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There’s nothing like a comfortable dorm room to create a home-away-from-home experience. Good room design starts with the basics; just keep adding layers until the space reflects your personality and style. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Arrange the furniture to maximize space.

Depending on the size of your dorm room, you may want to loft or bunk the beds to create more floor space for a futon and TV stand. If sleeping with your nose just inches from the ceiling is not your thing, use your beds as seating when entertaining friends or hanging out with your roommate as you binge-watch the latest hit series. Be aware, changing the sheets of a lofted bunk is an exercise in dexterity and patience!

Focus on soft, stylish sheets and comforters.

Your bed is typically the focal point of your dorm room, so make a statement with your bedding! Think about coordinating colors with your roommate, and consider if you want a colorful or neutral aesthetic. This one decision will dictate the rest of the room, so choose wisely. Whatever the color, make sure the sheets are soft and the comforter is cozy. It can make all the difference in the quality of your sleep.

Warm the room with a plush area rug.

If your dorm room doesn’t have wall-to-wall carpet, add a large area rug to help keep your toes warm in the winter. If your comforter is a neutral color, have some fun with the rug. If your bedding is colorful, consider a neutral rug to avoid clashing schemes or patterns.

Add a pop of color with pillows.

Toss a few throw pillows on your bed (or futon) to give it a designer look. They will also come in handy when you’re chilling with friends or reading in bed. The same rule applies to the color…if your comforter is neutral, add pops of color with pillows. If your comforter is colorful, stack on some neutral pillows. It’s also fun to add a throw blanket and lightweight curtains into the mix.

Go for an oversized mirror.

If room allows, have fun with an oversized mirror. It will make the room look bigger as it reflects light – plus it will be useful when dressing for the day. Sure, you might be wearing athleisure to class, but you still want to look put together!

Add life to the room with plants.

A touch of green makes every room look more complete. You probably won’t have space for floor plants, but perhaps you can find a nook or two that could benefit from a cactus plant or succulent. If you can’t keep even a cactus alive, consider artificial plants. The end goal is to liven up your space. 

Bring the magic with lights.

Lighting is important to any room, so consider adding twinkle lights for a whimsical look. They are inexpensive, and you can hang them in a number of ways to get just the right look.

For examples of creative dorm rooms, check out sites like Pottery Barn | Dorm, Dormify, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

By Jeannine Phelan