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10 Fun ways to Decorate Your Dorm

I have a decorating problem.  I simply can’t live in a space with barren white walls, no color and just…emptiness. There’s just something cozy, fun, unique about walking into a space that you put your personal touch on. And, quite frankly, a whole lot less boring. So! Being a senior this year and having studied abroad twice, I’ve had a lot of boring white space to contend with. Here are some ideas on how to make your dorm room or common areas more exciting (CHEAPLY) based off things my friends and I have done:

  1. Calendar pictures are your best friends. Seriously. Get sweet calendars with pictures you legitimately like, and then use all the pictures after you’ve finished with the calendar. I’m a tropical sort of person, so I tend to buy tropical calendars and then create cool collages with all the pictures. Example?

    A collage I made on my wall out of tropical calendar pictures

  2. Posters: There’s always a giant poster sale at McDaniel at the beginning of the year- freshman year, our whole suite went together and picked out stuff based on a theme for our common room! Since then, I’ve decided the poster sale is a little out of my budget… this is when you hit up the internet to buy some posters you like, cheaply! Posters are great because they take up large amounts of space and let you broadcast to the world that you are a Star Wars fan and proud of it thank-you-very-much.
  3. Funky Lights: Christmas lights are a great, cheap way to add some pizzazz to your room (white or funky colors), but I’m also a huge fan of rope lights and those crazy standing lamps you can buy in target with different colored heads. Definitely gives you some mood lighting. Fun tip: Target also has some great string lights shaped like lantern, flowers, little paper lanterns or what have you.

    Octopus lights!

    Other funky lights!

    My lantern-style lights

  4. Make bottle-lights: My friends just did this in their apartment and I’m a huge fan. All they did was take old bottles, cover the outsides with variously colored tissue paper (you could paint them too) and stuffed Christmas lights inside. Voila: cool, original lights that add some atmosphere.
  5. Create a Giant map of the world on your wall? No problem.  Last spring when I was in Brussels, I had giant white, concrete walls and nothing to decorate with. Plus I didn’t want to spend money on buy decorations I had no way to get home in 5 months time. So, I decided to go with the whole global thing and make a giant map of the world on my wall! I covered the entire thing with free newspapers from the metro, sketched out a map of the world with a sharpie and a Google image search, then cut it out! The end result was pretty sweet, and you can always add things to it like photos, writing, sticky notes, etc.

    The Start: Newspapers everywhere

    Drawing and cutting out the world

    The Finished Product: The World!

  6. Print out photos! I use Snapfish, but other online photo-printing companies work too in terms of printing a lot of photos cheaply. I got them mailed to McDaniel and then spent an entire weekend making a giant collage of my pictures on my wall. Plus, you can keep them when the year is out and put them in photo albums as fun memories.

    Photos I printed and put up on my wall

    A huge photo college I made last year

  7. Decorative stickers: Essentially, you can buy giant (or small) adhesivestickers to put on your wall, from the skyline of London to a chandelier or quotes and such. I just got some from Target, and they are reusable witch is super handy. Plus, they look pretty sweet!

    A friend’s stickers

  8. Use the Campus Copy Center: Since I’m a Graphic Design minor, I’ve had to do lots of printing out in-color assignments, and McDaniel’s copy center is a great resource. You can print things big and cheaper than you could at Staples. This year I printed out some enlarged versions of my photos from a trip to Cambodia this summer on 11×17 paper so that I have some poster-sized photos.
  9. Make your own art (or get your artsy friends to do it for you): Buy and paint a canvas, make some cool graphic art on the computer and print it out, go crazy with oil pastels. It’s not that expensive, just time consuming, so do it as a fun weekend activity with some friends.
  10. Use what you have: Cork-board, Jewelry, jerseys, chalkboard stickers. Bulletin Boards are always useful and take up space. For the ladies, if you have some cool jewelry, hang that up on the wall or off cork-board using thumbtacks. One of my friends got these cool chalkboard-paint dots that she puts up every year to draw and write on. Essentially, dig deep into everything you already own in your house- then go get creative!

    Hanging up jewelry to decorate

There are loads more ways to decorate, so look up ideas online and add your own style to the walls. Please, please don’t let your rooms remain barren, white wastelands- make your dorms someplace you actually enjoy being in.

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