Here is a list of things you need to create a beautiful “girl” dorm room that is also practical, cozy, and fairly budget friendly.
Photo: PB Teen
Decorating a girl’s dorm room doesn’t have to be hard or outrageously expensive. When I decorated my twins’ dorm room almost five years ago, I found many of the items on sale or at great prices.
Remember, even though it is a “thing” to post instagram photos of the freshman dorm room, stay practical. Don’t try to decorate for the instagram pics; make the dorm room as beautiful as you like within your budget.
Below are a few things you’ll need to create a lovely, practical dorm room that is also cozy and fairly budget friendly. Although I am all about “white and light and neutral” in this post, you can most certainly create an equally beautiful room with pastels.
What do I need for a dorm room bed?
Tall Twin Headboard
You can buy tall twin headboards from several online retailers; Wayfair is my favorite. Many of these can be propped between the bed frame and the wall without mounting to a bed frame. Note: check measurements before buying.
Since most girls prefer to loft or lift their beds, a long bedskirt is a must-have item. When my girls were college freshmen, it was hard to find long bedskirts, and many of us mamas just paid someone to make them. Today, it is easy to find beautiful long bedskirts in various lengths and color options.
Neutral or white bedding.
The trend toward bedding has shifted from bright colors and patterns to white, neutral, and light dorm room bedding. Pops of color can be added with pillows and accessories, and interest can be added with textured fabrics such as pin tucks, matelasse, pom pom, etc…..
Interesting Pillow Assortment
Pillows are an easy way to add interest to a bed. Choose different sizes, shapes, colors and patterns to transform a neutral white bed into one that makes a statement and expresses a girl’s personality.
What is the best dorm room storage?
Tall open storage shelves.
Look for the tallest, slimmest, sturdiest storage/shelving you can find for the dorm room. Going “up” rather than “out” will keep the tiny room more open. Multi function pieces that will house a microwave, coffee maker, and such are priceless (see the one linked to below).
Under sink storage
Adding an expandable under the sink storage shelf in the dorm bathroom makes a huge difference. Room mates can each take a side to store a few essentials, and cleaning products can be kept neatly behind closed doors as well
What do I need for a dorm room bathroom?
Shower curtain & accessories
White, clean, crisp shower curtains keep a small dark bathroom looking as fresh as possible. A clear plastic liner and clear acrylic shower curtain rings/rods also open up the space.
What furniture or seating do I need for a dorm room?
Clear acrylic chairs.
When you figure out how to remove (and store safely for a year) the heavy wooden dorm room chairs, the perfect replacement is acrylic. The ghost chairs linked to below are lightweight and perfect for desks and other seating. I have one in my bathroom at home and love it.
If you are lucky enough to get a room that will accommodate a futon, it will make a huge difference in the cozy factor. It will also be great for kids who want to have siblings or friends spend the night on occasion. For everyday use, a futon makes great seating.
Multi-Purpose storage ottoman.
Storage ottomans are the bomb of all dorm room decor. A good one is a multi-tasking animal. It can be used as a step stool, a storage compartment, a side table, or a foot stool next to the futon.
What else makes for a great dorm room?
Lights that adjust are great for dorm rooms. Floor lamps are perfect, especially ones that adjust or swivel. Matching lamps can flank dorm room beds or also be placed on either side of a futon.
Fun and Functional Rugs
Functional rugs are ones that are large enough to cover much or most of the floor. Most girls get either an 8 x 12 or 11 x 14 depending upon how much coverage is desired. My advice is to go low pile and polypropylene. Cleaning will be a dream, since polypropylene can be cleaned with Clorox. Fun rugs are smaller and mostly to add a touch of glam. Faux fur rugs that are smaller in size can be tossed at the foot of the bed or placed between dorm beds.
Below are some fabulous things that I found in each of the categories above, and these are what I would personally buy if I were decorating a daughter’s dorm room today.
My twins are almost graduated from college, but I included a photo of their dorm room from 2016. Even though their room was fairly light and neutral, I’d go way whiter and lighter today.
I hope some of this helps those of you who are about to move your babies into college! If any of you have dorm room decor or move-in day tips to share, please leave comments in the post! As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!