Dorm Room Style

Style Your Dorm Room

It’s back to school season and I couldn’t be more excited. I always look forward to getting back in the swing of things after summer break! To celebrate the back to school season I thought I would put together a little series for all of the girls that are heading to college for the first time and moving into their new dorm rooms! I personally never got to enjoy the dorm experience, as I moved straight into an apartment after high school, but I thought it would be fun to put this together for those who are indeed going to be living in a dorm.

To start things off, I wanted to share my three essential guidelines to creating a gorgeous, cohesive dorm room.

Dorm Room Style Guidelines

Create Symmetry When Possible

This is extremely important when you are trying to pull a space together in a unified manner. For example, placing the same lamp on a set of matching night stands creates symmetry. This gives the eye a place to rest and balances the space. Another example would be distributing a set of picture frames around the room- one on the desk, two on the night stand. Correctly utilizing this rule of thumb will result in a well designed, professional looking space. Check out Tried and True Design Rules for more useful interior design guidelines.

Balance Functionality With Aesthetics

This is very important in a small space like a studio apartment or dorm room. Everything must have a purpose and a function. You can’t afford to waste space in a small room.

Take Measures to Visually Enlarge the Space

Use small design tricks to make the space appear larger than it really is. One easy, inexpensive trick would be to mount your curtains just under the ceiling. Hanging them directly above the window frame visually shortens the height of the ceiling, thus making the space appear smaller. Stay away from short curtains. The longer the better! Take a look at How to Enlarge a Space for more detailed tips and examples.

Keeping these guidelines in mind will really help to pull your dorm room together and give it that designed look you are going for! 

Dorm Bedding

With these rules in mind lets move on to bedding! Unless you are living in a single dorm, you probably have a roommate. Get your roommate on board with matching bedding if at all possible! This will definitely add to the symmetrical, cohesive look I mentioned above. At the very least, coordinate the bedding so it pairs nicely with one another. Below is a bedding concept that I came up with. Obviously there are endless options, so the sky is the limit!

Quick Tip:

  • Lighter colors make a space feel larger so think about getting a lighter colored or white duvet cover!

Dorm Room Bedding

Duvet Cover | Sheets | Shams| Pom Pom Pillow | Monogram Pillow

Dorm Room Night Stand

Every dorm comes with a night stand, well they should at least.. But get rid of it! Talk to someone about getting it removed from your room. Since you probably can’t switch out your bed or your desk, this is an easy way to add a more custom look to the space. Get a large console (below) and place it between your beds. Add a cute lamp and some accessories and you’re in business! This console style night stand gives you ample room for storage and looks great. Remember to always balance functionality with aesthetics!

Quick Tips:

  • Make sure and get bins that pull the color from your bedding to tie the look together. Use these for closet storage as well!
  • Invest in a nicer lamp such as the one shown. It will add a designed feel to the room and help you stray from the “I’m a college student” feel.

Dorm Style Night Stands

Console Table | Frames | Clock | Lamp | Storage Bins


As a college student you’re going to need to study a bit (understatement of the year) so why not make your desk somewhere that you love being? Because face it, you’re gonna have to sit there anyway!  Find some cute desk accessories and get to work styling your desk. Get creative! Make your own dry erase calendar or find a cute framed art print to lean against the wall!

Quick Tips:

  • If at all possible, purchase a new desk chair! The ones provided are uncomfortable and not very pretty. The Lucite chair below cuts down on visual clutter and is super comfortable (It’s my desk chair!)
  • Keep the desk clutter at bay. This can make a space feel much smaller than it really is.

Dorm Room Desk Essentials

Desk Lamp | Lab Flower Vase | Planner | Phone Dock | Pencils | Tape Dispenser | Pencil Cup |Tobias Desk Chair

I hope all of this inspiration was helpful and informative! Check back in the next couple of days for Dorm DIY’s and Dorm Storage 101. If you’re just dying for more reading in the mean time check out some of my other posts! 😉



  • Reply Dorm Style 101: 5 Common Challenges (and How to Fix Them!) | L'amour chez nous August 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    […] 8 to 12 months. While I can’t share some awesome design tips like I’ve seen on great blogs like Progression by Design, and of course, Apartment Therapy, I am pretty darn experienced when it comes to dorms and can […]

  • Reply Lauren August 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Great post Marie! I never thought about the importance of symmetry in a dorm room. I actually mentioned your post in my latest one about dorm rooms:
    Feel free to check it out 🙂

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