I am SO excited to finally be sharing my dorm room tour with you all! As some of you may know, I have been planning out my perfect dorm room since the sixth grade…I kid you not, I have an elephant printed notebook filled with sketches of possible layouts, packing lists, decoration ideas, etc. So the fact that it was finally time to put all those plans into action?! I could hardly believe it (and didn’t know where to start)!
Because I love makeovers and “before and after” pictures, I included side-by-side comparisons of our room before we moved in and after we decorated it. Our room came with the standard dorm furnishings, including two desks, two beds (we chose to loft them to the tallest height allowed, aside from bunking), two dressers, two trash cans/recycling cans, two chairs, and two closets. It also came with built in shelving on either side of the window, and the back wall is actually a fabric pin-board. This was such a pleasant surprise—it allowed for much easier decorating since you can just tack whatever item directly into the wall!
To start, I should mention that I live in a suite-style dorm. This was initially neither mine nor my roommate’s first preference, but now that we have it I can definitely testify to how nice it is! For my particular building, the suite style means I share this room with my roommate, and then there’s a kitchen and bathroom connecting to another room with two suitemates. In these photos, the door on the left leads to the kitchen and bathroom common area.
I did my best to link as many items as possible, so if you see writing in a different color, that means you can click it and be redirected to shop that item.
As you can see, the furniture definitely needed to be rearranged. My roommate and I tried a bunch of different layouts before unpacking and ultimately decided on the one shown here. While it is a little squishy at the end of my bed where the desk is located, this layout was the least squishy and most space sufficient.
My desk is the one closest to the door on the left, and my bed is the one against the back wall underneath the window.
I imagined my dorm to have plain white walls resembling a prison cell, like you see in the movies, so the brick walls were a pleasant surprise. At first I worried poster tacky and Command Strips wouldn’t stick to the textured surface, but I actually haven’t had an issue with it.
This wall belongs to my roommate and she bought the cutest blue watercolor map tapestry to hang above her bed. We actually chose each other through the roommate “online dating app” as we like to call it, which means we texted all summer and coordinated our color scheme. As you can (hopefully) tell, we decided on grey, white, and shades of blue.
As you can probably imagine, I was a little nervous about the closet space beforehand, but once I arrived at the room my worries flitted away (I even felt like I should’ve brought more clothes, but I have since revised that thought). I talk a lot more about my closet and how I organized it later in this post.
Something to note: you should bring a doorstop! Our room actually came with a big brick to prop the door open, but I had already bought a rubber wedge, which I decided to use instead (ain’t nobody want to stub a toe on a massive brick). Propping your door open lets your floormates know that you’re friendly and open to mingling! Unfortunately, nobody else on our floor leaves their doors open…But my roommate and I still do, hoping that one day people will come say hi and we’ll make friends, hehe.
Okay, now that you’ve seen all the before and after pictures, it’s time for the real fun to begin! When we arrived, our Resident Assistant (RA) had already made us cute little marshmallow nametags, but my roommate also made adorable polaroid nametags (thanks Pinterest!). She brought a little whiteboard as well, which conveniently came with sticky strips. Sometimes we leave little notes for each other, and we just started writing jokes on it also!
Since our room has the extra door on the left side, we couldn’t have the typical roommate arrangement of one person’s stuff on one wall and the other person’s on the other. Thankfully, my roommate and I get along really well so it’s not an issue. You may be wondering why my roommate’s desk is the one at the end of my bed (seems silly), but since I already got to use the shelves at the head of my bed, it made the most sense that she get the desk at the end so that it’s right below her set of shelves. See what I’m saying?
My roommate hung this bulletin board on the blank wall next to our door, and she had the genius idea to hang our necklaces on it! Mine are the four pegs on the right—some of my most-worn pendants.
And now to my favorite part…the closet! I did not bring all my clothes (I even wrote a blog post about what you should and shouldn’t pack), but I was still worried I brought too many. Honestly, I probably still did, but at least they all ended up fitting. The two turquoise bins on the top shelf are from DormCo—I won them in a raffle at my high school graduation party, and you can shop the entire set that I won here. I keep scarves in the one on the right and purses and belts in the one on the left. On the far left of the top shelf I keep bulkier jackets and coats, and I store an extra blanket behind the turquoise bins. (Random tip: I attached contact paper to the top shelf because I didn’t want my jackets straight on the wood. You can buy the pretty paper I used from Target here.)
I saw this elephant side table in Bed, Bath, and Beyond for only $15 and I couldn’t not buy it. I was unsure initially if there’d be space for it in the room, but it fits perfectly on this wall. My robe and a dress towel sit on the bottom shelf, and I use the top one as a place to lay out my outfit for the next day (which I mentioned as being super helpful in this post). You can buy this table in other styles here (sadly the elephant one is no longer available!).
I used a heavy duty Command Hook, like this one, to hang my towel. Thankfully I bought towels to match my room, so it looks aesthetically pleasing hanging there in the open.
This door is the one that leads to the kitchen/bathroom area, and it provided the perfect spot for an over-the-door mirror (which I unfortunately couldn’t find online, but there are plenty of similar options out there–I bought mind in-store at Bed, Bath, and Beyond).
Along with the turquoise bins, I also won this shoe holder, in which I keep my sandals and most of my flats. To the left of it I hung one cocktail dress for special occasions (hopefully a deserving occasion will arise) as well as my nice winter coat, both kept in a dry-cleaning bag for safekeeping. To the right of the shoe holder, I organized my dresses, color-coordinated as best I could.
For skirts and shorts, I used these Salt multi-clip hangers. I don’t know that they save a ton of space, but they do make a bit of a difference and free up the actual hanging bar a lot. I honestly love them!
I also bought the Salt multi-pant hangers, and I stagger the pants so I can see all my options.
