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3 Dorm Room Styles to Get You Back-to-Cool

To kick off back-to-school season, Living Spaces created three fresh dorm room styles, catered to the tastes of three different types of college students. Check out the easy-to-copy styles below and their special DIY projects – plus helpful tips from Living Spaces designers Cha’queza Telp and Chelsea Savala to guide you along the way.

Dorm #1: Scandinavian

Neutral Scandinavian is all about soft, comfy and cozy, on repeat. In this dorm room, our designers incorporated a bed, dresser and desk with clean lines and tapered legs to give off a mid-century modern flair – and define the softer, cozier accents.
“For students discovering their style for the first time, I would recommend starting with a plan. Write down the items that you need to complete the space, and then start with your favorite color to set the mood for your dorm. Add different textures by throwing in textured pillows or rug, as well as accessories to fit your mood. Express yourself and add things that show your personality.
“You can never go wrong with choosing a cozy calm color pallet. Neutrals is the way to go with a pop of color!” - Cha’queza Telp, Visual Stylist

DIY Dorm Room Decor: Instant Photo Display

What You’ll Need:

  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • 15-20 instant photo prints
  • Pushpins
  • Binder clips


Choose a budget and stick to it. Quality does not have to be expensive. Make every piece of furniture have a dual purpose; for example, choose pieces that have lots of storage space. Also, use plants and lights! Plants will add to your space to make it feel like an outdoor environment.

– Cha'queza Telp, Visual Stylist

One of the tricky things about styling a dorm room in neutral Scandinavian is that in such a small space, it can be hard to incorporate statement decor that doesn’t take away from the overall vibe.

Luckily, our designers came up with a clever solution: the instant photo display. To make your own:

  1. Position 10 – 15 pushpins into a wall.
  2. Tie the end of a roll of twine around one.
  3. Loop the twine around each of the others, so that it creates a grid of intersecting lines.
  4. When you get to the final pushpin, use scissors to cut off the remaining twine.
  5. Tie the last bit of the twine you’ve used to the pushpin.
  6. Using binder clips or clothespins, arrange mini snapshots of friends, family and favorite memories along the twine.

Dorm #2: Monochromatic

One of the challenges in decorating a small space is how to keep things simple, versatile and inspired.  Yet for the monochromatic modern dorm, our designers managed to do just that – by sticking to a clean color palette, pops of geometrics and cozy, distressed finishes.

“For styling a dorm on a budget, scour local thrift stores for unusual decorations – and in this case, record vinyls! This also gives your style a more eclectic look because not everyone has these pieces.” - Chelsea Savala, Visual Stylist

dorm room wall decor

DIY Dorm Room Decor: Record Wall

What You’ll Need:

  • Records
  • Mounting tape

For the monochromatic modern dorm, we wanted to incorporate statement art that would add visual interest to the walls – while also serving as an expression of personal hobbies/interest. A display of vinyl records was the perfect way to do this.

To make your own display:
  1. Gather a few old vinyl records. In this dorm, we used nine to create three rows of three, but you can make the record wall as big or small as you want.
  2. Choose records based on the colors of their labels, and lay out the arrangement on the floor to plan where you want each color to be in the display.
  3. Then, use mounting tape to secure each record to the wall, and step back and marvel at your rockin’ style.
One of the best aspects about the record wall is that it adds a colorful vintage touch to a monochromatic palette – without requiring nails or leaving any sorts of marks on the walls!

Dorm #3: Boho

Boho style embodies the fun, creative and free spirit, so our designers’ number-one priority in creating the look was to keep things light and airy. Simple steps, like swapping out a traditional desk chair for a rattan chair and incorporating (lots of) flowers went a long way in making this possible.
“Don't leave your walls bare, add wall art and decor to show your personality!” - Cha’queza Telp, Visual Stylist
"Just have fun and don't be afraid to be bold with your design!" - Chelsea Savala, Visual Stylist

DIY Dorm Room Decor: Flower Wall

What You’ll Need:

  • Faux flowers
  • Mounting tape

Flowers were a big part of the process that went into creating the boho dorm, and for good reason! Breezy, natural and colorful, floral decor embodies the spirit of boho to a tee.

I think styling a dorm can be a lot of fun, and since it’s not a huge space, it’s easy to change the style as often as you wish.
– Chelsea Savala, Visual Stylist
To make your own flower wall:

  1. Look for faux flowers at a craft store, and pick out 30-40 of your favorites.
  2. In our display, we used three main colors – orange, red and white – to keep a bright, warm motif, though you can use however many colors you wish!
  3. Lay them down on your floor for a “practice” layout, and then use mounting tape to apply them to your wall in a grid arrangement.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.