College is full of adjustments and changes, and one of the biggest of those will likely be adapting to dorm life. Many students may not have shared a room before, certainly not one as small as the average dorm room. This can pose a variety of challenges, in addition to all of those that come along with starting college courses, making friends, and learning to live independently. With so much to cope with already, students need a space to retreat to that’s comfortable, relaxing, and makes them feel at home.
One of the best places to find ideas for great dorm decor, storage ideas, and DIY projects is Pinterest. Here, we’ve selected some great pins that will give you ideas on how to create a dorm room that makes those first few uncertain weeks on campus a bit more bearable, or at the very least stylish and comfortable. They may even make you sad to leave your dorm.
- DIY bow lampshade. Why even bother with a plain old lampshade when you can have one that looks this adorable for very little effort?
- DIY felt ball rug. A few little felt balls don’t amount to much, but a whole bunch of them strung together make for a seriously awesome (and probably very comfy) rug for your dorm room.
- Make your own throw pillows. If you’ve got a sewing machine handy, why not check out some of these ideas for sewing your own super-stylish throw pillows?
- DIY jewelry storage. Fabric, a board, ribbon and some drawer pulls combine to make this awesome jewelry storage system.
- Repurposed magazine storage. This project has you turning a simple wooden magazine holder from Ikea into a place to drop all of your essentials when you come in the door.
- Q-Tip flowers. If you’re looking to decorate with some flowers that won’t wilt and die, spend an afternoon crafting these flowers from those bathroom staples.
- Stenciled pot. A boring flowerpot gets new life when you’re inspired by this simple DIY project.
- DIY fridge magnets. If you’ve got a mini-fridge in your room, add a few fun magnets to it for leaving messages or decoration when you check out this pin.
- T-shirt quilt. This pin showcases how you can put together a quilt out of all your old t-shirts, making you really feel at home in your new dorm.
- Flowery full-length mirror. For some, a plain old mirror might be enough. For those who want more, this project is a simple way to make a mirror a little prettier.
- Embroidery hoop laundry bag. This DIY project is highly practical, giving dorm dwellers an easy way to keep a laundry bag open all the time for easy access.
- Lacy lights. Paired with some battery-powered tea lights, these beautiful candle holders will help make any space feel nicer.
- DIY glowing nightlight. How cool is this project? Some glow-in-the-dark paint and a jar combine to make something truly beautiful.
- Hand painted ceramic. You can turn almost anything ceramic (storage jars, coffee mugs) into a work of art by using this simple method.
On the Walls
- Video tape frame and storage. If you’ve got one of those baffling VHS tapes lying around, turn the case into a fun frame that offers some storage to boot, with the help of this pin.
- Holiday light art. While holiday lights might be a staple of dorm life, they’ve never been done like this before.
- Map art. Pay homage to where you and your roomie call home with this seriously cute project that has you putting hearts on maps of your state or hometown.
- Worded pennant. Have a favorite short saying? Turn it into a banner like this college student did.
- Origami flowers. A few folds of paper could yield some really cool paper flowers to put on the wall or around your room.
- Fabric wrapped picture frames. You can give your artwork a little something special by wrapping the frame in fabric, as you’ll see here.
- Scrapbook paper wall. Most dorm rooms don’t allow you to paint, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put color on the walls. Copy this project idea to wallpaper your room, sort of.
- Upcycled drawer shadowbox. A busted up old drawer gets a new life as a beautiful shadowbox or shelf for your dorm room.
- Fabulous photo collage. Photo collages are great, but this arrangement, or one of your own choosing, really takes the idea up a notch.
- Cardboard taxidermy. If you find the idea of having real taxidermied animals in your room really gross, get one of these cardboard alternatives instead.
Stylish Storage and Organization
- Personalized key hook. This idea turns a plain old frame into a fun way to add some personality to your room while never having to hunt around for your keys first thing in the morning. They use an initial and flowers, but the possibilities really are endless for customization.
- Hanging folders for organization. Staying organized is essential if you want to stay on top of everything you have to do for school. Use this simple (but adorable) system to keep you and your roomie on top of all of your schoolwork.
- Spice rack desk storage. Who knew a spice rack could look so great as desk storage? For a few bucks, you too can turn a spice rack into an amazing way to keep all of those essentials within reach.
- Shower rings for small storage. Store scarves and belts in your closet with ease by adding a few shower curtain rings to a hanger.
- Easy makeup organization. Magnets are a smart way to keep your makeup organized when you don’t have a lot of space.
- Easy organization for the essentials. A silverware divider can be the perfect tool for keeping essentials like phones, wallets, keys and sunglasses right by the door.
