Dorm Room Decor

A Thatcher dorm room

At first, dorm rooms don’t seem very homey. Personally, I need a comfy space that I can come relax in, so when I came to Southern, my mom and I set out to make my room the perfect home-away-from-home. Since then, I have learned a few things about making a dorm room cozy:

1. Lighting

This is a major one for me! Since the fluorescent lights in dorm rooms are harsh, I recommend hanging strands of lights from the ceiling and adding a table lamp or two. (Be sure to check what lamps are allowed in the handbook!) My favorite lights are white lights from the wedding section at Walmart. They’re just $5 a strand, and it only took three to go around the ceiling perimeter. This instantly softens the look of the whole room.

2. Curtains and a Bed Skirt

Curtains go a long way toward making a room look homey. The dorm rooms come with blinds, but curtains add a touch of style. I bought my curtains at Walmart for about $15. A bed skirt is something new I bought this year, and I absolutely love it! The pretty ruffle hides the plethora of shoes that live under my bed and helps my room look that much more put-together. I found mine at Target for about $12.

3. Bedding and Color Coordination

In my room this year, I picked three basic colors: blush pink, ivory, and aqua. I tried to stick to them when I picked out things for my room. I don’t have a roommate this year because I’m an RA (resident assistant). However, if you do have a roommate, it’s always a good idea to discuss and agree on a color scheme. It can make the whole room look more cohesive and put together.

Bedding, pillows, throw blankets, and curtains will seem like a big expense freshman year, but if you pick good, basic colors you can use the same stuff for all of your college career. That way, you’ll really get your money’s worth. I bought my comforter at Bed Bath & Beyond. TJ Maxx is the best spot I’ve found for sheets, pillows, and throw blankets at decent prices.

4. Wall Decor

Family photos are a MUST for my room! Coming here was my first time away from home, so pictures helped me feel a little bit closer to my family. It doesn’t cost much to have pictures from your phone printed, and I put gold washi tape on the edges of mine to make them look a little fancier.

I’m a major bookworm and have always loved words. So, I have several little signs with words of encouragement hanging up on my wall. I painted most of my signs, but if you aren’t feeling artsy or just don’t have the time, Hobby Lobby always has great signs (and great sales).

I’ve also put up gold wall decals. They help to disguise the cinder block on the walls a bit. I found mine on Amazon—200 dots for about $15— and have used them two years in a row.


Look these up! Command Hooks will be a lifesaver for you when decorating your room, as they don’t leave any marks and can attach all kinds of things to the wall.

I hope these tips help you transform your dorm room into the perfect spot to relax after a long day of classes!

Ashton McMillen is a sophomore liberal arts education major and a resident assistant in Thatcher Hall.

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Ashton McMillen Story by Ashton McMillen Published: Last Edited:

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