8 Simple and Stylish Ways to Decorate Your Dorm Room

An interior designer shares her tips on how you can turn an uninspired space into your own private oasis.

With the start of the semester just around the corner, we thought it would be the perfect time to chat with Emma Beryl, a designer at Homepolish, to get some insider tips on how to decorate your dorm room. Here's how she suggests you should approach designing your new room—on a budget.

Start with a color palette.

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Even though the floor plan you'll be working with may be small, there's no reason you can't add a splash of color. "I think that a big thing is coordinating with your roommate so you aren’t clashing," says Beryl. "It's best to stick to a palette of four colors and work with tones based off of that." Ideally, you and your roommate should both have plain duvets or something with a similar pattern—either way the colors should be harmonious.

Ruched Duvet Cover, $89
Medallion Comforter, $99

Storage baskets are the key to a clean space.

Because dorm rooms are so small to begin with, by the time both you and your roommates unpack all of your boxes, it can begin to feel a bit overwhelming. "Storage furniture can sometimes be tricky, but if you use natural material and muted colors and things that just look a little more high-end, it can really go a long way," says Beryl. Look for woven baskets or canvas binsrather than cheap nylon hampers for a more tasteful aesthetic.

Metallic Woven Basket, $44

Play with the layout.

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"Put things like shelves on the wall so you don’t have to take up your square footage on the floor," says Beryl. "Play around with it and make a new floor plan." Buy something lightweight and versatile, like this wall ladder, which would add a useful touch to any room."

Leaning Storage Rack$149


Use a fabric pinboard for flawless photo hanging.

“I think it’s cool to bring mementos from home and personalize your space, especially because it’s probably the first time you’ve ever really gotten to design something totally for yourself, but there are ways to do it that look a lot nicer," she says. Avoid going overboard with too many items. Try using a pinboard with a pretty fabric that matches your duvet rather than just sticking photos up on the bare wall.

Personalized Framed Pinboard, $159

Switch up the lighting.

Most students aren't allowed to swap out their overhead lighting, but a simple way to create a better lit room is by adding a floor or desk lamp. Beryl recommends choosing a light with a warmer temperature as the tones can create a much more welcoming mood. This pineapple lamp adds the perfect amount of whimsy while still offering practical use.

Pineapple Lamp, $88

Upgrade your desk chair.

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Odds are you'll be spending quite a bit of time studying and doing homework at your desk. You can easily make the spot more comfortable and chic by draping a faux fur blanket or rug over the back of your chair. Making every aspect of your room feel like home will help you get through those dreadful late night study sessions.

Shearling Rug, $79

Add a big rug to ground the space.

A rug instantly makes a bedroom cozy, but it turns out there's another good reason you should roll one out on your floor. "A big rug always looks better than a small one because it grounds the space and makes you capable of setting your own tone," says Beryl. Another perk? An oversized mat will allow you to cover up the less than appealing flooring you likely have in your room.


Serena Rug, $315

Use a balanced amount of wall art.

A rookie mistake is adding too much decor throughout a small space—there's no reason to have a piece of art or furniture in every nook and cranny of your room. "You need to give your eyes a place to rest," says Beryl. The wall art here is a good example of a well-balanced amount of decor that's not too overwhelming. Try sticking to two or three pieces of art and be sure to leave at least one wall completely free of frames.

Coco Chanel Wall Art, $12.50

Pin this for later!

Beryl suggests using this color template as a guide as you choose which shades to use throughout your room. Remember to coordinate a color scheme with your roommate for the most stylish results!

*This story originally appeared on
*Minor edits have been made by the

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