwear, or items that just don’t have a place to go; as a nightstand or side table; and as a footstool. And, it can add a bit of style to the space if you choose something like this Mongolian ottoman in grey. The bonus: It’s collapsible, so it takes up almost no room in transit.


“Since most dorm floors are linoleum or really thin carpet, a dorm rug is the perfect way to make your floor a little more comfortable,” said Heavy. “Dorm rugs are also ideal for pulling all of your dorm decor together, as they can make a fun accent piece.

Our two cents: Go for darker colors and textures that resist stains because…come on, do you really think your child is going to wash the rug?


Use them to create separation around the “living area” under the bed. Hang them in front of your the closet doors (or create a makeshift closet door in front of old shelving).


Ugly cabinetry. It’s the reality of many a dorm room. Think mid-tone faux oak, and wood “look” stickers that are peeling off of MDF surfaces. This will be your child’s space for at least the next nine months or so, and that cringy cabinetry just can’t remain as is. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is your answer. Lay it down over the surfaces of the dresser, desk, and wall cabinetry to totally change a space, easily and affordably. You can reposition until you get it perfect, and simply pull it off when it’s time for your child to move out.

Of course, peel-and-stick wallpaper is a natural answer for the dorm room walls. See how a couple of strips helped transform this bland and blah dorm, and don’t miss their other 15 dorm room transformations.

Other wall décor

There are some great ideas for DIY wall décor here, but keep in mind that different dorms have different rules for what you can put on the walls; most insist you make no holes, which eliminates nails, screws, and even pushpins from the equation. Command Strips are your friend!

Some dorms also restrict how high you can hang anything on the walls and won’t allow anything to be hung from the ceiling. Twinkle lights may be allowed in some dorms, but, in some, they’re a no-no. Be sure to check first so you don’t waste money on items that aren’t allowed.

Chair covers

If the school provides your child with a desk chair, you can bet on two things: It’s going to be uncomfortable. And it’s going to be ugly. Old chairs aren’t going to provide tons of support, but, who, are we kidding? They’re going to be sitting on their bed with their laptop or in Starbucks or a study lounge, so there’s little need to concentrate on comfort at this point. What you can do is give the chair a little pizzazz with this DIY chair cover.


A headboard dresses up any bedroom, but incorporating one into a dorm can be challenging because of the limitations on attaching it to the wall. This no-nail headboard offers an easy answer, as well as a tech-friendly bonus, for your student. “Featuring two three-prong plugs and a USB port, this clever headboard has room for all your devices and makes searching for the wall plug a thing of the past,” said PB Teen. “Plus, it’s super easy to hang with 3M adhesive tape.”


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