- Binder clip cord organization. If you’re like most college students, you’ve got a lot of stuff that needs to be plugged in. Help keep cords from getting tangled with this great idea.
- Rotating storage tower. A bookcase from Ikea, a lazy susan, a mirror and some storage boxes make for an amazing small space storage solution.
- Over the door storage. Don’t let all that real estate on your door go to waste. Use these over-the-door ideas to maximize your closet space.
- Lace earring storage. A little bit of lace stretched in a frame makes for a great way to store your earrings that’s practical and pretty.
- Back of door baskets. If you can get away with it, attaching some baskets to your closet door can give you room to store all those little accessories, from purses to hats.
- Hidden shoe storage. An empty corner in your room can be amazing shoe storage with wall racks and a curtain.
- Cord labels. Keep all of the cords you have organized by labeling them. That way, you’ll never accidentally unplug your alarm clock when you want to take your laptop out instead.
- DIY storage upgrades. This pin will show you how to turn a beat-up old box into storage you’ll be happy to display.
- Bed curtains. How awesome is this idea? Some simple panels can turn a regular bunk bed into a private sleeping or study space.
- Icicle lights under the bed. Make your lower bunk magical with this icicle light idea.
- Clothespin displays. Clothespins can be great tools for showcasing your photos or artwork.
- Feminine dorm room decor. If you’re looking for ideas on how to create a dorm room that’s ultra girly, check out this pin.
- Cloudy decor. You’ll be happy to say you’ve got your head in the clouds when you copy this cute dorm room idea.
- Etched storage jars. Make you and your roommate some personalized jars with this simple etching process.
- Wallpapered bookshelf. Not happy with your bookshelf options? Use this idea to add a little flair to your shelving.
- Unisex dorm look. This pin’s look would work for a girl or a guy, with basic colors and lots of style.
- Paper curtains. Romantic but modern, this idea for a paper curtain is the 2012 alternative to a beaded curtain.
- Banner projects. Add a pennant or banner to your room for some color by taking on one of these awesome banner projects using paper and fabric.
- Dixie cup string of lights. Get away from the plain Christmas lights look and add Dixie cups and scrapbook paper for a much more polished look.
- Windowsill gardening. Give your room some green with this pin on what plants work well for windowsill gardening.
- Memory jars. College is a time filled with awesome memories, but it goes by so fast that you might forget some of the best stuff if you don’t keep track. This jar project not only looks great, but will help you collect all of your great dorm memories.
- Curtain room divider. Need some privacy? Check out this pin to see how a simple curtain can give you and your roomie a little separation.
- Lofted dorm beds with storage. If you can loft your dorm beds, why not? This arrangement shows how much more room it can make in your dorm.
- Dorm room makeover infographic. Get some ideas on how to makeover your room from this awesome infographic
- Amazing lofted bed. Your dorm ceilings might not be tall enough to allow for this kind of lofting, but this pin gives some idea of how you can use underbed space for storage.
- Desk divider. This pin showcases a simple idea on how to give you and your roomie some privacy while working.
- Inspirational study space. While you might not be able to totally replicate this space, it makes for a highly inspirational idea for creating your own ultimate desk space.
Furniture and Appliances
- Pillow chairs. These pillows are so substantial they can actually become pretty chair-like when pushed against a bed. Even better, they look great!
- Decked-out dorm fridge. If a plain mini-fridge just doesn’t do it for you, then check out this pin that will show you how to give your fridge a little flair.
- Fridge cubby. You can add more storage space in your room and make things look a little nicer by building a cubby for your mini-fridge like this one.
- DIY bean bag chair. Bean bag chairs can look pretty bad, but this DIY version is amazingly stylish.
- Interesting book storage. Get away from the standard bookshelf and embrace this vertical storage idea for your textbooks.
- Office chair style upgrade. You can get away with getting a cheap office chair for your room if you use this DIY idea to upgrade it.
Boards, Calendars, and Messages
- Magnetic message center. This cute magnetic board is the perfect place to leave notes for your roomie, store pens and pencils, and collect small memorabilia.
- Fabric-covered bulletin board. This bulletin board got a whole new life with a little bit of fabric.
- Cookie sheet magnetic board. Check out this amazingly easy project that turns a cookie sheet into a super cute way to stay organized.
- Clothespin calendar. Leave yourself little reminders of what you have to do with this simple-to-replicate clothespin calendar.
- Travel bulletin board. You and your roommate can pin the places you’ve visited and your hometowns on this fun bulletin board.
- Dry erase calendar. This wall decal will help you stay organized from month to month, and it looks pretty cool to boot.
Photos courtesy of E Tells Tales, Laura Thoughts, Small Spaces, Apartment Therapy, and Pepper Design Blog.