I used a few baby Command Hooks inside the closet to hang my most-worn belts, which is super nifty and convenient.
This fabric drawer set is from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I’m so glad I bought it. You can adjust the height and number of bins used, which is perfect for a closet space you’re unsure about. I hung blouses above it so that the length wouldn’t be an issue, and I adjusted the unit to the tallest height (four bins worth). The bins hold a surprising amount. I keep hats/gloves/swimsuits in the top one, blouses that don’t wrinkle in the second one, sweaters in the third one, and athletic clothes in the bottom one. For the blouses and sweaters, I ended up rolling them to try and prevent wrinkling. The bins are actually wide enough to roll without making any folds, so hopefully that will mean no creases at all! (We’ll see though.)
These two stacked shoe shelves are also from BB&B. They work best for my boots, heels, and tennis shoes. Sadly, I am already at full shoe capacity! I am also learning that I won’t be able to wear most of these pairs around campus…There’s just too much walking for wearing heels on a daily basis, hehe.
I’m so excited by how my closet turned out. Everything has a place and I’m able to keep it super neat because of that—no curtain necessary to cover up the mess.
This corner belongs to my roommate. I had a lot of fun this summer exploring Pinterest and other dorm room tours searching for decoration ideas. I made the silver flag banners from flags bought at Michael’s (a set of 24 for $6) and string I already had at home. I also made a really long garland out of 4 shades of yarn (white, light blue, turquoise, and navy blue). Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to stick on the sealing, so I decided to cut it and drape them along the curtains instead.
My roommate and I both smuggled a bunch of blue paint chips from Home Depot to make this mural (thanks again, Pinterest), and I cut up a few of them into the individual strips to add more variety of shape. I think the mural really helped tie all the colors of our room together and to add something interesting to the brick wall. I just used regular poster tacky to attach it.
I like minimal clutter on my desk, so I just have my ethernet cable, a little piece of art I made during orientation week, my plant Steely Stan (I adopted him from Home Depot), and this heart-shaped container. The heart is actually the lid of a container from the same store I bought this skirt (you’ll see the bottom elsewhere in this room), and I just use it as a little junk drawer. It’s the perfect place to keep random stuff like a pen, earbuds, and tweezers, and I leave my keys there at night so I always know exactly where they are.
Because I’m me (and because I didn’t have that much desk supplies), I turned the rolling drawer of my desk into a vanity station. This is where I keep my sunglasses, my hair clips and accessories, my ponytails, my brush, and other random hair supplies in the teal container. Thankfully, I get to keep my toiletries in a bin near the bathroom, so that saves a lot of space in the dorm room itself.
The three desk drawers on the right just hold typical office supplies—pens, sticky notes, and stationery in the top drawer; headphones and coloring books in the second drawer; and extra notebooks and bags in the bottom drawer.
The string lights draped along the curtain rod and pinned with safety pins are old from Target for $20 (buy a similar version here). I love the old-fashioned marquee style and the warm glow they give off, but I can’t leave them on for very long because they get hot. The sequin bedrest pillow is also from BB&B and so necessary. It makes the perfect comfy study space on my bed, not to mention the sequins change depending on how you run your hand over them—so fun!
My bed spread is from BB&B (are you noticing a theme?) and so is the elephant quilt, which was on clearance for $20 I think. Obviously I love elephants.
You may have noticed I also have a stuffed animal bear on my bed. Like I mentioned in Thursday’s post, there’s no shame in that. I honestly love to cuddle it at night if I feel homesick. I always call big spoon.
I believe the stool was also from BB&B as a last minute purchase. I definitely like having it though because it was a struggle trying to run and hop onto my bed all the time. The turquoise dirty clothes hamper was another item won from DormCo. I found the set of plastic drawers on the right end in my garage, and that’s where I keep my utilities/medicine drawer, extra toiletries like soap, hair supplies like my curling iron and makeup, and nail polish in the bottom one. My dresser drawers are where I keep all my socks, undergarments, pajamas, sweatshirts, and t-shirts. I lined all my drawers with the same contact paper from Target.
Behind the dirty clothes hamper, I placed my old locker shelves from high school and my laundry supplies (I bought this laundry bag to easily carry my clothes to and from the washing room).
I also keep my suitcase and sports bag underneath my bed. The navy blue basket is where I store my night clothes during the day and where I put my towel/clean clothes while showering (we have no counter space in the bathroom and I didn’t want to put my clothes on the floor).
Because you have to use every spare space in a dorm room, I used this awkward area as a place for my yoga mat (I don’t actually do yoga—just sit-ups), my drying rack, and a collapsible laundry basket.
Besides my closet, this is probably my favorite part of the room. I just love how all the decorations turned out!
I decorated old blank CDs with scrapbook paper to fill this white space. ‘Cause why not, you know?
I also brought some super cute decorations from home that my friends made me.
This is just where I keep normal nightstand items, like a reading light, tissues, and lotion. I decorated the little set of drawers with washi tape to match the room.
Here I keep my notebooks and the second half of that heart container with all my perfumes (you can read about some of the scents I like in this post).
The lamp I borrowed from my bedroom at home, but it’s originally from Target (and was only $20).
I made this faux macramé art with the same yarn I used to make the pom pom garland, attached to two chopsticks which I painted white and taped together. I was surprised to actually love how it turned out and where it hangs!
I know this post was ridiculously long and much anticipated, but I hope you loved looking through the pics as much as I loved sharing them. I’m obsessed with any sort of dorm makeover or decorations so it was really excited to finally share these! Let me know your thoughts below or what your dream dorm room looks like (I’d also be so happy to see your rooms too, if you want to share pics with me! Just shoot me an email or direct message on Instagram).
I know this post is going up really late, but enjoy what’s left of your Monday!
Miles of smiles,