Tips for decorating your dorm


Lights, storage, coordinating colors are the name of the game for a good looking dorm. (Julia Mancini/The Daily Campus)

Move-in day for the majority of UConn was earlier this week, but most people either already know or are quickly learning that making your dorm room into a home is an ongoing process. Here are some tips to make the most of a tiny space; for underclassmen and upperclassmen alike!

Bring Lights

Christmas string lights are easily accessible at your local Walmart or Target and have become relatively inexpensive as they grow more popular for dorm rooms. All it takes is a few clear Command hooks and an empty outlet behind your bed to make your room feel instantly warmer and more homey. The overhead light present in most dorms does not create the most inviting ambience. String lights are great for movie nights or reading in bed. There are even some fun options: they can be found with remotes and different settings that can be really fun when you’re listening to music or just hanging out with friends in your room. Aside from string lights, bringing a desk lamp or even a stand-up lamp can really brighten up a room, and having different lighting options for the different uses of your room make a ton of difference. Just always be sure to unplug them when not in use in order to avoid a fire hazard.

Decorate with lots of throw pillows

People tend to overlook throw pillows, but they add a pop of color and personality to your room. You can play around with different textures and styles to really add comfort and depth to your bed space.

Make sure you have cute, but functional, storage options

A set of cubbies or drawers that can fit under your bed or in your closet, aside from the furniture already provided to you in the dorm, are great for storage. If you can use the storage as another surface space or bedside table situation, even better. Try to find a simple piece in a neutral color that you and your roommate can share and use as a functional addition to the room.

Try to color coordinate with your roommate

Buying matching bedding and decorations with your roommate can be stifling, as someone’s personality isn’t shining through. Talk to your roommate about color schemes, agree on three to four colors you both like and that complement each other well and find the patterns and pieces that truly allow you to express yourself but that will create a cohesive space.

Have enough Command hooks/strips for everything

Sometimes it’s difficult to predict exactly what you’ll want to be hanging or what you’ll have space to hang up, so make sure you have a large supply of Command products on reserve. That way, if a new use arises or one breaks, you’ll be prepared.

No one with a great looking dorm forgets throw pillows.(Julia Mancini/The Daily Campus)

“Command strips are the best invention in the world,” said Gabrielle Rago, a third semester pre-teaching major. Command products are, of course, the best bet when organizing your dorm room because they don’t do any damage to the walls. Some suggestions on what to hang in your dorm include decorations, such as lights, picture frames or posters. Depending on your room, it might also a space-effective idea to hang towels, shower caddies, purses, hats, accessories or keys, that way everything is easily accessible while opening up some more storage space in the closet or drawers.


Pictures of family and friends instantly make your dorm room feel like home. It adds a personal touch and tells a little bit of your story when you have guests. Seeing the faces of loved ones on the wall while you study or maybe if you’re feeling homesick is always really comforting. Check out Pinterest for some really creative ways to display pictures in your space aside from the traditional frame.

Find your favorite scent

While not necessarily a decoration, being surrounded by the smells you like can put you much more at ease and make you feel at home. Candles and incense are not permitted in UConn dorm rooms but there are tons of alternatives, including plug-in air fresheners, motion-detecting air-fresheners, odor-absorbing orbs and sprays that work great in a dorm environment. And let’s be honest, it’s college, so having a safe way to get a fresh, clean smelling dorm is really important.

Put your inspiration on the walls

Find some quotes and art pieces that inspire or encourage you and hang them up. They express your individuality and will remind you to work hard and keep your focus.

Buy multipurpose pieces

This goes back to the storage situation. Try to find options at Target, Walmart or Bed Bath and Beyond that can function as storage, seating, a stool or decoration as needed. Along these lines, try to find pieces that are easily collapsable or can be arranged to store in your room without taking up too much space.

Utilize space behind doors

An area often forgotten about is the space behind your dorm room door or closet doors. To maximize and use space efficiently, find over the door hooks or even hanging shoe compartments. These can be used for a lot more than storing your shower shoes. The pockets are great for keeping makeup, accessories, electronic cords or even snacks for you and your roommate to share.

Julia Mancini is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at 

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