Go Boho With Dorm Decorating

Let’s face it. Dorm rooms are pretty sterile and unattractive. I should know — I’ve been through moving in and out of them with three kids at four different schools. You don’t want to take too much stuff because you’ll just have to haul it home at some point. You don’t want to spend a lot of money because you’ll be lucky if what you bought lasts more than one year. Don’t plan on nailing anything into the walls. That usually doesn’t go over well with the college or university and, many times, the walls are concrete. So, keeping those things in mind, there actually are a few creative things you can do that are both inexpensive and attractive.

Let’s assume your daughter wants to go a little boho chic with her room. That’s a fun look because it’s colorful and comfy. One thing I would suggest for any new dorm resident is to get a small lamp or desk light. Those overhead lights are everything BUT cozy. Lamps and small room lights make a room warmer and friendlier. They also can allow your son or daughter to read without having the overhead light on — something a roommate might appreciate. You can incorporate the lamp into the decor by buying a small lamp, and then choosing a decorative shade, or buy a white or single color shade and cut out fabric or even magazine pictures to glue on the outside. That way you can personalize it.

Curtains also warm up a dorm room and keep that sun out for sleeping in. Since you may not know the size of the window, get an inexpensive tension rod, some great fabric or scarves and use curtain hooks to create simple curtains. The photo at the top shows a scarf as a window covering. If you’re going Boho Chic, get several scarves of differing designs that compliment each other and attach them to rods with the curtain hooks. You can use several bunched together to make the curtains thicker than a single scarf or fabric panel.

While big box stores may have all the stuff you need for a dorm room, you can also walk through thrift stores to get creative ideas for room decor. I bought the four decorative pieces pictured in this blog for a total of $20. Think outside the box. Baskets are great for holding books and supplies under beds. Even old drawers can be painted or decorated (think collages) and put on the floor next to a desk to hold books and other supplies.

The photo and postcard holder at the left is a plastic decorative item I found at the thrift store. I have no idea what its original use was, but with some painted clothespins, it makes a great way to display photos of friends, cards or other items. It’s light enough to be attached to a wall with those sticky things that pull off of walls without harming the paint.

One rule of thumb when you’re decorating a dorm room is — KEEP IT FUNCTIONAL. If you can decorate AND use the decoration to actually perform a service such as holding photos, then you’re not wasting space.

Inexpensive rugs are also nice to warm up a room — especially if the floors are cold linoleum. For a Boho Chic room, you can have fun and get something colorful, maybe with a flower pattern or something East Indian looking.

Use inexpensive vases to hold pencils, rulers, pens and scissors rather than the usual boring pencil holders. Colorful, small bowls can hold everything from flash drives to hairpins.

Scarves and belts can get lost in closets or drawers, so why not use something decorative to hang them up. Not only is it functional, but with some colorful scarves, it becomes wall art. The pieces holding the scarves in these photos are the last of my thrift shop finds.

So, get creative with your dorm room decorating. It doesn’t take much to jazz up a small space!

Categories: Editor’s Blog