Hello, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous and productive weekend! I finally finished my first semester at college, which is a big deal for me. It was really nice moving out of my parents’ house into what feels like my own personal space. Yes, my dorm room is tiny, and I am sharing it with another girl, but I feel I’ve really made the space feel luxurious. College students don’t have much disposable income, so it can be tempting to spend what we do have on fast food and makeup, but for me, investing in things that would make my space somewhere I could be comfortable, work productively, and just enjoy being home was more important. Below are some tips and tricks for making your dorm room look like it could be featured on ITG’s Top Shelf for a fraction of the price!
Craft Your Vision
Before I ever looked at one pre-college packing list for my room, I wanted to determine my vision for how I wanted it. However, it was more than just visual aesthetics. I tried to think about how I wanted to feel in my room, how I wanted people to feel when they visited me, and what physical items could be used to bring that vision to life. I spend a lot of time on home decor retailer websites like Bed Bath and Beyond and Pottery Barn as well as some of my favorite lifestyle websites like the aforementioned Into the Gloss and Man Repeller, and Pinterest of course! I had a Pinterest board just for decor ideas with images from all of these sites and I think that helped a lot when it came time to actually shop.
Storage Is A Dorm Room Must
Because dorms are designed to cram as many people into them as possible, there is not much space at all. Underbed storage will be your best friend. My room came with these gorgeous wooden drawers that matched my white/gold/rose theme. In order to keep the luxe theme going, all of my storage bins, which can quickly turn clunky and ugly, were white or soft pink. I think black or grey storage bins darken the room and make it look more closed in, which is not what you want in a small space. This is the same reason my roommate and I agreed not to have curtains. We wanted to take full advantage of the beautiful natural lighting our window offers.
Hang Your Jewelry Like Art
There’s not a lot of “horizontal space” in a dorm that you can set items on top of. One way I’ve turned that into an artistic advantage is by hanging my jewelry on a corkboard. I bought a pack of clear and gold pushpins to hang necklaces and bracelets on. Earrings can be hung on their own. It goes very well with my other framed art and posters around my desk! It makes my jewelry easy to access, and because I can see it all, I never under use any pieces.
Art is Expensive: Make Your Own
Speaking of art prints, they can quickly elevate a room from none to fun! The thing is, framed art prints can get very expensive, very quickly. I checked sites like Urban Outfitters, Amazon, and Etsy and original art prints at their cheapest were around $30-$40 and those were for tiny ones! I wanted something that would pop when someone walked into the room! I found two very nice art prints at Home Goods, both for under $10, that matched my theme and my personality. I also found a gold mirror at the dollar store (!) that I have mounted above my desk using Command strips. Plus, I actually made one print myself!
I’m a huge fan of Pantone paint chips, so I decided to make one for #GlossierPink! I actually found the exact shade in a magazine article with Emily Weiss, then went to Canva, an amazing photo editing app, and crafted my print. Then, I went to Walmart.com’s photo center, uploaded my image, and had them print it for about $7. I purchased a frame for the print, also at Walmart, and the grand total came to about $12! Now, I have a totally unique piece that’s perfect for my interest and cheaper than 2 Venti drinks at Starbucks!
I also have a very big Panic! at the Disco banner on my wall, along with a framed concert poster. These are my only 2 black pieces in the room, but they’re also a big part of my personality, and hey, Instagrammable or not, I love that band! Again you decide what works best for you and your vision.
Combine Your Desk and Your Vanity
Sadly, about 50% of my beauty and skincare products are tucked away in storage bins in the bathroom or under my desk. On the bright side, I’ve found a way to use what little horizontal space I have to create beautiful mini “Top Shelves” with my favorite makeup and beauty products. My desk doubles as my vanity. My printer takes up a large chunk of the desk, and occasionally my laptop is there, but I do most of my work in my bed (I know, but it’s actually where I feel most productive, which is what matters). Therefore, I have space for two makeup organizers I picked up from Ulta to keep the makeup I wear on a fairly regular basis. The organizers sit to the side of my printer which leaves a good chunk of actual desk left.
On top of my printer, I have a gold hashtag paper holder that I found at Target (and sadly cannot find the link for) to hold my journal, agenda, and other important documents. I also have a pencil cup from Home Goods that says “Tweet Tweet” on it, and I immediately thought of Twitter! I also keep my makeup wipes up there. It keeps everything in my line of sight which I really like and it never feels too cluttered. Y’know except when I forget to clean it off. 🙂
My nail polishes and perfumes all hang out on my window sill where the sun can make the light bounce off of them! It’s really pretty to look at, and it keeps my desk from getting too cluttered.
Last Little Touches
Those are the big-ticket items I feel like can make every dorm room look and feel like a penthouse suite. However, it all comes down to the individual details that make your room, your room. Remember that vision I was talking about earlier? The details are when the vision really come into play.
For example, in my room, I have a wax melter from Bath and Body Works that has a gold leaf covering on it. When I switch it on, the whole room glows in soft lighting and currently smells like caramel. Not only does it bring the lighting into something softer that I appreciate, but it also adds smell to the overall vibe! It’s the same reason I hung string lights specifically with more warm toned lights and copper wires. It all plays into each other.
I know this isn’t the most conventional dorm room decor post, but I think that my readers want their spaces to be a bit more sophisticated than your average dorm room! When I’m in a space that makes me feel good and relaxed, I perform better at whatever it is I choose to do. Since my room is my office for this blog, I want to be comfortable and happy while I work. Hopefully, these tips will do the same things for you!