Designing Your Dorm Room

Heading off to college can be an overwhelming experience, but designing the perfect dorm doesn't have to be. With options to optimize space, comfort and style, creating a home away from home can be easier than passing your midterms. Check out this helpful cheat sheet to find dorm room ideas, as well as tips and advice to design a fun and functional place.

Make the Most Out of Your Space

Square footage is at a premium in university housing, so having some dorm room furniture that can serve multiple roles is key. Whether you want a bed that doubles as a couch or a convenient footrest with hidden storage for game controllers and spare blankets, picking items that maximize your shared space can go a long way.

Arielle Square Gray Storage Ottoman
Arielle Square Gray Storage Ottoman

Beds for Your Dorm Room

Everyone wants a cozy place to sleep, especially hardworking students. There are a range of options that can help you feel refreshed while getting the most out of your space, so finding the best bed is a breeze.

  • Loft Beds: These raised beds come with an array of features that allow you to save space, as well as personalize it. Choose from options with a built-in desk and sturdy bookshelves so you can stay neat and organized. Some lofts even have attached seating so you can lounge while you binge-watch your favorite shows between classes.
  • Futons: A convertible futon offers the comfort of a bed and convenience of a sofa in one compact design. Equipped with plenty of plush cushioning, these pieces create a place to kick back with your roommate or catch a quick catnap before the big exam.
  • Bunk Beds: Another possibility, if your roomie agrees, would be to get a bunk bed. Ideal for smaller layouts, these beds provide a cushy spot to rest, as well as leaving space for desks, chairs and kitchen appliances in the room. Need storage? Models featuring a trundle can hold clothing and linens.

Colefax Avenue White Full Loft Bed with Desk and Bookcase
Colefax Avenue White Full Loft Bed with Desk and Bookcase

Whatever you choose, make sure that you and your roommate are in agreement on your chosen dorm decor and that you're following school regulations.

Dorm Room Desks

Almost as important as your bed is an area to do schoolwork. While most campuses have student lounges or a library you can go to for a few hours, having your own central hub can help you focus when it's crunch time.

  • Computer Desk: The perfect size for a laptop, these desks provide a fuss-free way to study in style. With their spacious tops, students have ample room for their computer, as well as any notebooks, textbooks or course material they may need. Add a desk lamp for late-night cram sessions.
  • Storage Desk: Storage desks offer a place for you to tuck away the clutter when guests stop by. Open shelves are a great way to keep track of binders and loose papers, while large drawers are a handy spot for books, office supplies and any odds and ends you may have lying around.
  • L-Shaped Desk: Have an empty corner of the room? An L-shaped desk may be just the right fit. Built with enough room for two computers, some models allow you and your roommate to work side-by-side comfortably. With the additional space, you'll have enough surface area for all of your course materials, books and packets of ramen.

Patrick Gray Desk and Chair
Patrick Gray Desk and Chair

While there are a lot of desk options, you'll want to think about the size of your room and your budget. Each type has benefits, so weigh them carefully. Do you foresee the need for extra storage? Is a corner desk conducive to the layout of the room? It's important to take all of these things into consideration when making a decision.

Other Dorm Room Essentials

Want to make your dorm feel like home? Picking out unique accessories, whether it's lighting or accent pieces, can allow your personality to shine through. With multiple hues and designs, there are many ways to make your dorm decor special.

  • Ottomans: A useful choice for any dorm, an ottoman can function in many different ways. Use one as a footrest when friends come over or as a coffee table by using it to hold snacks and drinks. Some types also have storage for even more functionality.
  • Throw Pillows: Add a touch of style to your abode with a few chic toss pillows. You can pile these cushions in a corner to create a cozy reading spot or scatter them over your bed to transform your mattress into a comfy seating.
  • Rugs: Spice up your floors with a rug. Select from an assortment of shades and patterns to complement your design. If you share your room, you can also use these carpets to establish clear sections so that everybody has their own area.
  • Lighting: The harsh overhead fluorescents in many dorms can be less than ideal. Counteract this effect with ambient lighting from desk and floor lamps. This way, you can turn up the brightness for group study sessions, lower it for a relaxing evening in or use focused lighting to read in bed.
  • Wall Decor: Upgrade from the typical dorm decor of unframed posters with some artwork. Try hanging a couple of vibrant prints to add some color to neutral palettes. Mirrors are another stylish option that also have the benefit of making the room seem larger.

Summer Glam Blue Artwork
Summer Glam Blue Artwork

Remember to check the school's guidelines when selecting dorm decor, especially if you're thinking about putting holes in the walls. Consider using damage-free adhesive hooks to prevent surprise expenses at the end of the semester.

Ace Your Dorm Design

When deciding what to take with you to your new dorm, always consider versatility. Look for multipurpose items to make the most of your space, and keep in mind how you'll need the room to function. With these dorm room ideas, you'll be ready to design the perfect spot to sleep, study, relax and entertain.