College students use their rooms for everything: studying, relaxing, entertaining, dining — there’s a lot to squeeze in. To make the most of such a small space, dorm rooms need to be organized and inviting — no easy task in such a limited area. To the rescue: These dorm room ideas will take your space from basic to beyond.
Some of the ideas on our list focus on making the best use of every available inch in the dorm room. These are often strange spaces — some have lots of shelf space but no closets, others have cavernous closets with no shelves, and so on — so we have tips for making the most of whatever comes college-issued. (Remember, removable hooks are your friends!) Once you have the organizing bones in place, then you can spruce up the space with whatever you want, from removable wallpaper to decorative pillows — anything that makes it feel a little more like home. The best things you can buy do double duty, like an ottoman that provides seating and gives the room a burst of color, but also secretly offers additional storage. With a few hacks, a few DIYs, and a few well-thought-out purchases, you’ll be set in no time. Oh, and don’t forget to use these college dorm room essentials as a finishing touch!
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Add Color to Drawers (Without Paint!)
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Store Dinnerware on the Side of the Fridge
Keep the plates, spoons, knives, and forks right where you need them. If you don’t want to buy a specific fridge caddy, you can always try a hanging organizer.
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Organize With Stick-On Hooks
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Add Some Greenery
Plants instantly make any space feel home-y, and if you go for artificial ones, you’ll never have to worry about watering them. These faux succulents are adorable — and people will swear they’re the real thing!
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Get a Multi-Functional Mirror
This ladder mirror isn’t cheap, but it’s the perfect two-for-one: Use it to hold clothes, bags, or towels and check your outfit in the morning.
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Create a Makeshift Vanity
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Turn On a Smart Lamp
This lamp provides plenty of light to help you finish that term paper, and it charges your phone at the same time. Genius! We like the gold, but more affordable versions are available in black.
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Get Twice the Closet Space
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Use Pillows For Seating
Having friends over for movie night can get tricky when you have limited seating. These pintuck pillows double as comfy floor seats that can be stashed away when guests head home.
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Create a Useful Nightstand
The secret to making any space feel bigger is making sure every piece of furniture serves multiple purposes. These pretty trunks are both a nightstand and a storage unit!
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Keep Pictures Front and Center
Photos and mementos from loved ones make your space feel like home. This grid lets you hang a collection of images without making tons of holes in the wall.
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Get a Storage Ottoman
Add a pop of color to your room with this cute ottoman, which offers additional seating and doubles as storage for throws, books, and more.
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Use a Colorful Hamper
To make the chore of laundry more bearable, pick out a bright and happy bin that’s lightweight and easy to carry. If you choose a unique color, you’ll also keep your laundry basket distinct from all the other ones in the dorm.
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Repurpose a Magazine Holder
You might not get as many drawers and cubbies as you need, so you can use a magazine file to corral hard-to-organize things like hairdryers and flatirons. Then you can store everything easily on a shelf.
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Buy Bright Appliances
A good mini fridge is a dorm room essential — invest in one that’s colorful to easily spice up your space.
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Decorate String Lights
Get some much-needed mood lighting and dress up your bare walls with these dorm lights, that feature clear clips for you to hang post cards and photos from. Anything is better than the bare cinder block wall!
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